• Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

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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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  • Pushing treaty limits?

    Encourage policy makers to rule treaty reform in as an option, rather than presumptively ruling it out
    Wells C. Bennett
    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Suppose the United States government helps to negotiate, and subsequently champions, certain framework treaties – ones justly viewed as imposing significant constraints on all signatories. Down the road, the United States occasionally even calls out counterparties for their looser policy innovations, when the latter push the outer boundaries of what’s permitted under the treaties; a treaty-created monitoring body does likewise in its annual reporting. This pattern essentially holds year in and year out and from one presidential administration to the next.

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  • Colombia, more than three decades of toxic sprayings. Enough!

    Amira Armenta
    Friday, 26 September 2014

    fumigationMamacocaIt is unfortunate that 35 years after the first chemical spraying in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, we are still writing about aerial sprayings in Colombia, demanding the current government – how many governments have not happened since! – to definitely defer an ecocide and incompetent policy. Throughout these years we have seen increasing national and international voices opposing the spraying of coca with the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate).

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  • Preparing for the 2016 UNGASS on drugs

    An opportunity we can’t afford to miss
    Nazlee Maghsoudi (IDPC)
    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in 2016 is intended to provide states with the opportunity to openly debate the future of international drug policies. An event at UN headquarters in New York discussed precisely what preparations are necessary to make sure the UNGASS accomplishes this objective.

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  • Brazil discusses medical cannabis at international symposium

    Vera da Ros (Rede Brasileira de Redução de Danos e Direitos Humanos - REDUC)
    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    The IV Symposium on Medicinal Cannabis in Brazil focused on patients who need treatment via medicinal cannabis and its components. Today, these patients struggle with access to such treatment, mainly due to bureaucracy. The event undoubtedly generated attitudes in favor of medical marijuana in the country. However, and unfortunately, less than 10 days after the event ended, National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) postponed a vote for the reclassification of cannabis.

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  • Mexico legislators consider regulating marijuana to protect human rights

    Zara Snapp
    Monday, July 14, 2014

    In Mexico, since 2006 a public security strategy has been implemented based on militarization, which has prioritized the use of force – including lethal force – based on the presumption of national security above principles of the safety of citizens. Involvement of armed forces as the central axis for Mexico’s security strategy has sparked serious concerns, particularly pertaining to obligations regarding human rights.

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  • Reforming the global drug-control system: The stakes for Washington

    Washington's new narrative defends the integrity of the UN drug control conventions, while allowing more flexible interpretations
    Martin Jelsma
    Friday, June 27, 2014

    The extent to which the ongoing drug-control reforms across the Americas are pushing the boundaries of the global legal framework laid down in three UN drug-control conventions has become a delicate issue. The decriminalization of possession for personal use in several Latin American countries and the establishment of a supervised injection room in Vancouver, Canada have already triggered protracted legal disputes with the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the quasi-judicial organ for the conventions’ implementation.

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  • Prisoners sentenced with unconstitutional norms have the right to be resentenced

    Italian NGOs advocate for law by decree that would immediatly reduce illegitimate penalties
    Grazia Zuffa
    Thursday, June 5, 2014

    prison-italyIn February, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that most of the 2006 drug law norms were unconstitutional. Following this pronouncement, at the end of May, the Court of Cassation decided that people sentenced and incarcerated under the illegitimate norms have the right to be resentenced. The decision may affect about 10.000 prisoners detained for cannabis crimes.

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  • "Just say no" is not an "alternative approach" to the drug problem

    It's been tried – and it doesn't work
    George Murkin (Transform Blog)
    Friday, May 30, 2014

    Dr Hans-Christian Raabe, who was removed from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs after one month, this week wrote two rather provocative articles on the Conservative Woman website. Raabe’s main argument is that a better, “alternative approach to the drug problem” would be to create a “drug-free society”. Punitive, zero-tolerance, abstinence-based approaches have been the dominant drug policy model in most parts of the world for over half a century now – and they haven’t worked. They've caused a great deal of harm and haven’t really stopped people taking drugs.

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