A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the Globe

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July 5, 2012
Release

This report from the UK-based organization Release provides a thorough overview of decriminalization laws that have been adopted in 20 different countries, including the United States. The report’s key finding is that the adoption of such policies do not lead to significant increases in drug use. It also finds that while decriminalization is certainly a step in the right direction, it still falls short in many ways due to the inherent harms of prohibition – namely, an illegal, unregulated market; the unequal application of the laws (regardless of severity of penalty) towards certain groups, especially people of color; unregulated products of unknown potency and quality; and the potential for continued arrests as part of a “net-widening” phenomenon.

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