Consensus is growing that the prohibition on production, supply, and use of certain drugs has not only failed to deliver its intended goals but has been counterproductive. Evidence is mounting that this policy has not only exacerbated many public health problems, but has created a much larger set of social harms associated with the criminal market such as violence, corruption, organised crime, and endemic violence related to the drug market.

  • Infographic: How will Uruguay's regulation of cannabis work?

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    On December 10, 2013, the General Assembly of Uruguay approved a law that made the country the first one in the world to fully regulate the cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis for medical, industrial as well as recreational purposes. This infographic gives a short overview of the main aspects of the new law.

  • Infographic: Why is Uruguay regulating; not criminalising cannabis?

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    Tuesday, December 10, 2013

    "The approval of regulation under state control in Uruguay marks a tipping point in the failed war against drugs. The trend is becoming irreversible: the era of a globally enforced cannabis prohibition regime is drawing to a close," says Martin Jelsma in a press release welcoming the approval of the law on December 10, 2013. The new law makes Uruguay the first country in the world to fully regulate the cultivation, trade and consumption of cannabis for medical, industrial as well as recreational purposes. This infographic gives a quick summary of the reasons why Uruguay is regulating cannabis.

  • New Zealand’s psychoactive substances legislation

    Catherine McCullough, Jackson Wood and Rob Zorn
    IDPC/NZDF Briefing Paper
    September 2013

    On 11 July 2013, the New Zealand Parliament passed the Psychoactive Substances Act. The legislation enacted a new legal framework for the testing, manufacture, sale, and regulation of psychoactive products with the responsibility on manufacturers to prove a product 'low risk before it could be sold.' The expectation is that the adoption of new modern drug policies will ensure that the drugs people do take are safe, and that help can be accessed easily for those who need it. If the New Zealand approach is successful, other countries might follow lead, or even improve on what has been have done so far.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

  • Breaking the Silence

    Cannabis prohibition, organized crime and gang violence in British Columbia
    Report prepared by the Stop the Violence BC Coalition
    October 2011

    This brief report outlines the links between cannabis prohibition in British Columbia (Canada) and the growth of organized crime and related violence in the province, and is the first report of a coalition of concerned citizens and experts known as Stop the Violence BC. The report also defines the public health concept “regulation” and seeks to set the stage for a much needed public conversation and action on the part of BC politicians.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

  • Taking Drugs Seriously

    A Demos and UK Drug Policy Commission report on legal highs
    Jonathan Birdwell, Jake Chapman & Nicola Singleton
    May 2011

    Since first coming to public prominence at the end of 2009, legal highs have posed a major challenge to existing legal and legislative structures designed to deal with drugs. With the market in manufactured psychoactive substances like mephedrone moving faster than public policy can accommodate, this report asks whether the assumptions enshrined in the 40-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA) are still valid when applied 21st century drugs market.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

  • Controlling and Regulating Drugs

    A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975.
    New Zealand Law Commission
    April 2011

    The New Zealand Law Commission was asked to address the efficacy of the Misuse of Drugs Act in reducing the demand for, and supply of, drugs prohibited under the International Drug Conventions. The Commission has recommended the existing Act be repealed and replaced by a new Act administered by the Ministry of Health. Justice Hammond said the thrust of the proposed new Act is to facilitate a more effective interface between the criminal justice and health sectors: “We need to recognise that the abuse of drugs is both a health and a criminal public policy problem.”

    application-pdfControlling and Regulating Drugs: A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 - Part 1
    application-pdfControlling and Regulating Drugs: A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975 - Part 2

  • Options for regulating new psychoactive drugs

    A review of recent experiences
    Peter Reuter
    UK Drug Policy Commission (UKDPC)
    May 2011

    This paper is intended to provide the basis for a discussion of policy options in dealing with new psychoactive substances that show signs of popularity and of harmfulness within a wider project being undertaken by the UK Drug Policy Commission and Demos, the outcomes of which are presented in Taking Drugs Seriously: a Demos and UK Drug Policy Commission report on legal highs (Birdwell et al., 2011).

    application-pdfDownload the paper (PDF)

  • Cannabis social clubs in Spain

    A normalizing alternative underway
    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 9
    January 2011

    Cannabis social clubs (CSC) are noncommercial organisations of users who get together to cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market. They are based on the fact that the consumption of illegal drugs has never been considered a crime under Spanish legislation. Taking advantage of this grey area, private clubs that produce cannabis for non-profit distribution solely to a closed group of adult members have existed for years.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (190 KB)

  • Non-residents in the Netherlands and access to coffee-shops

    The restriction is justified by the objective of combating drug tourism and the accompanying public nuisance
    Court of Justice of the European Union
    December 16, 2010

    Under the 1976 Law on opium (Opiumwet 1976), the possession, dealing, cultivation, transportation, production, import and export of narcotic drugs, including cannabis and its derivatives, are prohibited in the Netherlands. That Member State applies a policy of tolerance with regard to cannabis. That policy is reflected inter alia in the establishment of coffee-shops, the main activities of which are the sale and consumption of that ‘soft’ drug. The local authorities may authorise such establishments in compliance with certain criteria. In a number of coffee-shops, non-alcoholic beverages and food are also sold.

  • All Eyes on California

    Prop 19 and the Growing Debate on Marijuana Policy
    John Walsh
    WOLA Commentary
    October 29, 2010

    Registered voters in California will be the ones voting next Tuesday on whether to legalize marijuana under state law.  But the ballot initiative in question – Proposition 19 – has sparked debate far beyond the state’s borders. The fate of Prop 19 is being watched especially closely in Latin America, and for good reason.  Proximity to the United States – still the world’s major market for illicit drugs – has helped to stimulate robust illicit drug production and distribution networks in the region.  And U.S.-backed militarized enforcement to suppress the drug industry, combined with harsh laws to punish drug users, have made the “war on drugs” more than metaphorical in many Latin American countries. 

    application-pdfDownload the document (PDF)

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