• A new EU Drug Strategy is being repared by the German presidency

    The new security-focused EU Drugs Agenda proposed by the EU Commission was criticised by civil society and member states
    Peter Sarosi (DrugReporter)
    Thursday, October 8, 2020

    eu flagThe International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) sent an open letter to the members of the Horizontal Working Party on Drugs (HDG) to reject the EU Drugs Agenda. The German EU presidency is now in charge of revising it. It was revealed at the online annual plenary meeting of the Civil Society Forum on Drugs that Member States did not accept the new EU Drugs Agenda proposed by the EU Commission. The HDG decided that a new EU strategy will be prepared by the German presidency. In a previous article we made some critical remarks about the new EU Drugs Agenda presented by the EU Commission.

  • Switzerland set to launch cannabis pilot projects 2021

    A handful of cities, including Berne, Geneva, Zurich, Basel and Biel have already expressed interest in joining the pilot projects
    Christoph Schindler (Groupement Romand d'Etudes des Addictions - GREA)
    Thursday, October 8, 2020

    switzerland flag cannabisIn September 2020, the Swiss parliament adopted a modification to the Federal Act on Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances. The change provides a legal framework for a pilot project that would see legal and government-controlled supply initiatives established in 2021. The projects are expected to provide data on the use of cannabis by the Swiss and contribute to substantiating any potential future regulations. A few days after its passing, a complimentary parliamentary initiative was submitted by a member of the National Council (the lower house of the Swiss legislature). The initiative aims to flesh out a political response to the regulation of cannabis, proposing standards similar to those in place for alcohol.

  • The EU should not fight drugs but reduce harms

    The new Security Union strategy would “fight” against drugs together with child abuse and arms trafficking. This is a bad approach
    Peter Sarosi (DrugReporter)
    Wednesday, August 5, 2020

    eu puzzleThe European Commission has published its new EU drug strategy (now called the Drugs Agenda), which is part of a wider Security Union strategy entitled “Delivering on a Security Union: initiatives to fight child sexual abuse, drugs and illegal firearms.” While I celebrated the previous Action Plan as the most progressive ever, I think this document has come as a disappointment for civil society organisations that have been advocating for a sensible, balanced approach in drug policies. Here are 4 reasons why.

  • The war on drugs is a war on human rights

    New report from Amnesty International on drug war in Cambodia
    James Nicholls, Chief Executive Transform
    Friday, May 15, 2020

    human rights are not optionalOne of the most appalling aspects of the war on drugs is that it can legitimise not just human rights abuses, but a complete rejection of human rights as a principle.  The degree to which this perverse reality has been normalised was made clear in a recent statement by the Cambodian Ministry of the Interior, responding to a new report from Amnesty International. When it is an anti-drug campaign,’ the spokesman said, ‘there is never a respect for human rights.’ He went on to say that during an anti-drugs campaign ‘human rights need to be put aside, so it is clean’. Let that sink in for a moment.

  • Parliament of Ghana passes historic new drug law, paving the way for a West African approach

    The new Bill represents an important example for drug policy reform advocacy in West Africa
    Maria-Goretti Ane
    Sunday, April 5, 2020

    On Friday, 20th March, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Narcotics Control Commission Bill into law. This brought great excitement to many who have been following the legislative process since 2015, when the Bill was first introduced. Many civil society organizations (CSOs) in Ghana laud the Government for this significant moment in the history of drug policy reform in the country. The new law makes huge inroads towards more humane drug policy, and will pave way for other good examples to emerge in the sub-region.

  • The ‘deja vú’ of aerial crop spraying in Colombia

    Before the spraying during Plan Colombia coca was grown in 12 regions, but after spraying it expanded to 22
    Nicolás Martínez Rivera
    Saturday, February 29, 2020

    colombia fumigation soldierAt the end of 2019 the government of Iván Duque presented a draft decree to resume the spraying of drug crops used for illicit purposes. It argued that spraying is the only instrument to curb the increase in coca crops. On February 10 and 11, 2020, a Dialogue on Aerial Spraying and Human Rights took place in Bogotá. At the event, several non-governmental organizations and representatives of different communities nationwide gathered to discuss the government’s decision to counter the illicit drug trade by resuming aerial sprays with glyphosate. The destruction of entire crops, contamination of water sources, miscarriages, malformations in newborns were, among others, some of the effects of glyphosate use that led the National Narcotics Council (CNE) to suspend aerial spraying in 2015.

  • Growers' voices at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

    Representatives of opium and coca growers from Myanmar and Colombia delivered statements describing situation on the ground
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    Sunday, November 24, 2019

    burma opiumfieldFrom 16 to 18 October 2019, representatives of member states, intergovernmental organisations, and civil society attended the 6th Intersessional Meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. On 17 October 2019, representatives of coca and opium growers from Colombia (Pedro Arenas) and Myanmar (Sai Lone of Myanmar Opium Farmers' Forum) delivered statements highlighting the situation of communities involved in the illicit cultivation of coca and opium in both countries. Read their full statements.

  • Nowhere to hide

    It’s high time we measured countries’ performance in drug policy
    Marie Nougier & Dave Bewley-Taylor
    Wednesday, October 30, 2019

    gdpiTraditionally, the UN and governments have measured progress in drug policy in terms of flows and scale; principally the numbers of people arrested, hectares of drug crops eradicated and the amounts of drugs seized. For years now, IDPC and many civil society colleagues (in particular the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO), CELS, the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, and the Social Science Research Council among others), have advocated against such an approach, because of its inability to truly assess the real impacts of drug control policy – especially for communities affected by the illicit drug trade on the one hand and by drug policies on the other.

  • INCB stronger than ever before on decriminalisation, capital punishment & extrajudicial killings

    ‘There is no obligation stemming from the conventions to incarcerate drug users who commit minor offences’
    Marie Nougier (IDPC)
    Friday, June 28, 2019

    The INCB dedicated one of its latest series of Alerts, from June 2019, to the issue of ‘State responses to drug-related criminality’, covering decriminalisation, proportionate sentencing, the death penalty and extrajudicial killings. The Board has recently taken a more positive stance towards decriminalisation, in particular under the leadership of Werner Sipp in 2016. In April 2017, the INCB had already published an Alert on the issue, although mostly reiterating language included in the UN drug conventions. This month’s Alert goes into further detail, explaining the ‘more differentiated’ approach adopted by member states in recent years – as 26 countries have now moved towards a decriminalisation model.

  • Medical cannabis moving ahead in Thailand, but who stands to benefit?

    The cultivation, distribution, possession and use of kratom will be decriminalised in certain communities
    Chokwan Kitty Chopaka (Highland Network)
    Tuesday, May 14, 2019

    thailand marijuana awakening25th December of 2018 was a historical day for cannabis enthusiasts in Thailand. The (interim) Parliament voted, 166-to-0, to pass new amendments to the country’s Narcotics Act. These legislative changes will allow for the cultivation, importation/exportation, distribution, possession and use of cannabis for medical and research purposes in the Kingdom. The move is regarded by many as a big leap forward, especially as the country still retains a criminal penalty (one year of imprisonment) for the simple use of illicit drugs, including cannabis.


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