NGO Sign-On Letter to President Obama for UNGASS, (March 10, 2016)
This letter is endorsed by over 250 organizations, including some of the leading organizations in civil rights, HIV/AIDS, faith-based organizing, criminal justice and drug policy reform, reentry for the formerly incarcerated, human rights, civil liberties, and many others. It asks President Obama to seek bolder reforms and take longer-term approaches at the "UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem," the UN's highest-level drug policy session since 1998, taking place at UN headquarters in New York from April 19-21. The letter is being transmitted to the White House, the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the State Department on March 10, 2016.
Our coalition continues to circulate an ongoing sign-on statement for NGOs and businesses for UNGASS, different from the letter linked above. The statement, a Spanish translation, and accompanying references and other info to help your board or decision makers evaluate it, are linked below. Please email David Borden at
Our coalition is pressing for a range of reforms to international drug policy, including the prioritizing of human rights, public health, economic development, access to medicines, security, and the revision of the UN drug control conventions to eliminate the conflict that has emerged between treaty language and legalization of marijuana or other drugs in UN member states.
The statement linked here is signed by nearly 350 organizations, including major ones like the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and AIDS United. It argues that in cases of irreconcilable conflict, nations' obligations under the human rights treaties, which are enshrined as fundamental in the United Nations Charter, take precedence over provisions of the drug control treaties. The statement calls for a range of improvements to policies; for the UN to appoint a "Committee of Experts" to study the topic of drug treaty reform; and calls on the Obama administration to harmonize its foreign policy on drugs with its domestic policies by providing leadership at the UN to make that happen.
We look to the April 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS), and we will continue to accept signatories for this statement through that time. To endorse it, please email David Borden at firstname.lastname@example.org with your organization's name, a sentence indicating that the organization endorses the sign-on statement, and your position within the organization.
Note that we have also circulated a sign-on letter opposing the death penalty for drug convictions. Information on this appears below.
Statement of the Ad Hoc US Coalition for Global Drug Policy Reform, with signatories as of April 19, 2016
Spanish translation of statement (courtesy WOLA)
Spanish translation of backgrounder (courtesy WOLA)
News Release: Major Groups Call for UN to Respect Countries That Legalize Marijuana or Other Drugs (May 5, 2015)
Spanish translation of news release (courtesy WOLA)
WashingtonPost.com (May 5, 2015)
The Hill (May 5, 2015)
Huffington Post (May 6, 2015)
Daily Caller (May 6, 2015)
The Hill (May 6, 2015)
Common Dreams (May 7, 2015)
Marijuana.com (May 7, 2015)
Hemp.org (May 7, 2015)
Whaxy (May 7, 2015)
Sydney Morning Herald (May 10, 2015)
The Fix (May 27, 2015)
additional resources to follow