World Leaders Call For Ending Criminalization of Drug Users and Responsible Legal Regulation of Drugs
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann
On Tuesday, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include Richard Branson, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss and others.
The report reflects a new 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.
Below is a statement from DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann:
“When the Commission released its initial report just three years ago, few expected its recommendations to be embraced anytime soon by current presidents. But that’s exactly what happened, with Colombian President Santos and Guatemala President Perez-Molina speaking out boldly, former Mexican President Calderon calling on the United Nations to reassess the prohibitionist approach to drugs, and Uruguayan President Mujica approving the first national law to legally regulate cannabis. Meanwhile, one Commission member, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, has opened up the drug policy debate in West Africa, recruiting some of the region’s most distinguished figures.
“The import of the Commission’s report lies in both the distinction of its members and the boldness of their recommendations. The former presidents and other Commission members pull no punches in insisting that national and global drug control policies reject the failed prohibitionist policies of the 20th century in favor of new policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.
“There’s no question now that the genie of reform has escaped the prohibitionist bottle. I’m grateful to the Commission for the pivotal role it has played in taking drug policy reform from the fringes of international politics to the mainstream.”