More on UNODC’s decrim paper

Steve Rolles at Transform has an outstanding update and analysis of the situation regarding the “leak” of the UNODC paper recommending decriminalization worldwide, and it’s withdrawal due to pressure.

The truth behind the UNODC’s leaked decriminalisation paper

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has responded to the ‘leak’ of its briefing paper calling for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. Before considering this response, it’s important to be clear this wasn’t really a ‘leak’ in the classic sense. The document was to be presented by the UNODC at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and an embargoed copy had already gone to select media (the norm for such publication events). When it was then pulled at the last minute, the BBC, which had already filmed a news segment on it, decided to release it anyway. Richard Branson was filmed for the segment as a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and was sufficiently annoyed when the UNODC backtracked, that he broke the story himself on his blog.

The UNODC response claims that the briefing is not a final or formal document, and does not amount to a statement of its policy position. It also rejects the allegation that the briefing was stopped from being launched as a result of political pressure. This does, however, feel distinctly like an organisation backtracking under pressure (even if that is something, of course, they would never own up to). It would certainly not be the first time member state presssure has led to supression of a controversial UN drugs paper. Its impossible to know what pressure might have been applied, but this report from New York Times at least strongly suggests that it was the US (as widely suspected) that derailed the publication (ironically having found out about it via a New York Times approach for comment).

Firstly, while the agency now says its decriminalisation paper “cannot be read as a statement of UNODC policy”, the paper itself explicitly says “This document clarifies the position of the UNODC”, before going on to deliver its damning critique of criminalisation and its recommendation to decriminalise personal drug possession and low-level drug dealing offences, all carefully referenced to the relevant UN statements, evidence and international law.


But whatever has gone on behind the scenes, the UNODC are now answerable to a document that is very much in the public domain. If they are suggesting there are flaws in the analysis, or that they don’t agree with any of it, then they will need to say why. They won’t be able to because it’s a legally and empirically bulletproof briefing that largely echoes statements they and other UN agencies have previously made. The UNODC, when challenged, will stand by the content of this document – because they have to.

They wrote it, and it is 100% correct.

You may legitimately ask why we should care what an outdated agency like the UNODC does or says. But the truth is that their support of the drug war has provided political cover for the actions of oppressive countries around the world. Even here in the U.S., mentions of our “obligations” to U.N. drug control treaties have been used to cavalierly dismiss discussions regarding drug policy reform.

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18 Responses to More on UNODC’s decrim paper

  1. jean valjean says:

    “But the truth is [UNODC] support of the drug war has provided political cover for the actions of oppressive countries around the world. Even here in the U.S., mentions of our “obligations” to U.N. drug control treaties have been used to cavalierly dismiss discussions regarding drug policy reform.”
    Caught in a bind there, I would say….

  2. jean valjean says:

    Here’s Kevin Sabet’s response to this “unfortunate misunderstanding” :
    “Hilarious to see the hoopla in the UK today about the “UN report.” It was a nonpaper written by a random &totally disavowed by the actual UN”

    • kaptinemo says:

      No matter how loudly he whistles, Kevvie is now running, not dawdling, not walking, but balls-out running past that political and ideological graveyard slated for prohibition’s burial.

      I imagine that bureaucratically, UNODC has it’s budgetary enemies at the UN. A large target has been drawn on UNODC’s back. This is going to get really ugly for prohibs of all stripes. As Pete pointed out, the domestic prohibs, no mater of how they may feel personally about the UN, are happy to have the ‘lawyer’s insurance’ of an obscure treaty when it comes to the international front.

      But the treaty has been chipped away at by Central and South American countries (as was predicted here by The Couch, long ago)
      and is in a weakened state. Something like this coming along, proving the UNODC cannot be trusted, and the whole framework of international ‘drug policy control’ becomes itself uncontrollably unwieldy.

      The UNODC’s actions are just more proof of the true nature of the prohib, regardless of nationality. Lies and deceptions abound, with the arrogant assumption such lies and deceptions will never be punished.

      History tends to prove them wrong.

  3. Servetus says:

    The UNODC document is having a preliminary politicizing effect, almost as if the UNODC is raising a white flag to see who shoots at it before it ventures into potentially hostile political territory.

    The decriminalization paper spotlights the upcoming UNGASS meeting in April, 2016, complete with celebrities like Branson as head cheerleader, who keeps it interesting by leaking stuff. The speed of events is encouraging. It means the people who make the decisions have come to conclusions. Public opinion has shifted. U.S. citizens are eagerly waiting to see if they still live in a democracy.

    Any detractors besides the DEA might include the CIA, which used drug sales to fund black-ops starting with Operation Gladio. In Gladio, America’s top spooks, Wild Bill Donavan, William Colby, Paul E. Helliwell, etc., acted as the original bad guys who made it possible for cut heroin to be sold in black neighborhoods to fund anti-communist activities in Europe and South America. It was their decision to do so. Drug sales did not arise from renegade subordinates in the agency as the government would have us believe. Money from drugs meant the CIA could hire assassins, saboteurs, and false flag operatives, minus any oversight from Congress or the President. Among the GLADIO conspirators were Vernon Walters, pater familia to a drug czar. The Vatican Bank laundered most of the CIA’s drug money, and the Vatican itself was active in GLADIO because the Holy See feared any upsurge in communists and socialists.

    Gladio is history, though some of it has yet to be revealed. Neither the CIA nor the Vatican can legitimately come forward to contest the ONDCP document, or UNGASS, given the baggage they still carry from the Cold War. They’ve neutralized themselves politically. They participated in what today is a growing scandal. One more good thing–the Vatican has no vote in the UN. For these reasons, the timing for drug law reform is looking good.

  4. Servetus says:

    PROPAGANDA ALERT: Once again the NIDA is releasing its pollution into the atmosphere. Their new funded marijuana study is entitled Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013.* And guess what? There’s been “a significant increase”! Cue the scary music.

    What is a marijuana use disorder? According to the paper, it’s this:

    Past-year DSM-IV marijuana use disorder diagnoses were defined as positive if respondents met criteria for marijuana dependence or abuse in the past year. Dependence required 3 or more of the 6 DSM-IV dependence criteria (DSM-IV did not include marijuana withdrawal). DSM-IV marijuana abuse required 1 or more of the 4 DSM-IV abuse criteria. Abuse and dependence were combined into a single variable because extensive evidence indicates that their criteria reflect a single disorder rather than 2 different conditions.

    In other words, it’s anyone who uses marijuana, and who in 2012-3 answered the survey in the affirmative, since they’re not as paranoid about their marijuana use as they were in 2001-2.

    Expect Kevin Sabet and media true-believers in marijuana harm to pick up on this tripe and run with it. Faux News has already done so.

    AAAS Press Release here.

    *“Support for this study was received from NIDA grants R01DA034244-01 and F32DA036431; New York State Psychiatric Institute; and the intramural program at NIAAA. The authors report no conflict of interest disclosures.”

    • Duncan20903 says:


      When someone is beating you about the face and head with a contract the very first thing that a smart person does is to re-read the contract. Past year use is meaningless. That’s going to include the people who tried it once and swore it off. The “increase” is easily dismissed because of the novelty factor. But shame on you Servetus. You didn’t read the entire abstract. Well I think it’s a safe presumption because I can’t believe that you wouldn’t find the part linked below quite remarkable. Supporting evidence for the novelty theory?

      With few exceptions, increases in the prevalence of marijuana use disorder between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013 were also statistically significant across demographic subgroups. However, the prevalence of marijuana use disorder among marijuana users decreased significantly from 2001-2002 (35.6%; SE, 1.37) to 2012-2013 (30.6%; SE, 1.04).

      Is it just me or does it seem like the prohibitionist parasites are awfully good at pulling “research studies” that paint cannabis in a bad light out of their collective bunghole whenever a significantly positive study is published?

      • kaptinemo says:

        They have a mad scientist’s laboratory/special storage area where old, debunked studies are kept on life-support by being submerged in a bubbling vat, and hooked up to about 20 different tubes.

        They’re hauled out and wiped off, and waved around in hopes that no reformers are there to point out that, simply from the wretched stink of the preservative they’re dipped in, with rotting pieces of unfounded speculation falling off, you can tell they’ve been debunked before.

      • Servetus says:

        You’re correct about prohibitionists and their collective bungholes. From now on I will hold my nose and wade through NIDA funded publications all the way, even though the publication’s title is enough to set me retching. Notably, the media didn’t catch the use/disorder discrepancy, either.

  5. claygooding says:

    Gallup: U.S. support for marijuana legalization hits an all-time high

    “”Marijuana legalization is inevitable throughout more states as American support for cannabis law reform has recently hit an all-time high.

    58 percent of Americans now believe that the use of marijuana should be legal, according to new polling results released today by Gallup.”” ‘snip’

    Marijuana use in American adults doubles in decade, surveys suggest

    Marijuana use among American adults doubled over a decade. That’s according to government surveys showing that almost 10 percent of adults use the drug, or more than 22 million people.

    Most of that is recreational use. “”snip””

    The first is a poll reporting 58% of Americans support legalization while only 20% of the legalization supporters actually use cannabis.

    Amazing,,I knew we were doing a bang up job on influencing non-tokers to support legalization but never would have guessed we were doing this good.

    Of course we are good,,but not that good,,the govt report that only 22 million Americans use cannabis is the obvious lie here.

    • kaptinemo says:

      And Kevvie screams at the top of his lungs that cannabis re-legalization is not inevitable. I guess he thinks this is another ‘misrepresentation’ of facts.

      Seems very obvious to me, but then, I don’t have a paycheck requiring me to state the opposite.

      • B. Snow says:

        He’s impersonating Bill Murray and the Meatballs song = “It just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter, it just doesn’t matter….”

        To bad (for Kev-Kev) – He’s nearly the only person who believes himself.

        Legalization @+58% from Gallup, and a deacdes long ‘broken policy’ that is only rivaled by the Cuban Embargo/Travel Ban = (depending on whether we count back to Nixon or Anslinger), Which was argued against successfully by legitimate comparison to *Einstein’s Insanity* quote/proposition…

        Also there’s so much good news from yesterday and today I haven’t been able to read it all – But (overnight) I’ll try to link anything that someone else hasn’t already noted.

        I found a string of links/strories with various leaning POV’s – starting with Dan Riffle’ Twitter page, and then an aggregated list from Googling the Gallup poll’s writer(?) “Jeffery M.Jones” In U.S., 58% Back Legal Marijuana Use
        I don’t know if that is a totally kosher way to link that, but it appeared to be the permalink or something pretty close?

        I’ll check in later and see – IDK about y’all – but I’m pretty damn “happy camper” today!

        • claygooding says:

          Want a cherry on top??

          Joe Biden will not be running for president,,,have a strong feeling Canada’s pending legalization was the decider,,,even old Joe knows the game is up when our country is surrounded by legal marijuana,,he don’t want to watch it happen.

        • B. Snow says:

          Yeah – Now I’m kinda looking forward to not cursing his name and/or existence every time he’s in the news.

          And it seems he plans to focus his future eforts (for the next 15 months and after he heads back to Delaware) on curing cancer.

          Which is bound to be really awkward once he starts meeting with more & more of the families of people that are going thru, or have already gone thru chemotherapy.

          Surely he will end up meeting people who blame him for helping to create the ‘Drug Czar’ and the damned ONDCP…

          Maybe, Just maybe – they’ll shame and/or subtly guilt trip him into publicly admitting he was wrong about all that?

          Then again just getting out of D.C. and ‘the bubble’ – He and Barry will regain touch with society. You know out among the people that have totally shifted opinions on the issue. And are admitting use to pollsters in greater numbers than ever before…

          Maybe Rep. Cohen will introduce him to some of the veterans that use it for a variety of ailments = with virtually none of the B.S. problems he’s believed in for the last four decades?

          How long do you figure it takes an average human being – out in the real unsheltered world – to “Evolve” and join the rest of enlightened humanity on this issue??

          I suspect we’re all about to find out PDQ.

  6. darkcycle says:

    That Kuala Lampur summit has ended, but there’s this statement thingie. I signed it, and where it asks for Organization I put “Pete’s Couch”. Y’all can too. Here:

  7. Mr_Alex says:

    The Prohibs at SAM Oregon are not laughing but in fact crying and I mean the likes of Bridget Klotz and Randy Philbrick are crying because pf Justin Trudeau’s opinion that Canada will be ending the War on Drugs and Cannabis and the UNODC paper

    • Nunavut Tripper says:

      Nice to hear Randy and Bridget squirm so keep rubbing it in Alex. I’m out of the debate now because Randy blocked me on the SAM Facebook page.

      What an honour Randy bestowed upon me.

  8. claygooding says:

    Damn if Ol Joe isn’t backing free college,,amazing considering the lobby money flowing in DC right now from the school loan shark industry.

    Need to save on security costs?

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