United Nations

A groundbreaking new report produced by a coalition of legal and drug policy experts offers strategies for countries exploring regulatory approaches to cannabis to do so in ways that ensure that their domestic reforms align with their international legal obligations.
“The Special Rapporteur recommends that Governments seek alternatives to punitive or repressive drug control policies, including decriminalization and legal regulation and control, and nurture the international debate on these issues, within which the right to health must remain central.”
For the people who have invested so much hope in this week’s UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, the official agreement it produced – the “outcome document” – represents a shocking betrayal.
Judging by its contribution to the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs, the UK has a long way to go if it's to catch up with progressive reform countries like Canada.
“Diplomacy or denialism? The language that the UNGASS Outcome Document overlooked” highlights just a small selection of the strong, progressive and evidence-based language on issues that are overlooked or insufficiently reflected in the Outcome Document. All of this language was on the table during the negotiations – submitted by member states, regional bodies, UN agencies and others.
Russia’s intransigence at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs last month highlights just how far we have to go before the UN debate catches up with recent real-world evolutions in drug policy, and the accompanying debate taking place among the public, media and civil society.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has responded to the ‘leak’ of its briefing paper calling for the decriminalisation of drug possession for personal use. Before considering this response, it’s important to be clear this wasn’t really a ‘leak’ in the classic sense. The document was to be presented by the UNODC at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur, and an embargoed copy had already gone to select media (the norm for such publication events).
As reported by the BBC, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the agency that has overseen the global drug war for 50 years, has been blocked from announcing its momentous new position – that all countries should decriminalise the possession of drugs for personal use.
We urge you to use these quotes to hold politicians account. If you hear or read that they’re disputing the evidence on decriminalisation, or arguing that it’s a fringe position, ask them what secret knowledge they're privy to that these experts are apparently not.
The three pillars of the UN are: peace and security, development and human rights - and all three are undermined by ‘securitising’ drugs; by treating drugs as an existential threat to the health and welfare of humankind, a threat that must be tackled through the use of extraordinary measures.