global commission on drug policy

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Global Commission on Drug Policy 'Profoundly Disappointed' With UN

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Thursday announced it is "profoundly disappointed" with the adopted outcome document agreed at the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on "the world drug problem." According to Commissioners, the document does not acknowledge the comprehensive failure of the current drug control regime to reduce drug supply and demand.

"Nor does the outcome document account for the damaging effects of outdated policies on violence and corruption as well as on population health, human rights and wellbeing," the statement from the Commission reads. "By reaffirming that the three international conventions are the 'cornerstone of global drug policy,' the document sustains an unacceptable and outdated legal status quo."

"UNGASS has not seriously addressed the critical flaws of international drug policy," the statement reads. "It does not call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of drug users. It does not urge states to abolish capital punishment for drug-related offences. It does not call on the World Health Organization (WHO) to revisit the scheduling system of drugs. It does not advocate for harm reduction and treatment strategies that have demonstrated effectiveness. Finally it does not offer proposals to regulate drugs and put governments – rather than criminals – in control.

New York: More Than 1,500 Visit Opening Day of the Museum of Drug Policy

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The Museum of Drug Policy in New York City opened up to long lines and more than 1,500 people attending events all day long on Tuesday, including a sold-out #NerdlandForever: Melissa Harris-Perry Live show.

Special guests included The Wire's Michael K. Williams, Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, Orange Is The New Black's Piper Kerman, Comedian Cristela Alonzo, 12 Years A Slave's Adepero Oduye and many members of the international community.

The Museum of Drug Policy, supported by The Open Society Foundations, is an immersive art experience and pop-up cultural hub with special live programming looking at the impact of current drug policies on populations around the world.

The Museum will be open on Park Avenue in New York City for three days this week, during the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem.

More than 70 works of international art will be on display, including special installations, and the Museum will feature daytime discussions and evening performances with a powerful lineup of speakers, panels, performances and keynote addresses that will take attendees on a journey exploring the real impact and human cost of drug policy in communities around the world.

Global: Leaders Call For Decriminalization, Regulation Of Drugs During Historic UN Session

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On Thursday April 21 – the last day of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – several members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy will hold a press conference in New York. The Global Commission will evaluate the outcome of the UN meeting and call for concrete steps to ensure more effective drug policy reform in the years ahead. The UNGASS is taking place in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such gathering of governments in 18 years.

"Globally, we’re wasting too much money and precious resources on criminalizing people and sending them to jail when we should be spending this money on helping people - through proper medical care and education,” said Global Commission Member Sir Richard Branson. “From the perspective of an investor, the war on drugs has failed to deliver any returns. If it were one of my businesses, I would have shut it down many many years ago."

Commissioner and former President of Switzerland, Ruth Dreifuss also notes that "many countries are already successfully adopting innovative harm reduction and treatment strategies such as needle exchange, substitution therapies, heroin prescription and safe consumption rooms.” She adds that “for these efforts to be truly effective, governments must decriminalize the use of drugs for personal use.”

Global: Canada To Advocate Marijuana Legalization At UN Drug Conference

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The long awaited, much anticipated UN General Assembly's Special Session on Drugs will happen April 19-21 at the UN Headquarters in New York City, and Canada is expecting to advocate for abandoning the organization's longstanding prohibition of marijuana.

Just a month before the important UN drug conference begins, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health Hilary Geller, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna this month, said the new Canadian Liberal government headed by Justin Trudeau will be moving away from American War On Drugs policies, as pointed out by Lanny Swerdlow at the Marijuana Anti-Prohibition Project (MAPP),

The Canadian government plans not only to legalize marijuana, but also to open for safe-injection sites for intravenous drug users and to promote other harm-reduction policies.

Attendees at that conference, made up of government and non-governmental organization officials from around the world, "erupted in applause" mid-way through Geller's address and gave a prolonged ovation.

Geller's presentation was at odds with the policies of the former Canadian government of Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Drug War policies closely followed those of the United States, including implementing mandatory-minimum prison sentences and boosting police narcotics enforcement.

Global: Leaders Call Upcoming UN Session 'Historic Opportunity' To End Failed War On Drugs

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A bold public statement was released on Friday by the Global Commission on Drug Policy stating that “an historic opportunity to achieve more humane and effective drug policy is at risk.” The Commission is referring to the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs -- a meeting of all UN member states to evaluate the current state of international drug control.

The UNGASS is taking place in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such meeting in 18 years.

"We are driven by a sense of urgency,” said Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil and chair of the Global Commission. “There is widespread acknowledgment that the current system is not working, but also recognition that change is both necessary and achievable.

"We are convinced that the 2016 UNGASS is an historic opportunity to discuss the shortcomings of the drug control regime and identify workable alternatives," Cardoso said.

The Global Commission onFriday called the proposed outcome document for UNGASS (currently being negotiated in Vienna) “long on rhetoric, but short on substance” with “no hard solutions.” The Commission also urges governments to put “people’s health, safety and human rights first.” According to the statement, this includes:

• Ending the criminalization and incarceration of drug users;
• Abolishing capital punishment for drug-related offences;

Global Commission On Drug Policy Report: The Negative Impact of Drug Control on Public Health

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) on Monday released its third thematic report, The Global Crisis of Avoidable Pain: The Negative Impact of Drug Control on Public Health: at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference (IHRC2015) taking place October 18-21 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The report was launched by Commissioners, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, UN Secretary General Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Michel Kazatchkine and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover.

Key conclusions of The Global Crisis of Avoidable Pain are:

Ninety-two percent of the world’s supply of morphine is consumed by just 17 percent of the global population, with consumption primarily concentrated in the global north. Seventy-five per cent of the world’s population does not have access to any pain reliving drugs. That is to say, that most people, in late stages of cancers, enduring severe forms of acute or chronic pain, simply do not have access to pain relief, despite these medicines being included in the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines.

Costa Rica: Ministry of Health Releases Criteria for Pending Medical Marijuana Bill

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Announcement Followed By First Conference In Central America On Medical Marijuana

Marijuana Reform Initiative Finally Brings Central America Into The Regional Debate

Earlier this month, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health outlined the details for the implementation of a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health.

Ten months after Atencios’s proposal, the Ministry of Health released its criteria for the implementation of the bill.

“By taking this issue seriously, Costa Rica is demonstrating compassion for those whose suffering could be alleviated with medical marijuana,” said Hannah Hetzer, policy manager of the Americas at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “With so much momentum for drug policy reform building in the Americas, Costa Rica’s medical marijuana initiative brings Central America into a debate that is already strongly underway elsewhere in the region.”

Among the conditions specified by the Ministry are that medical marijuana must be used as a last resort and that recreational use of marijuana will continue to be illegal. Medical marijuana will be distributed through conventional drug stores and will follow the same prescription rules outlined by the Costa Rican Social Security System.

Global Leaders Call For Ending Criminalization of Drug Use and Possession

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The Global Commission on Drug Policy on Tuesday will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City.

The event will be live-streamed and speakers include former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others.

The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson in the afternoon following the press conference.

The report reflects the evolution in the thinking of the Commissioners, who reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches and now also call for permitting the legal regulation of psychoactive substances. The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders to ever call for such far-reaching changes.

In 2011, the Commission’s initial report broke new ground in both advancing and globalizing the debate over drug prohibition and its alternatives. Saying the time had come to “break the taboo,” it condemned the Drug War as a failure and recommended major reforms of the global drug prohibition regime.

Global: Short Animation Film From Brazil Explains Failure of War On Drugs

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The global fight to reform drug laws and put an end to the war on drugs gained a powerful new communications tool -- a three-minute stop-motion animation movie from Brazil entitled, WAR ON DRUGO.

In a fairytale setting, the movie explains the disastrous War On Drugs by telling the story of a dragon banished from an ancient kingdom, and how people that spent time with the dragon were thrown in jail. The visually appealing metaphor uses a simple narrative that is likely to help break the taboo on this complex subject and disseminate the argument to an even wider international audience.

The key messages of the movie are: prohibition does not mean control, and criminalization generates violence and suffering. A society with less violence is something that can be achieved.

WAR ON DRUGO is part of an ongoing effort by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) to highlight the need for more humane, evidence-based policies to deal with drugs in our society. The GCDP is the most distinguished group to call for broad reform of drug policies, and includes seven former presidents, the entrepreneur Richard Branson, former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, and other international leaders.

Caribbean Leaders Agree to Establish Commission to Review Regional Marijuana Policy

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Commission Will Assess Whether Marijuana Should Be Reclassified

At the semi-annual summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which concluded in Antigua this weekend, CARICOM leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy in the region in order to assess the need for reforms to marijuana laws.

The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated that “Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues surrounding marijuana use in the Region and to advise whether there should be a change in the current drug classification of marijuana, thereby making the drug more accessible for a range of users.”

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines -– who was instrumental in getting the issue on the agenda during his chairmanship of CARICOM -– expects the commission to study reforms taking place around the world on marijuana policy, including Jamaica, the United States, Sweden and Uruguay. “It seems to me counterproductive to ignore the potential of an industry in respect of medical marijuana and to continue to expend police, national security, court resources on persons who consume a minuscule amount of marijuana in the privacy of their homes,” Prime Minister Gonsalves said.

Uruguay: South American Nation On Tuesday Will Become First In Modern World To Legalize Marijuana

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Uruguayan Senate to Vote on President Mujica’s Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

The Uruguayan Senate on Tuesday will vote on a bill that would make their country the first in the world -- since the worldwide Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics in 1961 -- to legally regulate the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults. The bill was approved in the House of Representatives in July with 50 out of 96 votes. Once approved in Senate, Uruguay will have 120 days to write the regulations before implementing the law.

The marijuana legalization proposal was put forward by President José Mujica in June 2012 as part of a comprehensive package aimed at fighting crime and public insecurity. After a year and a half of studying the issue, engaging in political debate, redrafting the bill, and the emergence of a public campaign in favor of the proposal, Uruguay’s parliament is set to approve the measure this year.

“It’s about time that we see a country bravely break with the failed prohibitionist model and try an innovative, more compassionate, and smarter approach,” said Hannah Hetzer, who is based out of Montevideo, Uruguay, as the Policy Manager of the Americas for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "By approving this measure, Uruguay will represent a concrete advance in line with growing opposition to the drug war in Latin America and throughout the world."

Colorado: Leading Reformers to be Honored at Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver

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Awardees Recognized for Groundbreaking Work to End the War on Drugs

Winners Include Seattle Police Department, Organizers of CO and WA Marijuana Legalization Initiatives, Portugal Government’s Drug Agency, Global Commission on Drug Policy, and More

Leading advocates for alternatives to the War On Drugs will be honored at an awards ceremony on Saturday, October 26, at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver. The conference is being organized by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), the nation's leading organization promoting alternatives to the drug war, and is co-sponsored by dozens of other reform organizations.

"Every political movement for freedom and justice has its heroes, yet only a select few ever win the recognition they deserve," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "These awards honor those who have made extraordinary commitments, both publicly and behind the scenes, to advancing more sensible and humane ways of dealing with drugs in our society."

Below are the distinguished award recipients:

The Global Commission on Drug Policy is the winner of the Richard J. Dennis Drugpeace Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Drug Policy Reform, which is given to a group or individuals who most epitomize loyal opposition to drug war extremism. The purpose of the Commission is to create an international, informed and science-based discussion about the most effective methods of reducing the harm caused by drugs.

New Mexico: Senate Committee Approves Study of Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

Photo - New Mexico: Senate Committee Approves Study of Taxing and Regulating MarijuanaBy Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Mexico state Senator Ortiz y Pino's Senate Memorial 80, requesting the state Economic Development Department to study the budgetary implications of taxing and regulating marijuana in the state, on Wednesday passed out of the Senate Rules Committee on a 6-1 bipartisan vote.

The memorial bill will next be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee before being heard by the entire Senate.

"Legislators on both sides of the asile want to know how taxing and regulating marijuana in New Mexico will improve our economic success as a state," said Emily Kaltenbach, New Mexico state director with the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Many of the best ideas defy political labels."

"As marijuana reform becomes a mainstream position, political candidates and elected officials are finding it less and less of a political third rail," Kaltenbach said.

A new poll conducted by Research and Polling found a majority of New Mexico's registered voters -- 52 percent -- say they support legalizing marijuana for adults, taxing and regulating it in a way similar to alcohol. Forty percent were opposed.

A report from the Global Commission on Drug Policy released last year suggests the legalization of marijuana as an affirmative step to end failed drug policies that fuel a violent black market.

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