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  • UNGASS 2016: Watershed event or wasted opportunity?

    Drug policy changes collide with UN bureaucracy
    Martin Jelsma
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    ungass2016_nyAt about two o'clock in the morning on March 23rd, after tense negotiations in Vienna, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) reached a disappointing compromise. The hard-bargained draft of the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs taking place in New York from 19-21 April was adopted by ‘consensus’. Although its key features are by no means a surprise the draft is disappointing nonetheless.

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  • Panama Papers demonstrate need to reopen UNGASS 2016 outcome document

    Recommendations to counter money laundering are inadequate
    Tom Blickman
    Friday, April 8, 2016

    panama-papersThe Panama Papers, a massive leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that helped wealthy clients and money launderers for drug trafficking organisations set up anonymous shell companies in tax havens, should open the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on the world drug problem, that will take place on April 19-21 in New York.

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  • Will UNGASS 2016 be the beginning of the end for the ‘war on drugs’?

    Held this April, will the United Nations General Assembly Special Session be the turning point for the international drug control system?
    Martin Jelsma Ann Fordham
    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    ungass2016_nyIn April 2016, the UN will dedicate, for the third time in its history, a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) to discuss global drug policy. The UNGASS has the potential to be a ground-breaking moment that could change the course of the international drug control system. However, political divisions and entrenched institutional dynamics have dampened hopes that it will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.

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  • 2015 the Year of Ganja in Jamaica

    Will 2016 be the year for Ganja internationally, as we move towards the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016?
    Vicki Hanson
    Friday, January 29, 2016

    jamaica-cannabis-leafThe issue of ganja played very prominently in Jamaica in 2015 with some advocates trumpeting the dawn of a “new green golden kingdom”, while some opponents predicting the doom of our youths to the “green demon”. However, a sober analysis of the situation will reveal that even though there were indeed some victories in relation to how we treat with ganja in Jamaica, there is still a lot more to achieve and pitfalls to be mindful of in relation to our policy on establishing a fully legally regulated ganja industry.

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  • Harsh sentences against the Pannagh cannabis club

    The Spanish Supreme Court effectively closes the grey legal loopholes that allowed Cannabis Social Clubs to operate
    Tom Blickman
    Wednesday, December 30, 2015

    yosoypannagh The Spanish Supreme Court has convicted the president, an administrator and two members of the Association of Cannabis Users "Pannagh" in Bilbao, for running a Cannabis Social Club. The penalty for the first two is 1 year and 8 months in prison, as well as a fine of € 250,000, and for the other two – which among other functions weighed and packaged cannabis – a penalty of 6 months in prison. The Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of the four by a Court in Bilbao in March 2015. Among the convicted is Martin Barriuso, one of the main promoters of Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain who wrote a briefing for TNI on the issue.

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  • As UNGASS approaches, yet another devastating UN critique of the drug war is published

    Steve Rolles (Transform)
    Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    A significant positive outcome has already emerged from next year’s UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in the form of much more direct engagement in key drug policy issues from a range of UN agencies - beyond the prohibitionist silo of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Civil society organisations have, for years, been attempting to highlight the negative impacts of the international drug control system on issues relating to the core UN pillars of human rights, development, and peace and security.

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  • Latin America’s crackdown on drugs defies its progressive rhetoric

    It is beyond time for Latin American governments to step up and match their discourse with action
    Catalina Pérez Correa & Coletta A. Youngers
    Thursday, November 12, 2015

    women-prisoners-elsalvador“We were having dinner—my daughter, grandchild, and me,” says Ramona, a 67-year-old Mexican woman who is serving a sentence of four-and-a-half years in one of Mexico’s most dangerous prisons. “I was lying on the couch watching a soap opera … when I realized that there were several men inside the house yelling at me to hand over the drugs.”

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  • The truth behind the UNODC's leaked decriminalisation paper

    The UNODC claims that the briefing is not a final or formal document, and does not amount to a statement of its policy position
    Steve Rolles (Transform)
    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    decrim-unodc-transformThe UN Office on Drugs and Crime has responded to the 'leak' of its paper calling for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. 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, and was sufficiently annoyed when the UNODC backtracked, that he broke the story himself on his blog.

  • The seven steps of drug policy reform in Ecuador

    Recent History and a Look toward the Future
    Jorge Vicente Paladines Rodríguez
    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    correa-efeEcuador has entered a new era in drug policy and legislation. Twenty-five years after the last major legal reform, brought about by the famed Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Law (Ley de Sustancias Estupefacientes y Psicotrópicas, Law 108), which took effect on September 17, 1990, the National Assembly is about to debate—for the second and final time—the draft Law on Prevention of Drugs and Use or Consumption of Substances Classified as Subject to Oversight (Ley de Prevención de Drogas y Uso y Consumo de Sustancias Catalogadas Sujetas a Fiscalización.)

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  • Video report of the UN drug debate

    On the way to UNGASS 2016
    Drugreporter HCLU
    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    This March, our video advocacy team attended the 58th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the largest drug policy gathering in the world, to find out how governments and NGOs feel about the prospects of drug policy reform. We produced a series of short thematic videos, to give you an overview of the current state of political debate on the burning issues of international drug control.

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Coca Myths

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The coca leaf has been used and misused for many ends, each of them suiting different interests and agendas.

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In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.