• Portugal: Ten years after decriminalization

    Drug use did not skyrocket in the years following decriminalization
    Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
    Monday, November 26, 2012

    portugal-hcluIn 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocussing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective?

  • UN International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development: Part II

    Coletta Youngers
    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    icad-peru-logoThe International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development approved last week at an international meeting in Lima, Peru, represents a lost opportunity to promote equitable economic development in some of the world’s poorest regions. The final document on the Guiding Principles bears little resemblance to the document that was originally drafted in November 2011 in Thailand by a group of more than 100 governmental and non-governmental experts.

  • An opportunity lost

    Guiding Principles on Alternative Development and the ICAD Conference in Lima Peru
    Pien Metaal
    Monday, November 19, 2012

    At the International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD), held in Lima from 14 to 16 November, the Peruvian Government supported by the UNODC claimed that currently in Peru the surface planted with alternative development crops is superior to the amount of coca, used for the production of cocaine. Allegedly, the 80 thousand hectares with cocoa and coffee have successfully replaced an illicit economy, or prevented it to establish itself.

  • The will of the voters

    Colorado and Washington have put legal marijuana on the map
    John Walsh
    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    yes-ballot2012Now that the voters in Colorado and Washington have approved marijuana legalization initiatives, attention has turned quickly to questions surrounding implementation—and in particular to speculation over how the federal government might react. This is entirely understandable, since it is no secret that the newly approved state initiatives conflict with federal law.

  • Disproportionate penalties for drug offenses in Mexico

    Study shows that federal resources are dedicated to the investigation, prosecution, and conviction of minor drug-related cases
    Catalina Pérez Correa Kristel Mucino
    Monday, November 12, 2012

    The story of the Mexican drug war has generally focused on the violence perpetrated by drug cartels and the apparent inability to bring so many criminals to justice. Unfortunately—while it’s true many have evaded justice—there remain many more people who use drugs and those with very low levels of involvement in the drug trade, who have been swept up in recent crackdowns.

  • Victims of the Latin American war on drugs make the case for reform

    Kristel Mucino
    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    human-face-presentation-uruguayLatin American drug policies have made no dent in the drug trade; instead they have taken a tremendous toll on human lives. In 2009, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) embarked on an ambitious project to document the real impact of Latin America’s “war on drugs” and to show its human cost through the video testimonies of the victims themselves.

  • UN International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development

    Coletta Youngers
    Friday, November 9, 2012

    In November 2011 I was invited by the Thai government to take part in an international delegation to develop a set of UN International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development. Our work began with a five-day journey along the Thai-Burma border to see first-hand the development programs that have been successful in virtually eliminating poppy production in that country. Over 100 government officials and experts from 28 countries visited the Thai “Royal Project,” which has research stations and development projects in five Northern provinces of the country.

  • Taking the initiative on legal marijuana

    Voters in Washington State appear poised to approve legal, regulated marijuana
    John Walsh
    Friday, November 2, 2012

    marijuana_leaf1Two years ago, California’s bid to legalize marijuana—Proposition 19—achieved great notoriety in Latin America, but ultimately fell short at the ballot box. Next Tuesday, voters in the state of Washington appear ready to do what Prop 19’s supporters could not quite achieve—an Election Day victory.

  • Cannabis pass abolished? Not really

    Half-baked compromise in Dutch government coalition agreement continues disastrous coffeeshop policy
    Tom Blickman
    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    The new coalition government of conservative liberals (VVD) and social-democrats (PvdA) presented its coalition agreement on Monday. They agreed to abolish the cannabis pass, but access to coffeeshops remains limited to residents of the Netherlands. Customers need to identify themselves with an identity card or a residence permit together with a certificate of residence. Non-resident foreigners are still banned. In other words, there will be no cannabis pass, but the policy continues.

  • Portugal progresses toward integrated cannabis regulation

    Proposed legislation would authorise growing for personal use and the creation of Cannabis Social Clubs
    Martin Barriuso Alonso
    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    clubes-sociaisIn recent years there has been much talk of the so-called “Portuguese model,” based on an initiative that led to the use of illicit drugs being decriminalised in 2001. In fact, it is often said that Portugal was the first country in Europe to decriminalise drug use de jure, while Spain, for example, took that step de facto for the first time in 1974, except that it was not through a specific law but rather as a result of a Supreme Court ruling.


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