Thursday, March 20, 2014

Health News

The Global Dope

'International drug policy is possible' says CDPC

Released by the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition/Web photo Donald MacPherson


reetings from Vienna, where we’re attending the UN’s annual meeting on global drug issues, known as CND – the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. As part of a vibrant NGO community we’re encouraging country delegations to open a formal dialogue to modernize the global response to the consumption, production and selling of currently illegal substances.

You’re likely particularly interested in Canada’s contribution to that dialogue – after all, the Canadian delegates are representing you! We are too, and so we developed a list of recommendations for the delegation in collaboration with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

Read our recommendations here.

Big UN conferences aren’t necessarily the most riveting events, but this year there’s excitement in the hallways, with the real possibility of reform as a growing number of countries acknowledge the failings of the international system of drug control. 
This point is underscored by some recent historic developments:

• CDPC played a key role in the “gamechanging” Organization of American States (OAS) report Scenarios for the Drug Problem in the Americas. This was the fist time a multilateral governmental organization opened the discussion on the existing drug policy status quo, and considered alternative approaches. 

• Uruguay and two US states moved to implement a legal regulated market for adult use of cannabis, a long overdue reform. The world is watching as these jurisdictions set out to chart a new path to regulate cannabis within a public health framework. 

• In late 2012 the presidents of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia successfully convinced the UN to hold a General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drug Policy for 2016. This session has the potential to be a watershed moment for global drug policy and we and our partners are working hard to mobilize resources and influence the outcomes of the meeting. 

• At this year’s CND, for the first time, there are vocal dissenters to the prohibition status quo. Colombia, Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador continue to openly call for revisions to the drug conventions. Traditional US intransigence has eroded thanks to the fact that 2 of its states – with more undoubtedly to follow – have legalized cannabis use. Other nations are appealing for “dialogue” – a seemingly innocuous suggestion that’s paramount to heresy in the context of the CND. 

Essentially, there are a growing number of country delegations calling for drug policy reform. Between now and UNGASS in 2016, the Canadian government delegation will have plenty of opportunity to add it’s voice to the discussion.

And we have a voice too, to complement our government’s official position. With your support you can continue to ensure Canadian civil society representation at these important meetings. 

Follow our updates from Vienna on Facebook and Twitter, or see what others are saying at the CND blog and by following #CND2014.


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