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June 2018

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UN Backs Drug Decriminalization In World Drug Report

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UN Backs Drug Decriminalization In World Drug Report

Post by HuaNgu on Thu Jun 25, 2009 5:24 pm

In an about face, the United Nations on Wednesday lavishly praised drug
decriminalization in its annual report on the state of global drug
policy. In previous years, the UN drug czar had expressed skepticism
about Portugal's decriminalization, which removed criminal penalties in
2001 for personal drug possession and emphasized treatment over
incarceration. The UN had suggested the policy was in violation of
international drug treaties and would encourage "drug tourism."

But in its 2009 World Drug Report, the UN had little but kind words
for Portugal's radical (by U.S. standards) approach. "These conditions
keep drugs out of the hands of those who would avoid them under a
system of full prohibition, while encouraging treatment, rather than
incarceration, for users. Among those who would not welcome a summons
from a police officer are tourists, and, as a result, Portugal's policy
has reportedly not led to an increase in drug tourism," reads the
report. "It also appears that a number of drug-related problems have

In its upbeat appraisal of Portugal's policy, the UN finds itself in agreement with Salon's Glenn Greenwald.

The report, released at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.,
also puts to rest concerns that decriminalization doesn't comply with
international treaties, which prevent countries from legalizing drugs.

U.S. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske is scheduled to appear at the
announcement of the report. (He has said "legalization" is not "in my

"The International Narcotics Control Board was initially
apprehensive when Portugal changed its law in 2001 (see their annual
report for that year), but after a mission to Portugal in 2004, it
"noted that the acquisition, possession and abuse of drugs had remained
prohibited," and said "the practice of exempting small quantities of
drugs from criminal prosecution is consistent with the international
drug control treaties," reads a footnote to the report.

The UN report also dives head first into the debate over full drug
legalization. Last year's World Drug Report ignored the issue entirely,
save for a reference to Chinese opium policy in the 19th Century. This
year's report begins with a lengthy rebuttal of arguments in favor of
legalization. "Why unleash a drug epidemic in the developing world for
the sake of libertarian arguments made by a pro-drug lobby that has the
luxury of access to drug treatment?" argues the report.

But the UN also makes a significant concession to backers of
legalization, who have long argued that it is prohibition policies that
lead to violence and the growth of shadowy, underground networks.

"In the Preface to the report," reads the press release accompanying
the report, "[UN Office of Drugs and Crime Executive Director Antonio
Maria] Costa explores the debate over repealing drug controls. He
acknowledges that controls have generated an illicit black market of
macro-economic proportions that uses violence and corruption."

Jack Cole, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
(LEAP) and a retired undercover narcotics detective, objected to the
report's classification of current policy as "control."

"The world's 'drug czar,' Antonio Maria Costa, would have you
believe that the legalization movement is calling for the abolition of
drug control," he said. "Quite the contrary, we are demanding that
governments replace the failed policy of prohibition with a system that
actually regulates and controls drugs, including their purity and
prices, as well as who produces them and who they can be sold to. You
can't have effective control under prohibition, as we should have
learned from our failed experiment with alcohol in the U.S. between
1920 and 1933."

Holy hell! Could this be the move toward sensible drug laws across the globe? Never too late, if you ask me! Clap

PS - I bolded the best part of that article. Thumbsup

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Join date : 2009-06-24

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