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Huge Story – Global Commission calls for decriminalization, regulation, and legalization

We’ve been waiting for a big report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy. It was released tonight, and it’s huge.

Washington Post: Former world leaders call for nations to decriminalize drug use and experiment with legalization

Drug use should be decriminalized and governments should experiment with drug legalization and regulation, a group of former world leaders argues in a new report published on Monday night.

The recommendations from the Global Commission on Drug Policy reflect the views of the former leaders of some of the countries hardest hit by the illegal drug trade. In the report, they strongly argue that a costly global war on drugs has not only failed but threatens public health, fosters discrimination and fuels the very crime and violence it seeks to prevent.

“The facts speak for themselves. It is time to change course,” former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, one of the commissioners, says in a statement. “We need drug policies informed by evidence of what actually works, rather than policies that criminalize drug use while failing to provide access to effective prevention or treatment. This has led not only to overcrowded jails but also to severe health and social problems.”

CNN: Why it’s time for drug regulation by Richard Branson

This latest report, “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work,” reflects a new evolution in our thinking. We not only reiterate the case for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches, but we now also call for permitting the legal regulation of psychoactive substances.

The reality is that the most effective way to advance the goals of public health and safety is to get drugs under control through responsible legal regulation. Much can be learned from the successes and failures in regulating alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical drugs and other products and activities that pose health risks to individuals and societies.

Al Jazeera: World figures call for decriminalization of all drug use

Otto Pérez Molina, the president of Guatemala, floated an audacious idea last December. His government was considering legalizing the production of opium poppy — heroin’s main ingredient — as an alternative to combating drug-fueled bloodshed in Central America, where the number of violent deaths today mirror those of the 1980s, when the region was entangled in civil wars.

That seemingly fanciful proposal gained steam on Monday with the release of a pioneering report titled “Take Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work.” In the report, a group of global luminaries calls for the decriminalization of all drug use and the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Global Commission on Drugs — headed by the likes of former U.N. secretary general Kofi Anan, Reagan-era U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, and former presidents of Latin America — represents the most distinguished group of leaders to call for drastic drug policy alternatives.

Punitive drug laws, the commission says, must be replaced by public health principles and a focus on human rights. Treat drug users as patients not criminals, members say, and counter drug-traffickers by regulating illegal drug markets and slicing into the money — and power — generated by drug syndicates, which the United Nations estimates rake in $330 billion a year.

“The call for experimentation with regulation is just common sense given the failures of the current ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” said John Collins, coordinator of the London School of Economics’ IDEAS International Drug Policy Project. “It’s clear that the old approach is politically unsustainable as member states such as the U.S. and Uruguay move ahead with new models of regulation around cannabis.”

Tom Angell with Marijuana Majority:

“With polling having shown consistent majority voter support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. for several years now, it’s been clear that this is a mainstream issue in this country. Now this group of world leaders has not only put marijuana legalization on the table for serious consideration on the global stage, but has gone even further by suggesting that ending the prohibition of other drugs should be considered as a way to better protect public health and safety. The hope now is that these forward-thinking recommendations by so many respected former heads of state will encourage current officials to modernize their nations’ policies.”

Here’s the report

Our recommendations can be summarized as follows:

    Putting health and community safety first requires a fundamental reorientation of policy priorities and resources, from failed punitive enforcement to proven health and social interventions. Read More
  • Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession – and stop imposing “compulsory treatment” on people whose only offense is drug use or possession. Read more
  • Focus on reducing the power of criminal organizations as well as the violence and insecurity that result from their competition with both one another and the state. Read more
  • Ensure equitable access to essential medicines, in particular opiate-based medications for pain. Read more
  • Rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level participants in illicit drug markets such as farmers, couriers and others involved in the production, transport and sale of illicit drugs. Read more
  • Allow and encourage diverse experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs, beginning with but not limited to cannabis, coca leaf and certain novel psychoactive substances. Read more

Here are some of the members of the commission:

Global Commission on Drug Policy
From left: Branson, Annan, Zedillo, Cardoso, Gaviria, Dreifuss, Kazatchkine, Sampaio and Stoltenberg

The full commission includes:

Aleksander Kwasniewski
Former President of Poland

Asma Jahangir
Human rights activist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan

Carlos Fuentes
Writer and public intellectual, Mexico – in memoriam

César Gaviria
Former President of Colômbia

Ernesto Zedillo
Former President of Mexico

Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Former President of Brazil (chair)

George Papandreou
Former Prime Minister of Greece

George Shultz
Former Secretary of State, United States (honorary chair)

Javier Solana
Former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain

John Whitehead
Banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial, United States

Jorge Sampaio
Former President of Portugal

Kofi Annan
Former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ghana

Louise Arbour
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, president of the International Crisis Group, Canada

Maria Cattaui
Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland

Mario Vargas Llosa
Writer and public intellectual, Peru

Michel Kazatchkine
Professor of medicine, former Executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Paul Volcker
Former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board, US

Pavel Bém
Former Mayor of Prague, member of the Parliament, Czech Republic

Ricardo Lagos
Former president of Chile

Richard Branson
Entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, cofounder of The Elders, United Kingdom

Ruth Dreifuss
Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs

Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway

This is truly an impressive set of recommendations that have the potential to really shake up the status quo of international drug policy.

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26 comments to Huge Story – Global Commission calls for decriminalization, regulation, and legalization

  • claygooding

    The only way to stop the international drug cartels is remove their income source.

    Since we know you cannot eradicate crops and achieve stopping drugs,,you can’t arrest our way out of the problem and you sure can’t lie about drugs and stop users because America has tried all three for the last 5 decades and all they have accomplished is to make the cartels players n the money markets.

    Onward,,thru the fog,,,that is clearing.

  • darkcycle

    Hard hats, now. And stay clear of falling debris.

  • FrostedFlake

    Great. Late, but great.

    Now, about the money being made of green cheese -PAUL VOLCKER- Where does the money to pay the interest on the money come from?

  • I have the idea that someone (Branson?) put together an elder tribal leader group, that operates as a guide to the younger generation in passing along their hard fought wisdom. Same system shamanic tribes have used for centuries.

    Wise indeed. A true L.E.A.P. into the future. Awesome!

    • allan

      yeah TC, LEAP has their fingers in this and I’m glad you meantioned it. Latin America has actual active duty LEOs attending LEAP presentations – and joining!

  • C.E.

    Yay! Former leaders call for legalization.

    Wake me when current leaders are doing this.

  • Jeff Trigg

    You think American Democrats and Republicans will listen? How soon? Soon enough for you? Soon enough for the souls locked in cages?

    Inhale, then go kick some more butt. Especially on the local sheriff/mayor elections, if you dare.

  • Nutter/Signs/On

    “We’ve gotten to a place where it is out of the criminal realm,” Kenney said today. “There’s no more handcuffs, no more bookings, no more criminal record. Police will not have to leave their posts and go to the station house to deal with this. People will pay a fine based on the offense: $25 for the possession of anything under an ounce.”
    Anyone cited would be required to make an appearance before a Municipal Court judge, but there would be no criminal record. Those caught smoking marijuana in public would face a $100 fine, which could be waived if they agree to several hours of public service.
    Kenney says this approach will spare more than 4,000 people from being arrested each year, and will save the Philadelphia Police Department about $4 million a year.

    http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/09/08/nutter-agrees-to-sign-bill-softening-marijuana-laws-in-philadelphia/

  • Freeman

    Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession – and stop imposing “compulsory treatment” on people whose only offense is drug use or possession.

    Love it! They’re right up-front about showing the rehabitionist parasites that they’re onto their third-way-same-as-the-old-way game.

    I gotta agree with Jeff — now’s the time to turn up the heat on the local pols. I’ll start by emailing this report to candidates and asking for their comments on it.

    • Howard

      Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession – and stop imposing “compulsory treatment” on people whose only offense is drug use or possession.

      BONK! That’s a solid thwack upside the head for the Sabets, DuPonts, Bensingers, Semblers, et.al. of the world. And that party loving fraternity, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.

      BONK! BONK! BONK!…(coupled with endless noogies thrown in). Kevin Sabet is going to have to switch to industrial hairspray to keep that helmet coif intact.

  • Dante

    Sigh.

    If only our so-called leaders could read. And think. Then, they would see this and change the laws.

    As it stands now, they cannot read nor think so nothing will change. Plus, there is no bribe to grease the wheels of government, so nothing will change. Plus, LE won’t want their gravy train to end so nothing will change. For your safety, you understand. And don’t forget about the children.

    Protect & Serve (themselves!).

  • jean valjean

    al jazeera and wapo are covering this and cnn but there seems to be a deafening silence elsewhere

    • The report was released last night in preparation for the official press conference that is happening today. Some media decided to go with it now, but most will report on the press conference, I believe.

      • Crut

        They could’ve timed this a little better. Apple is going to be announcing the iPhone 6 today… LOL. Somehow, I doubt that was on their radar.

        • Actually, that may be EXACTLY as to why the announcement was made when it was – if everyone is focused on the new iToy, who’s paying attention to this?

          Nothing happens by accident.

  • claygooding

    The Dems and Reps can ignore the Commission but the rest of the world may not,,,the best thing to get the attention of US politicos would be for a flock of letters from countries all over the world withdrawing from the STC,,let’s see them ignore that.

  • “Treat drug users as patients not criminals…”

    Treat drug abusers as patients not criminals.

    Harsh tactics against “drug users” (an inappropriately vague term) do not rely upon a formal judicial system. Such tactics can include an effective prison system dressed up as a medical treatment one.

    Stay strong, “drug users”, because firm opposition against those unethically benefiting by trampling upon the rights of “drug users” (e.g. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) must be sustained likely throughout the lifetime of anyone reading this.

    Ultimately, this is all about perception alteration itself (from one or more drugs, technology, religion, entertainment, etc.) The ability for any effective oligarchy to select which non-direct-rights-infringing style of that alteration remains legal or not definitely opposes unalienable rights (therefore honestly irrefutably violating amendment nine in our Constitution), so definitely constitutes law abuse (the worst form of abuse due to its mainly broad scope of destruction).

    While the number of methods to alter perception is high and perhaps rising, the basics of use and abuse remain constant and reasonably simple to publicly communicate.

    To end longstanding public confusion that has ruined millions of lives to varying degrees for decades, the words use and abuse should be updated to have a hard-line distinction (e.g. “drug use disorder” would no longer be formally correct, but “drug abuse” would be). Use is a harmless act, while abuse is a harmful one. Equally important is the effort to objectively define harm (e.g. murder harms 100% without honest doubt).

    Without fairness, there is no justice. Without objectivity, there is no fairness. Without objectivity, there is no justice.

  • Frank W.

    I didn’t see any former US presidents on that list, and don’t expect to see Obama’s name later. Maybe because The Corporation OWNS those guys, from the womb to the tomb.

  • BDR-AZ

    As long as the DEA is the largest drug cartel on the planet, don’t expect change anytime soon.

  • ezrydn

    No matter how you cut it, it proves we’re doing our job correctly. Of course, we’d love great portions of the wall to fall but a brick or three more keeps us on track. I’d like to express my thanks to all who sit in on Pete’s couch. You’re a bunch of butt-kickers, to be sure. And in this battle, we’ve stood back to back many times. It’s been a pleasure being in the trenches with you. And, I’ll stick it out until we all achieve our God-given Freedom over ourselves. So saddle up. We got a war to win now!

  • Servetus

    Ending the drug war will upset the many dreams and plans of those who would use it to impose their authoritarian agenda onto unwilling citizens. Expect much wailing and hollering from the losers of the war.

    Chief among the least happy losers will be organized religions which employ religion for compulsive drug treatment. For instance, research on drug treatment done at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, a private Christian university, heaps praise on the religious approach:

    Study findings, which support a growing body of research, suggest that young people who connect to a “higher power” may feel a greater sense of purpose and are less likely to be bothered by feelings of not fitting in, said researcher Byron Johnson, Ph.D., co-director of Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion.

    Researchers used four measures: alcohol or drug use, craving for alcohol or drugs; prosocial behaviors (service to others); and self-centered or narcissistic behavior.

    Forty percent of youths who entered treatments as agnostic or atheist identified themselves as spiritual or religious at discharge, which correlated with a decreased likelihood of testing positive for alcohol and drugs.

    “Daily spiritual experiences” such as prayer or worship also were associated with “a greater likelihood of sexual abstinence, increased prosocial behaviors and reduced narcissistic behaviors”, researchers wrote. [Emphasis added]

    A glaring problem with Baylor’s rosy picture is that most religious groups will admit that there are more palm trees growing in Antarctica than there are atheists or agnostics who convert back to a religion. Such an event is extremely rare. A forty-percent conversion rate is an absolutely astonishing figure for the Baylor study. Were it true, it would attract the attention of religious organizations throughout the world who would descend in droves on Baylor to find out how they did it. I don’t see it happening.

    More likely, any atheist or agnostic claiming they were converted to Christianity by drug treatment is speaking under duress, and is thus lying and feigning remorse to get through the mental abuse of an oppressive and unworkable re-education approach to drug treatment. Among other travesties, the end of the drug war should put a stop to this nonsense of forcing religious dogma and religious conversions down the throats of drug war victims.

  • BDR-AZ

    An addiction to a fictious, broken down flying spagetti monster , is still an addiction. Just harder to kick !

    • Citizen Teus

      Now hold on there! What has my deity, praise his noodle appendages, ever done to you personally to deserve such slander?

  • Tony Aroma

    No status quo shaking up here. Who, besides the readers here and a few others, will care, or even hear about this report? These are a bunch of old guys who had their chance, with respect to drug law reform, and blew it. Now, after they can do nothing about it, they become enlightened? That’s all well and good, but, who cares? I seriously doubt our president or any member of Congress will read, or even hear about, this report. And if they do, it’s not like they haven’t heard it before. A report written by a group of irrelevant old fogies, no matter how well meaning, is not the sort of thing that shakes anything up.