• Why is Europe refusing to change course on drugs?

    Politics (UK web)
    Wednesday, February 4, 2015

    Is Europe being left behind? Sometimes it feels that way. In the US, Colorado and Washington have regulated recreational cannabis use, with Oregon and Alaska following suit. Uruguay is doing the same. Latin America leaders across the continent are turning against the war on drugs. So it can be somewhat dispiriting to see such little progress in Europe. As the world changes, it feels as if Europe is in stasis. But a briefing paper by Tom Blickman of the Transnational Institute shows that below the surface there is a vibrant and optimistic push for drug law reform in Europe.

  • Myanmar returns to what sells: Heroin

    A toxic mix of civil war and poverty has driven some Burmese farmers back to poppy, satisfying a growing global hunger for heroin
    Thomas Fuller
    The New York Times (US)
    Sunday, January 4, 2015

    opium-burma-nyt030115A decade ago, Myanmar seemed on course to wipe out the opium fields and heroin jungle labs along its eastern border, the notorious Golden Triangle. Today, valley after valley in these mist-shrouded mountains is covered with resplendent opium poppies, tended by farmers who perch on steep hillsides to harvest the plant’s sticky, intoxicating sap.

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  • Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma Dave Bewley-Taylor Damon Barrett
    Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

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  • A top UN official is not happy about US states legalizing weed

    'The US is violating the treaties. But the question is, are these treaties still fit for the 21st century?'
    Vice News
    Thursday, November 13, 2014

    The UN's top narcotics official said on Wednesday that recent votes by US states to legalize marijuana have put America in deeper violation of the international conventions that guide drug policy around the world. Earlier this month, voters in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington DC legalized the recreational use and sale of marijuana. Similar ballot initiatives have already passed and taken effect in Colorado and Washington.

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  • Prohibition is not working: the case for sanity in the war on drugs

    Over $100bn a year is spent worldwide fighting the war on drugs. For what end?
    The New Statesman (UK)
    Thursday, October 30, 2014

    say-no-to-drugsThe House of Commons will today debate whether to rethink the war on drugs. While it is only a backbench business debate, and is therefore not binding, it still represents a step towards reviewing the UK’s drug laws. There is a simple reason why the UK’s drug policy is so expensive and ineffective: the law is so old. Policy is still dictated by the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, signed into law shortly after the 1971 UN Convention on Drugs. In 43 years since, the approach has failed catastrophically.

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  • How marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is making the world a better place

    Washington Post (US)
    Friday, October 17, 2014

    No pressure, Colorado and Washington, but the world is scrutinizing your every move. That was the take-home message of an event today at the Brookings Institution, discussing the international impact of the move toward marijuana legalization at the state-level in the U.S. Laws passed in Colorado and Washington, with other states presumably to come, create a tension with the U.S. obligations toward three major international treaties governing drug control.

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  • La légalisation du cannabis est inévitable selon un expert en politique des drogues

    Yabiladi (Maroc)
    Vendredi, 25 juillet, 2014

    Martin-Jelsma-BarcelonaLa légalisation du cannabis fait peu à peu son chemin dans le monde, suscitant un débat politique qui dure depuis l'an dernier au Maroc. Après que l’Uruguay a carrément autorisé la commercialisation de cette drogue, plusieurs pays sont en train de légaliser sa culture à des fins thérapeutiques. Le spécialiste néerlandais qui a conseillé l’Uruguay s’attend à un effet domino dans le monde que les conventions onusiennes ne pourront empêcher. Explications.

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  • Global drug policy is still deadly and ineffective

    Samuel Oakford
    Vice
    Sunday, June 1, 2014

    If you actually read the treaties, while they do set firm limitations on the legal, "non-medical" or "non-scientific" sale of schedule drugs — limits that Uruguay, Colorado and Washington ignored when legalizing cannabis — they don’t otherwise obligate countries to penalize drug use. Even the 1988 convention, the harshest of the three, which instructs countries to criminalize use, still provides an out for states, allowing such laws only as they are "subject to its constitutional principles and the basic concepts of its legal system." This loophole has been used by the Dutch to argue legally for their coffee shops.

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  • Weed all about it

    Uruguay's cannabis law
    The Economist (UK)
    Wednesday, December 11, 2013

    TheEconomist“A critical turning point in the failed war against drugs,” is the verdict of Martin Jelsma of the Drugs and Democracy Programme at the Transnational Institute, an Amsterdam-based think-tank. On December 10th Uruguay’s Senate approved a law that not only legalised marijuana use but also regulated its production and sale. Others have gone down this route before: the American states of Colorado and Washington legalised marijuana for recreational use in 2012. But Uruguay is the first country to do so.

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  • More U.N. states quietly say no to drug war

    Inter Press Service (IPS)
    Saturday, December 7, 2013

    An internal United Nations draft document leaked last weekend has offered outsiders a rare look at longstanding disagreements between member states over the course of U.N. drug policy. The document, first publicised by The Guardian and obtained by IPS, contains over 100 specific policy recommendations and proposals from member states, many at odds with the status quo on illicit drug eradication and prohibition.

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