The Global Commission on Drug Policy is kind of like the drug equivalent of the IMF. Except it doesn’t actually affect policy, it just makes recommendations. So in that regard it might be more like the UN. At any rate, it’s the highest international authority on drugs and the political/ socio-ecomic impact of their criminal status.
The diverse Commission includes present and former presidents, prime ministers and heads of state, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and British business tycoon Richard Branson.
Reuters reports that the Commission issued a study on international drug activity today that declared: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.” Rather than the current approach to drugs, which is a two-headed monster of incarcerating users and battling cartel suppliers, the Commission calls to alter the dynamic fundamentally by decriminalizing drugs altogether.
“This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation,” the report says.
The move comes amid a more than year-long push for marijuana legalization efforts in America, and news that it may be fully decriminalized in Canada by July. “Now is the time to break the taboo on discussion of all drug policy options, including alternatives to drug prohibition,” one Commission member said.
As Reuters points out, there are over 250 million users of illicit drugs, with less than 10% dependency rate. Trying to catch and jail users and suppliers is an endless cat-and-mouse game that drains government resources with no hope of reducing drug use. A better approach for both governments and individuals, the report argues, is to legalize and regulate the substances, therefore eliminating the criminal underworld and the resources needed to fight it.
The Commission’s solution to the failed War on Drugs: “Replace the criminalization and punishment of people who are drug users but do not hurt other people with the offer of health and treatment services to those who need them.”
Looks like it’s time to stock up at the Wal-Mart of Weed—coming soon to a town near you.