Absolving drug users from arrest and prosecution for drug use and preparatory acts like acquisition, simple possession or cultivation for personal use does not lead to increased drug use, but does significantly lower pressure on law enforcement agencies and on the judicial and penitentiary systems, and it removes barriers for users with problematic patterns of use to approach treatment and harm reduction services.
An e-tool by IDPC
Decriminalisation refers to the repeal of laws and policies that define drug use and/or the possession of drugs for personal use as a criminal offence. The act remains illegal, but sanctions are administrative or abolished entirely. 21 countries and jurisdictions are reported to have decriminalised drug use or possession of drugs for personal use. However, the models of decriminalisation implemented all over the world vary widely. This e-tool, developed by the International Drug Policy Consortium, aims to map out how these models work in practice, describing their legal framework, the role of the police (if any), the judicial or administrative process, the applicable sanction (if any), and examples of countries illustrating each model.
The e-tool enables you to compare the various models of decriminalisation.
UK should adopt the Portuguese system under which people caught using drugs were offered treatment and support rather than being punishedBBC News (UK)
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Two leading public health organisations have called for the possession and personal use of all illegal drugs to be decriminalised in the UK. The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health said the government's approach to drugs policy had failed. There should be a greater focus on treatment and education, they added. The report, Taking A New Line On Drugs, said criminal sanctions failed to deter illegal drug use, undermined people's life chances and could act as a barrier to addicts coming forward for help. (See also: Breaking Good - Times editorial | Leading public health bodies call for decriminalisation of drugs)
Drug Decriminalisation Across the GlobeNiamh Eastwood, Edward Fox & Ari RosmarinRelease
This is the second edition of ‘A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Across the Globe’. The first edition was released in July 2012 and has since been cited by a wide range of organisations and agencies, including: the World Health Organisation, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy. This edition builds on the 2012 publication, providing updates on the jurisdictions originally covered and highlighting a number of new countries that have adopted a non-criminal justice response to the possession of drugs for personal use.READ MORE...
The UNODC paper also suggests low-level dealing should not be criminal offenceBBC News (UK)
Monday, October 19, 2015
A paper from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been withdrawn after pressure from at least one country. The document, which was leaked, recommends to consider "decriminalising drug and possession for personal consumption", arguing "arrest and incarceration are disproportionate measures". The UNODC has been under pressure for some time to make a clear statement regarding decriminalisation. UN agencies including the World Health Organisation and UNAIDS have been explicit in their opposition to drug users facing criminal sanctions on health and human rights grounds. The UNODC says the document is under review.
The Czechs rank among the top cannabis users in EuropeTereza FilipkováTuesday, September 1, 2015
The Czech drug related legislation is quite extensive and includes laws as well as various by-laws. The most important feature of the Czech legislative system is that criminal law does not consider drug use to be a criminal offence. The new Czech Criminal Code introduced a brand new significant feature into the Czech legal system – the differentiation between cannabis and other narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.READ MORE...
Juliana de Oliveira CarlosIDPC Briefing Paper
This briefing paper analyses the impact of drug policy on incarceration in São Paulo (Brazil), based on information collected among 1,040 people caught for having committed a drug-related offence (i.e. arrested in “flagrante delicto”) between 1st April and 30st June 2011. The objective of the research was to use empirical data on those caught in the criminal justice system for drug traffic to demonstrate the fragile distinctions between drug users and traffickers, provide information on how police officers deal with drug-related offences, and analyse how the judiciary effectively responds to these crimes (at least in the initial phases of the criminal justice process).
Download the briefing (PDF)READ MORE...
What happens when states ease up on penalties for possessionPopular Science (US)
Monday, February 2, 2015
The legal landscape for marijuana has never looked this relaxed. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. voted during the recent election season to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Other states reduced the punishments for possessing small amounts of the drug, a move the American Academy of Pediatrics just endorsed. According to polls, more Americans than ever support legalizing cannabis. As legal and public views shift, we thought we'd take a look at the science of decriminalizing drugs.
Drug use did not skyrocket in the years following decriminalizationHungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)Monday, November 26, 2012
In 2001, a small European country, Portugal, took a brave step, changing its drug policies and refocussing its efforts away from arresting and criminalising drug users, towards smart public health interventions. How did the political establishment of a Catholic-Conservative country come to such an agreement about decriminalization? How does the system work? Is it effective?READ MORE...
Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the GlobeAri Rosmarin & Niamh EastwoodRelease
'A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the Globe' is the first report to support Release's campaign 'Drugs - It’s Time for Better Laws'. This report looks at over 20 countries that have adopted some form of decriminalisation of drug possession, including some States that have only decriminalised cannabis possession.
Download the report (PDF)READ MORE...
Hypothesising an alternative: Applying the scientific process to drug policyDavid Nutt's Blog: Evidence not Exaggeration
Friday, June 29, 2012
We should decriminalise the possession of drugs for personal use for the following simple reasons: (1) If users are addicted then they are ill, and criminal sanctions are an inappropriate way to deal with an illness; (2) If they are not addicted then criminalisation will almost always lead to greater harms to the user than the effects of the drug. For example, it can severely limit career options in public service and prevent travel to some countries particularly the USA.
Page 1 of 4