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  1. #1
    Seedling Claude's Avatar

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    Default High-level commission calls drug war a failure, recommends legal regulation of mariju

    By Jonathan M. Katz, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press

    NEW YORK, N.Y. - The global war on drugs has failed with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world, argues a new report to be released Thursday.

    Compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which includes former heads of state, a former U.N. secretary-general and a business mogul, the report calls on governments to end the criminalization of marijuana and other controlled substances.

    "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won," the report said.

    The 19-member commission includes former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former U.S. official George P. Schultz, who held cabinet posts under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Others include former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, U.K. business mogul Richard Branson and the current prime minister of Greece.

    Instead of punishing users who the report says "do no harm to others," the commission argues that governments should end criminalization of drug use, experiment with legal models that would undermine organized crime syndicates and offer health and treatment services for drug-users in need.

    The commission called for drug policies based on methods empirically proven to reduce crime, lead to better health and promote economic and social development.

    The commission is especially critical of the United States, which its members say must lead changing its anti-drug policies from being guided by anti-crime approaches to ones rooted in health care and human rights.

    "We hope this country (the U.S.) at least starts to think there are alternatives," former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria told The Associated Press by phone. "We don't see the U.S. evolving in a way that is compatible with our (countries') long-term interests."

    The office of White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said the report was misguided.

    "Drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated. Making drugs more available — as this report suggests — will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe," Office of National Drug Control Policy spokesman Rafael Lemaitre said.

    That office cites statistics showing declines in U.S. drug use compared to 30 years ago, along with a more recent 46 per cent drop in current cocaine use among young adults over the last five years.

    The report cited U.N. estimates that opiate use increased 34.5 per cent worldwide and cocaine 27 per cent from 1998 to 2008, while the use of cannabis, or marijuana, was up 8.5 per cent.

  2. #2


    Several high profile figures have signed an open letter urging Prime Minister David Cameron to consider decriminalising drugs.

    Dame Judi Dench and Sting were among more than 30 signatories.

    It comes as a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, whose members include Sir Richard Branson, urged legalisation of some drugs and an end to the criminalisation of users.

    The Home Office said it had "no intention" of liberalising drugs laws.

    The open letter, which was also signed by former defence secretary Bob Ainsworth and actor Kathy Burke, called for the "immediate decriminalisation of drug possession" if a policy review shows it has failed.

    Francis Wilkinson, Tom Lloyd and Paul Whitehouse - former police chiefs of constabularies in Gwent, Cambridgeshire and Sussex respectively - also signed the open letter.

    Oscar-winning actress Dame Judi urged Mr Cameron to carry out "a swift and transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies".

    And Sting added: "Giving young people criminal records for minor drug possession serves little purpose - it is time to think of more imaginative ways of addressing drug use in our society."

    The open letter states: "Should such a review of the evidence demonstrate the failure of the current position we would call for the immediate decriminalisation of drug possession."

    Nearly 80,000 people in the UK were convicted or cautioned for possessing an illegal drug in the last year alone, the letter published by campaign group Release said.

    Alternative approaches

    Meanwhile, Sir Richard, who was joined on the Global Commission on Drug Policy panel by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, said a new approach was needed.

    He said there was a need for a strategy that "takes the power out of the hands of organised crime and treats people with addiction problems like patients, not criminals."

    He said new approaches "focused on regulation and decriminalisation have worked" and urged leaders to look at "alternative, fact-based approaches".
    Dame Judi Dench Dame Judi Dench has called for a new drugs strategy

    The entrepreneur said there was a need for "more humane and effective ways to reduce the harm caused by drugs", arguing that the so-called war on drugs had failed to cut usage and fuelled organised crime.

    A Home Office spokesman said: "We have no intention of liberalising our drugs laws. Drugs are illegal because they are harmful - they destroy lives and cause untold misery to families and communities.

    "Those caught in the cycle of dependency must be supported to live drug-free lives, but giving people a green light to possess drugs through decriminalisation is clearly not the answer."

    The spokesman said action was being taken through "tough enforcement, both inland and abroad" which would operate alongside introducing temporary banning powers and "robust treatment programmes" to lead people into drug-free recovery.

    Chief Constable Tim Hollis, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said he welcomed a "mature debate" around the harm caused by drugs and "possible alternative solutions", although he stressed that the issue of drug decriminalisation is a matter for the government and their advisers.

    'More sophisticated approach'

    He said: "In terms of the police's enforcement role, it is my belief that our efforts are best utilised in focussing on organised crime and those dealing in drugs rather than simple possession.

    "The emerging evidence is that putting young people before the courts for simple possession does not solve the problem. A more sophisticated approach combining prevention and education, enforcement and treatment is required."

    The open letter comes as a report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy said action was needed "urgently" and "policies need to change now".

    The commission said its research in the UK, looking at the effects of the policy of diversion from custody into treatment programmes, demonstrated a reduction in offending following treatment intervention.

    And, using police criminal records data, researchers found that the numbers of charges brought against 1,476 drug users in the years before and after entering treatment reduced by 48%.

    "There are signs of inertia in the drug policy debate in some parts of the world as policymakers understand that current policies and strategies are failing but do not know what to do instead," the report stated.

    The commission urged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to help create "a truly co-ordinated and coherent global drug strategy that balances the need to stifle drug supply and fight organised crime with the need to provide health services, social care, and economic development to affected individuals and communities".

    It also called for an end to the "criminalisation, marginalisation and stigmatisation of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.

    The commission said countries that continue to invest mostly in a law enforcement approach should focus their repressive actions on violent organised crime and drug traffickers in order to reduce the harm associated with the illicit drug market.

  3. #3
    Seedling Claude's Avatar

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    Thanks inkog77,

    This is a good article as well.


  4. #4

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    Awwww......I always knew "M" was a free thinker!!

    Two really hopeful articles. It's all progress in my opinion.....

    Thanks for posting!

  5. #5
    Shadinated groo's Avatar

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    Damn I hate the ONDCP with a passion. Those idiots just keep bleating the same lies and never listen to anyone's reports that would put their precious funding dollars at risk.
    I do not fail -- I succeed at finding out what does not work.

  6. #6
    Seedling KING_JOHN_C's Avatar

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    i wonder where these reports can be sent and seen within our country's. it seems correct to me that we have people willing to listen to people we put a lot of trust in their opinions and meetings. i wonder if we hold the same true with them in present and future.when the same people invest more time once in or out of office should they not be listened to.

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