Feel that? It’s the political ground shifting underneath our feet.
On Thursday, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, an international organization consisting of high level current and former heads of state, along with policy experts, released a report suggesting world governments give up the War On Drugs and consider more rational harm-reduction policies, including removing all criminal penalties for the possession and use of marijuana.
The Commission, which includes former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan and former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, among many others, urged leaders to consider alternatives to incarceration for drug use to shift their focus toward treatment of drug abusers, rather than punishment and interdiction for recreational users.
|Rob Kampia, Marijuana Policy Project: “The use of marijuana… is objectively less harmful than alcohol, is widespread and will never be eliminated”|
”These prominent world leaders recognize an undeniable reality: The use of marijuana, which is objectively less harmful than alcohol, is widespread and will never be eliminated,” said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project.
“They acknowledge that there are only two choices moving forward,” Kampia said. “We can maintain marijuana’s status as a wholly illegal substance and steer billions of dollars toward drug cartels and other criminal actors. Or, we can encourage nations to make the adult use of marijuana legal and have it sold in regulated stores by legitimate, taxpaying business people.
“At long last, we have world leaders embracing the more rational choice and advocating for legal, regulated markets for marijuana,” Kampia said. “We praise these world leaders for their willingness to advocate for this sensible approach to marijuana policy.”
This study comes as Portugal enjoys the tenth year of its experiment with decriminalizing all drugs Since making this bold policy move in 2001, Portugal has seen crime, use rates, addiction rates, overdose deaths, and blood-borne diseases all decrease significantly.
The study released today suggests that a similar model could be successfully adopted elsewhere. It also points at the damage that prohibition policies do to society, including massive government expenditure, enrichment of criminal organizations, and interference with treatment and prevention of diseases like HIV/AIDS.