|The United Nations wants us to stop questioning the almighty Drug War|
A fast growing movement in Latin America to relax the laws against marijuana and other illegal drugs may — horrors! — undermine the global Drug War, according to a United Nations group.
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said in its annual report, released Wednesday, that is is “concerned” that Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico have decriminalized possession of drugs, particularly marijuana, for personal use reports Lucia Baldomir at Bloomberg Business Week.
The decrim movement “poses a threat” to the “coherence and effectiveness” (as if it ever had any of either) of the international Drug War if not “resolutely countered,” according to the report, and besides that, it sends “the wrong message to the general public.”
Hey, INCB, I guess you think the “general public” doesn’t have any say in policy matters? Maybe you’re the one with the same old “wrong message,” there in your ivory tower in Vienna. Have you considered that maybe people are beginning to see the folly of locking people up for growing and using an herb?
|Same old, same old.|
Argentina’s Supreme Court last year declared unconstitutional the punishment of people for personal cannabis possession. Mexico decriminalized small amounts of illicit drugs for personal use, and Brazil has also taken steps to decriminalize drug possession, including — imagine the concept! — replacing prison sentences with treatment and educational measures.
The INCB, started in 1968 supposedly “to monitor international narcotics laws” but sounding a lot more like the Drug War/corrections industry lobby, said it regrets that “influential personalities, including former high-level politicians in countries in South America, have publicly expressed their support for that movement.”
A group of Latin American experts and former leaders, led by former Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso, last year criticized the U.S.-led War on Drugs in the region.
In their report, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy urged U.S. President Barack Obama to decriminalize marijuana and treat drug use as a public health problem — you know, that “joining the 21st Century” thing.
The INCB’s shrill prohibitionist report “clearly oversteps” the group’s mandate and represents “unwarranted intrusions into these countries’ sovereign decision-making,” according to the Transnational Institute, a policy research organization based in Amsterdam.
“There are too many consumers and small-time drug offenders overcrowding Latin American jails,” said Pien Metaal, a drug policy researcher for Transnational Institute.
“Part of the overcrowding problem stems from disproportionate prison sentences for non-violent offenders,” Metaal said.
According to the United Nations, Latin America supplies most of the world’s cocaine and cannabis and is a major supplier of opium and heroin.
Of course, anyone who’s been paying attention to the U.S. pot scene knows that Mexican marijuana fell out of favor with American consumers as soon as they tasted superior Stateside weed, and Colombian pot hasn’t been a real factor since the late 1970s.