Tag Archives: decriminalization

The U.S. State Department May Push for Decriminalization of Drugs at UNGASS Convention

 

As reported in High Times, the U.S. State Department seems confident that prohibition may become unhinged at some point in 2016 and lead to the possible decriminalization of all illegal drugs around the globe.

On Tuesday, William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, told reporters that U.S. officials are currently at the drawing board in an attempt to draft an all-powerful piece of documentation — what he calls a “pragmatic reform agenda” — that they intend to present at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs next month in New York City.

Brownfield suggests that the proposed “recommitment” to the international drug conventions would be designed to persuade countries to remove the focus of the Drug War away from arrests and harsh penalties, and instead attack the issue from a public health standpoint.

President Obama has said many times publicly, that “we should decriminalize much of the basic behavior in drug consumption in order to focus law enforcement resources on the greater challenge of the large transnational criminal organizations.”

Major rewrites to the UN’s drug treaties would be necessary before governments could begin exploring new approaches to handling drugs without violating international law.

The details of the Obama Administration’s recommended revisions are not completely clear; however, they may support the philosophies that are in line with the text of the current three major international drug control treaties.

This is a great opportunity for the global community to recognize the realities of drug use in our modern world, and make choices that are more in sync and common-sense related, while prioritizing health issues.

 

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The UN Is Assessing the World’s Drug Problem

 

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An historic opportunity to achieve more humane and effective drug policy is at risk.

The 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem is an initiative that came from sitting presidents of Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico.  The UN General Assembly endorsed the call for an open, honest and evidence-based debate.

The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) will be convening in New York from April 19-21 and is the first such meeting in 18 years.

Since the deliberations began in Vienna in 2015, they have been neither transparent nor inclusive.  In other words, closed doors negotiations ensured that crucial priorities were neglected and outdated policies retained.

It is expected that the outcome of the April meeting will not result in meaningful change; however, there is evidence of ways to put people’s health, safety and human rights first.  These fundamental aspirations cannot be met without:

 Ending the criminalization and incarceration of drug users;

 Abolishing capital punishment for drug-related offenses;

 Empowering the World Health Organization (WHO) to review the scheduling system of drugs on the basis of scientific evidence;

 Ensuring a broad spectrum of treatments for dependent people and services designed to reduce the harms of drugs; and

 Allowing governments to apply different approaches to drug regulation in order to maximize public health, and destroy the power of organized crime.

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[ U. N. image from bingdotcom ]

 

 

 

At 12:01am Today, Marijuana Became Legal in Washington DC

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Our nation’s capital city has come over to the legalization of “pot.”  This is a “huge symbolic conquest” for decriminalizing the use of marijuana in the United States.  Please see article on ReverbPress.

Of course, there are limitations:

“Residents will be allowed to own three plants and possess up to 2 ounces of pot for use at home. Buying and selling, as well as using marijuana in public, will remain illegal.”

The legalization of marijuana in Washington DC came about through a voter-approved initiative.  Mayor Bowser and the city officials could face charges and prison time for pushing this initiative through.  Nearly two-thirds of the voters in DC approved it in November’s election.

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Congress, in its inevitable procrastination wisdom, tried to kill the initiative by trying to ban the funding for regulation of marijuana in the capital city.  But, Congress’ action was too late. The voters had already decided.

“There was a major reason behind the successful referendum to legalize marijuana in DC, and its imminent implementation.”

There is great significance in DC’s actions.  The prohibition and criminalization of marijuana possession affected citizens’ civil rights.  People of color were arrested three times more frequently than whites for possession.

The demand from the voters was so overwhelming, that in comparing the defunding vs the legalization of marijuana, the City Council  decided to not stand in the way of the voters’ wishes.

“Attorney General Eric Holder has presided over the first significant decline in the crime rate and the prison population in decades, and it is time for Washington to consider shutting down the ‘drug war’ machine that systematically ruins the lives of black people.”

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The District of Columbia is the first place east of the Mississippi River where recreational pot is legal. Alaska also legalized pot this week, joining Colorado and Washington state.

Congress still might sue the City and the Justice Department is threatening to prosecute the DC officials … and Congress continues to huff and puff.