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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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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Posted in addiction, Drugs, International, Marijuana
Tagged addiction, advocacy, cartels, decriminalization, drug regulation, Drugs, incarceration, medical marijuana, public health, United Nations
LET THE SUN SHINE THROUGH!!
Earth Day Celebration
Earth Day is an annual event, celebrated on April 22, on which events are held worldwide to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.
In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be celebrated on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. This was later sanctioned in a Proclamation written by McConnell and signed by Secretary General U Thant at the United Nations.
A month later, a separate Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970. Nelson was later awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in recognition of his work.
Earth Day is Worldwide
While this April 22 Earth Day was focused on the United States, an organization launched by Denis Hayes, who was the original national coordinator in 1970, took it international in 1990 and organized events in 141 nations.
Numerous communities celebrate Earth Week, with an entire week of activities focused on environmental issues.
We Mean Green
The First U. S. Earth Day in April 1970
It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it.
How was that possible? Because there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.
In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day as a way to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked!
In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Download a pdf 12-page coloring book for children so they can appreciate Earth Day and how to help keep our neighborhoods clean.
Credits: epa dot gov; wikipedia; bing dot com