United Nations Argues for Decriminalization

Posted in:

Despite opening with an attack on legalization, the UN's new World Drug Report 2009 is refreshingly candid about the limitations of the criminal justice approach to drug use. Ryan Grim at Huffington Post notes that the report praises Portugal's decriminalization policy, which is remarkable considering that the UN had previously "suggested the policy was in violation of international drug treaties and would encourage 'drug tourism.'"

Attitudes are beginning to change at the UN, as this passage from the report clearly illustrates:


At times, drug possession can serve as a pretext to detain an otherwise dangerous or suspect individual, but otherwise, the law must allow for non-custodial alternatives when a police officer stumbles upon small amounts of drugs. It is important that the incident be documented and the opportunity availed to direct the user to treatment if required, but it is rarely beneficial to expend limited prison space on such offenders. According to surveys, between a quarter and a half of the population of many countries in Europe and North America has been in possession of illicit drugs at one time or another in their lives. Most remained productive citizens. In only a small share of these cases would arrest, and the lifelong stigma it brings, have been appropriate.

Yes! Stop arresting people for drugs. Good call, guys. This is a pretty straightforward endorsement of decriminalization, and it's exciting to hear this kind of rhetoric coming from the United Nations. Decriminalization won't solve many of the worst consequences of the war on drugs, but ending prohibition is impossible without first establishing a consensus that arresting drug users is bad policy. It looks like this concept is beginning to sink in.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?

PROGRESS

Any and all movement in the right direction is a very good thing. People who abuse drugs are not bad people, they are sick people, and should get the care and treatment they need. People who use drugs are not bad people either, and should be left alone as long as their conduct does not violate the rightful freedom and liberty of others. God wants people to live in freedom with liberty. Prohibitionists want to run other people's lives, in violation of God's will.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School