A recent report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy urges governments around the world, especially the United States and Mexico, to step back and rethink their approach to drug policy. The group says that the drug war has not worked and wants governments to stop criminalizing personal drug use.
The group says that by making illegal certain drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, and enforcing this policy through the war on drugs, too many non-violent people have gone to jail. Additionally, the approach has not lessened the use of illegal drugs, but has spawned a violent drug trade. Since 2006, when Mexican President Felipe Calderon began an intensified crackdown on organized crime (with support from the U.S.), 38,000 people have died in Mexico’s drug war.
The Obama Administration said they disagree with the panel’s recommendations. They have been supportive, however, of instituting more drug courts. These special courts seek to address underlying addictions rather than simply put someone arrested on drug charges in jail.
According to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times that discusses the panel’s recommendations and some reactions to the report, the Obama Administration believes in taking a “public health” approach to drug policy, but it is adamantly against legalizing drugs like marijuana and cocaine.
The global drug policy panel includes former U.N. chief Kofi Annan, writers Mario Vargas Llosa and Carlos Fuentes, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, former U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria.
High-profile panel urges non-criminal approach to world drug policy (Los Angeles Times)