The annual report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy shows widespread support for ending criminal and civil penalties for drug use and possession. Several world leaders are advocating for ending the criminalization of drugs. The report indicates that drug prohibition has had “little or no impact” on drug usage rates.
Drug usage numbers increased by nearly 20-percent between 2006 and 2013, bringing that number to 246-million people globally, according to Independent. Richard Branson and Kofi Annan are on the Global Commission on Drug Policy. The former presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Switzerland are also on the panel.
In the report, warnings regarding drug prohibition increasing incarceration and execution numbers internationally. It also claims that human rights are abused in cases of drug supplying. Portugal was used as an example as to where decriminalization has proven to be successful. Portugal decriminalized drug use a decade and a half ago.
Philippino President Rodrigo Duterte was chastised for his “barbaric actions” allowing the public to execute anyone involved in illegal drug trade. The first 100 days of Duterte’s presidency totaled over 3,600 executions for drug trade participation.
Ruth Dreifuss, Global Commission Drug Policy chair offered a statement saying, “After years of denouncing the dramatic effects of prohibition and the criminalization of people that do no harm but use drugs on the society as a whole, it is time to highlight the benefits of well-designed and well-implemented people centered drug policies.
The statement continued with, “These innovative policies cannot exist as long as we do not discuss, honestly, the major policy error made in the past, which is the criminalization of personal consumption or possession of illicit psychoactive substances in national laws.”
The annual report includes language calling for states to discontinue death penalty sentences for drug-related offenses. The alternative would be offering alternatives to criminal punishments and the exploration of regulatory models for every illicit drug.
The British Medical Journal has also called for legalizing illicit drugs, which is a first for the organization. It argues that the supposed ‘War on Drugs’ has failed. According to the journal, prohibition has not hindered supply/demand, reduced addiction or reduced violence.
Nick Clegg and Molly Meacher are also calling for the Government to reschedule marijuana for medicinal use. These leaders also wish to see a review of the heroin-assisted treatment program policy and an end to criminal punishment for personal possession/use of all drugs.