Pubdate: Wed, 22 May 2013
Source: Business Day (South Africa)
Copyright: 2013 Business Day.
Note: Financial Times


IN THE "war on drugs", drugs seem to be winning. As the approach to 
global drug policy is characterised by prohibition, to many it seems 
obvious that the only way forward is to substitute it with policies 
sometimes referred to as "legalisation" combined with "public health".

If legalisation was a "magic bullet", it would have been used years 
ago. A more nuanced and evidence-based approach is required. This has 
now been provided by the Organisation for American States in a study 
that explores a range of drug policy options for the hemisphere.

Prompted by Latin American governments that have long chafed about 
the violence they suffer in fighting drug traffickers, the report 
gathers many of the facts that have shaped global drug policy and 
explores the multiple scenarios if different policies are applied.

This is the first time that a multilateral organisation has included 
decriminalisation and legalisation as potential options. But this is 
only reasonably considered for cannabis. Support for the legalisation 
of cocaine is nonexistent. Rather the report's main use is that it 
helps to lift the prohibition on discussing drug policy, a ban 
prevalent among officials and bureaucrats who have spent their lives 
combating illegal drugs. London, May 21
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