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Ex-World Leaders Form Global Drug Policy Commission

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #668)
Politics & Advocacy

A group of world political leaders, intellectuals, and businessman Richard Branson have formed a Global Commission on Drug Policies in a bid to boost the effort to achieve more humane and rational drug laws. The commission is headed by former Brazilian President Henrique Cardoso and builds on the work Cardoso and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo and former Colombian President Cesar Gaviria did with the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy.

Latin America Commission panel, 2009, President Gaviria on left (courtesy
The commission's goals include reviewing the basic assumptions, effectiveness and consequences of the 'war on drugs' approach; evaluating the risks and benefits of different national responses to the drug problem; and developing actionable, evidence-based recommendations for constructive legal and drug policy reform. The commission will issue a report in six months.

The commission will examine the current international drug control regime, conduct a global overview of drug policies and laws, examine the drug production and supply chain, address criminal justice challenges, study the lessons learned from harm reduction, treatment, and prevention campaigns, and examine the economic and political ramifications of the massive illicit global drug trade.

In addition to the three Latin American ex-presidents, commission members include former US Secretary of State George Schulz, writers Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, former European Union official Javier Solana, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, and former UN High Commissioner for Refugees Thorvald Stoltenberg.

"There is a growing perception that the "war on drugs" approach has failed," the commission said in a statement as it announced its existence in Geneva this week. "Eradication of production and criminalization of consumption did not reduce drug traffic and drug use," the commission said.

The harm from corruption and violence resulting from prohibition "largely exceeds the harm caused by drugs," the statement says.

We will be looking forward to seeing the commission's report this summer. The report from the Latin American Commission helped stir debate and advance the cause of reform, and this should, too.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Todd Peterson (not verified)

The evil done in the name of "justice" is beyond description. Countries like the USA talk about "freedom" but send millions to prison - many for life- for the pursuit of happiness ( however misguided it may be).
Thu, 01/27/2011 - 2:55am Permalink
Gart (not verified)

It is not clear to me, yet, what the scope of the Global Commission on Drug Policies is, whether it has real teeth or is just another initiative launch to grab the headlines of news agencies around the world, but with very few achievements to show. I would like to know how this new Commission relates to other bodies in which the ex-Brazilian president Fernando Henriques Cardoso has a prominent participation, for instance, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. I do hope it is not just window dressing. There is too much at stake to play charades!

Gart Valenc

Thu, 01/27/2011 - 6:00am Permalink

This "growing perception" was CLEARLY EVIDENT years ago. It is the insanity so often described by social scientists who look at the hypothesis, design the models to test the hypothesis, publish the results, repeat the results with near 100% agreement on the result and action deferred because of politics.

"There is a growing perceptio...n that the "war on drugs" approach has
failed," the commission said in a stateme
Fri, 01/28/2011 - 2:16pm Permalink

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