Legalise and regulate drugs, says new report by global leaders

By agency reporter
September 25, 2018

The Global Commission on Drug Policy has released its new report, Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs in Mexico City. The Global Commission comprises nine former presidents, three former prime ministers, and other global leaders. It is also the last piece of work by the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who died on 18 August 2018

The report details how governments can take control of illegal drug markets through responsible regulation to severely weaken criminal organisations which profit from illegal drugs, and promote global health, security and development.

The report provides a practical roadmap which:

  • tackles the real world challenge of moving from illegal to legally regulated drug markets
  • addresses the organisational capacity of state institutions to regulate drug markets
  • offers ways to deal with the resilience of organised crime
  • highlights challenges facing impoverished populations that are the 'working class' of illegal drug markets
  • calls for reform of the prohibition-based international drug control system – a major barrier to taking an effective and holistic approach to drug supply and use

Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for Transform, a think tank that campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs both in the UK and internationally, and who acted as technical coordinator for the new report, said: "This is a group of world leaders from all compass points around the globe applying their wisdom and experience to describe in detail how to legalise and regulate drugs. Because having governments not gangsters in control of drug markets is the only way to end the catastrophic global drug war, and to protect us all.

"This is in complete contrast to the backward looking drug war rhetoric that Donald Trump is using today at the UN in New York – bullying members states into backing yet more drug  war failure. Unlike Trump, the Commission is fully engaged with the reality that 250 million people use drugs worldwide, and it has put itself firmly on the right side of history."

The Commission also made a statement on the event addressed by President Trump, saying: "The Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem, hosted by the US Administration on 24 September at the UN, signals the continuation of inefficient, costly and harmful policies. These policies result in punitive law enforcement, militarisation, mass incarceration, forced treatment, and broken families and communities. Most important, they also result in loss of human dignity and lives.

"Attempts to eradicate drug supply and use through prohibition-based repressive measures against people who use drugs have proved expensive and counter-productive for more than 50 years. The US government, which tried and abandoned alcohol prohibition, and now faces an unprecedented opioid crisis, should know this better than anyone – especially at a time when numerous states are moving away from prohibition and towards regulation.

"The Global Call to Action represents an attempt to demonstrate a consensus that no longer exists, including among a number of the signatories.

"The Global Call to Action stands in stark contrast with the new report that the Global Commission is launching at the same moment in Mexico City. This report examines how governments can move to regulate drugs as the realistic and responsible alternative to prohibition. Rather than continuing the failed strategies of the past, the Global Commission is proposing ways forward that can help deliver on the shared United Nations goals of peace, development, and human rights for all."

* Read the report Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs here

* Global Commission on Drug Policy http://www.globalcommissionondrugs.org

* Transform https://www.tdpf.org.uk/

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