Modernizing drug law enforcement in Latin AmericaJuan Carlos Garzón VergaraSeries on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies No. 29
Despite efforts by governments in Latin America, illicit drugs continue to provide one of the largest incomes for criminal organizations, enabling them to penetrate and corrupt political and social institutions. Criminal organizations exploit the vulnerabilities of the state and take advantage of governments’ inability to provide security to their citizens. With few exceptions, the weak capacity of Latin American governments is reflected in high rates of homicides, notorious levels of impunity, and the feeling of mistrust that citizens harbour regarding justice institutions and the police.
Download the Briefing (PDF)READ MORE...
Prop 19 and the Growing Debate on Marijuana PolicyJohn WalshWOLA Commentary
October 29, 2010
Registered voters in California will be the ones voting next Tuesday on whether to legalize marijuana under state law. But the ballot initiative in question – Proposition 19 – has sparked debate far beyond the state’s borders. The fate of Prop 19 is being watched especially closely in Latin America, and for good reason. Proximity to the United States – still the world’s major market for illicit drugs – has helped to stimulate robust illicit drug production and distribution networks in the region. And U.S.-backed militarized enforcement to suppress the drug industry, combined with harsh laws to punish drug users, have made the “war on drugs” more than metaphorical in many Latin American countries.
Download the document (PDF)
Second editionInternational Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
This is the second edition of the IDPC Drug Policy Guide aimed at national government policy makers. This publication is a collaborative effort by a number of members of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and partners, and brings together global evidence and best practices on the design and implementation of drug policies and programmes at national level.READ MORE...
Martin JelsmaLatin American Initiative on Drugs and Democracy
This briefing summarizes good practices in legislative reforms around the world, representing steps away from a repressive zero-tolerance model towards a more evidence-based and humane drug policy.
The examples provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches and their impact on levels of drug use and drugrelated harm to the individual and society. Evidence suggests that legislation lessening criminalization combined with shifting resources from law enforcement and incarceration to prevention, treatment and harm reduction is more effective in reducing drug-related problems.
Download the briefing (768 KB)READ MORE...
Time to Revisit Goals and StrategiesJohn WalshStatement before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
October 15, 2009
The growing realization that we and our neighbors in the Americas are not well-served by the status quo U.S. policies presents the opportunity to re-examine old premises and modernize our goals and strategies. Better to make real progress in reducing drug-related harms than to persist with policies that have failed to meet their own basic goals even as they have generated immense collateral damage.READ MORE...
Experiences with alternatives in Europe and the USTom Blickman Martin JelsmaNueva Sociedad No 222
The academic journal Nueva Sociedad recently released an issue to promote the debate in Latin America on drug policy reform. TNI contributed with the article Drug policy reform in practice: Experiences with alternatives in Europe and the US. The article aims to give inputs for the Latin American debate providing an overview of European drug policy practices regarding harm reduction, decriminalization of consumption and possession, and more tolerant policies towards cannabis, particularly in The Netherlands and several states in the US.READ MORE...
Statement by the Latin American Commission on Drugs and DemocracyLatin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy
The statement presents the main findings of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. Prohibitionist policies based on the eradication of production and on the disruption of drug flows as well as on the criminalization of consumption have not yielded the desired results, concludes . We are further than ever from the announced goal of eradicating drugs. Breaking the taboo, acknowledging the failure of current policies and their consequences is the inescapable prerequisite for the discussion of a new paradigm leading to safer, more efficient and humane drug policies.READ MORE...
Trends in the last decade in the European Union and United NationsMartin JelsmaArticle submitted as support material for the First Meeting of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy
Rio de Janeiro, April 30, 2008
Martin Jelsma, from the Transnational Institute, prepared an analysis for the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, explaining the drug policy situation in the European Union and the current state of debate in the United Nations agenda. The commission is an initiative born of former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso, from Brazil, César Gaviria, from Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo, from Mexico, to respond to concerns related to the problems of drug consumption and traffic in Latin America. The idea to constitute a commission capable of consolidating a debate concerning this problematic also responds to the necessity of reviewing the world drug policies in the scope of the United Nations, which began in March 2008.READ MORE...
The cocaine base paste market in the Southern ConeTransnational Institute (TNI)TNI Drugs & Conflict Debate Paper 14
Based on two studies carried out in the cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, this report examines the origin, characteristics and impact of the explosive increase in cocaine base paste in urban areas. It also highlights the variety of products consumed in these cities and the substance known as crack that is consumed in Brazilian cities. The Brazilian experience with this consumption could serve as an example and a lesson for the Southern Cone.
Download the document (PDF)READ MORE...