Global call for ending the drug war

Former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland, Prime Minister of Greece, Kofi Annan, George Shultz and Paul Volcker Call for Paradigm Shift in Global Drug Policy

The Global Commission on Drug Policy will host a live press conference and teleconference on Thursday, June 2 at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City to launch a new report that describes the drug war as a failure and calls for a paradigm shift in global drug policy.

The Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders who have ever called for such far-reaching changes in the way society deals with illicit drugs – such as decriminalization and urging countries to experiment with legal regulation. The Executive Director of the global advocacy organization AVAAZ, with its nine million members worldwide, will present a public petition in support of the Global Commission’s recommendations that will be given to the United Nations Secretary General.

This is very big stuff, if for no other reason than the fact that a group this distinguished can generate significant press coverage and get huge mainstream cred.

If you haven’t signed the petition yet, you can still do so before the press event on Thursday.

There’s a legitimate tendency to be a little pissed about the fact that it seems to take leaving office to see the light (or to have the guts to say so), but our ire does no good aimed at those who are now doing their part. It’s more appropriately targeted at those in office now.

That’s exactly what Mary Ann Seighart does in this excellent OpEd in The Independent: A ‘war’ we should fight no longer.

Before he was President, Obama called the war on drugs an “utter failure” and said we should think about decriminalising cannabis. Before he was Prime Minister, Cameron said Britain’s drug policy was an “abject failure” and called for a debate on legalisation of all drugs. Now that they’re in power, though, both men have had an utter and abject failure of nerve. They agree with the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker, who once said, in this context: “We know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”

They are not just craven but wrong. For, inexorably, the momentum is building for a more rational way of dealing with drugs. And it’s not only because baby-boomers and their successor generations now make up three-quarters of voters. The big hitters are onside too. This week, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will publish a report in New York calling for a “paradigm shift” in the way we deal with drugs. It will advocate not just decriminalisation, but also experiments with legalisation and regulation. Its cast list of backers is stellar. [...]

There must be a better way, and Obama and Cameron know it. If they’re serious about representing a new generation, they should stop bragging about their youth and start doing something about it. Those of us who also came of age in the 1980s don’t want to wait till they’re ex-leaders serving on a drugs policy commission.

On the other hand, you have this extremely ignorant screed attempting to preempt the Global Drug Policy announcement:

Should former presidents, prime ministers, economists and the business community decide drugs policy? NO! from the World Federation Against Drugs:

This is what happens when the legalisation movement teams up with strong financial interests pushing the agenda via normalisation, harm reduction, in order to finally reach their goal – legalisation of drugs. Pushing for a health approach is just part of the plan, the idea being that nobody is expected to be against a health approach or harm reduction.

There is every reason to be critical of this so-called “health approach”. To facilitate access to drugs has nothing to do with a “health approach” or harm reduction. It is rather harm production.

Furthermore one might ask – What do former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community really know about drug addiction?

Well, morons, it’s not about drug addiction, it’s about drug war and drug prohibition policy, and former presidents, prime ministers, economists and members of the business community actually might know something about policy.

And “financial interests for legalisation”? Really? You might want to talk to your board members Robert DuPont and Calvina Fay about their financial interests in prohibition. Those are a couple of folks who know about “harm production.” They’ve been responsible for a whole lot of that in this world.

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