World Leaders Beg Nations to Legalize Drug Use and Regulate Its Production

Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele
Rob Vallela of Denver smokes as thousands gather to celebrate Colorado’s medicinal-marijuana laws and collectively light up at 4:20 p.m. on April 20, 2012, in Denver’s Civic Center Park. 
Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

American liberals who have been imploring policymakers to put a stop to the nation’s war on drugs should be happy to know that several world leaders have backed a new report advocating for the same thing on a global level.

The report, “Take Control: Pathway to Drug Policies That Work,” argues that nations should consider decriminalizing drug use and regulating (and thereby legalizing) the production of heroin and other psychoactive substances, Al-Jazeera reports.


Supporters argue that these measures would reduce the number of drug-trade-related deaths and international crimes linked to drug trafficking, the commission maintains.

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan; George Shultz, U.S. secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan; and former presidents in Latin America back the initiative and form the basis of the Global Commission on Drugs, which released the report. 


“Punitive drug laws, the commission says, must be replaced by public health principles and a focus on human rights. Treat drug users as patients, not criminals, its members say, and counter drug traffickers by regulating illegal drug markets and slicing into the money—and power—generated by drug syndicates, which the United Nations estimates rake in $330 billion a year,” Al-Jazeera explained.

The campaign that calls for the U.S. federal government to legalize marijuana is attracting growing interest on the international stage.


“The call for experimentation with regulation is just common sense, given the failures of the current one-size-fits-all approach,” John Collins, coordinator of the London School of Economics’ IDEAS (International Drug Policy Project), told Al-Jazeera. “It’s clear that the old approach is politically unsustainable as member states such as the U.S. and Uruguay move ahead with new models of regulation around cannabis.”  

The commission says that it now has empirical evidence to back the thesis that regulation and treating drug use as a health issue, as opposed to a criminal one, is already working in many nations.


“From the decriminalization models in Europe to the medical cannabis market in the U.S. … reform has proven to be more effective than prohibition in terms of reducing the overall harms associated with the drug phenomena,” Lisa Sánchez, coordinator of drug policies at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said.

Read more at Al-Jazeera.

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