• UN International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development

    Coletta Youngers
    Friday, November 9, 2012

    In November 2011 I was invited by the Thai government to take part in an international delegation to develop a set of UN International Guiding Principles on Alternative Development. Our work began with a five-day journey along the Thai-Burma border to see first-hand the development programs that have been successful in virtually eliminating poppy production in that country. Over 100 government officials and experts from 28 countries visited the Thai “Royal Project,” which has research stations and development projects in five Northern provinces of the country.

  • Taking the initiative on legal marijuana

    Voters in Washington State appear poised to approve legal, regulated marijuana
    John Walsh
    Friday, November 2, 2012

    marijuana_leaf1Two years ago, California’s bid to legalize marijuana—Proposition 19—achieved great notoriety in Latin America, but ultimately fell short at the ballot box. Next Tuesday, voters in the state of Washington appear ready to do what Prop 19’s supporters could not quite achieve—an Election Day victory.

  • Cannabis pass abolished? Not really

    Half-baked compromise in Dutch government coalition agreement continues disastrous coffeeshop policy
    Tom Blickman
    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    The new coalition government of conservative liberals (VVD) and social-democrats (PvdA) presented its coalition agreement on Monday. They agreed to abolish the cannabis pass, but access to coffeeshops remains limited to residents of the Netherlands. Customers need to identify themselves with an identity card or a residence permit together with a certificate of residence. Non-resident foreigners are still banned. In other words, there will be no cannabis pass, but the policy continues.

  • Portugal progresses toward integrated cannabis regulation

    Proposed legislation would authorise growing for personal use and the creation of Cannabis Social Clubs
    Martin Barriuso Alonso
    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    clubes-sociaisIn recent years there has been much talk of the so-called “Portuguese model,” based on an initiative that led to the use of illicit drugs being decriminalised in 2001. In fact, it is often said that Portugal was the first country in Europe to decriminalise drug use de jure, while Spain, for example, took that step de facto for the first time in 1974, except that it was not through a specific law but rather as a result of a Supreme Court ruling.

  • The impact of Alternative Development in Burma and Laos

    A message from the Asia-Europe People’s Forum to the International Conference on Alternative Development
    Ernestien Jensema
    Thursday, October 25, 2012

    aepf9At the Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF) in Vientiane, Laos, from 16 to 19 October 2012, the Transnational Institute (TNI) organised a workshop on alternative development and crop substitution programmes in Northern Burma and Laos. The final declaration of the AEPF should also be looked upon as a helpful guideline for the International Conference on Alternative Development (ICAD) in Peru next month. TNIs Ernestien Jensema attended the workshop and reflects on its outcomes.

  • How International Aid for Drug Enforcement Fuels Human Rights Abuses

    Damon Barrett, Deputy Director of Harm Reduction International
    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    death-penaltyIt is increasingly clear that there is a fundamental lack of oversight of how international aid – provided by the US, Europe and the United Nations to poorer countries – is used to pursue anti-drug efforts. In this article Damon Barrett highlights some of the systematic human rights abuses this aid is facilitating.

  • Amidst deep concern for Thailand's drug policies, some space for open debate

    Ann Fordham, IDPC Executive Director
    Friday, September 28, 2012

    thailand-dialogue-2012On 17th September, 2012, IDPC together with the Transnational Institute (TNI) held a high-level seminar in Bangkok co-hosted with the Thai Ministry of Justice Rights and Liberties Protection Department to discuss and review effective legal frameworks for managing drug-related problems. It was a crucial moment for such a discussion as the Thai government recently announced plans for the mass rehabilitation of up to 400,000 drug users in what essentially amounts to compulsory detention centres run predominantly by the Thai military in their ongoing push to make the country drug-free.

  • The Dutch 2012 election result and the coffeeshops

    The future of the Dutch coffeeshops is in the hands of the liberal-conservative party
    Tom Blickman
    Friday, September 14, 2012

    verkiezingenThe 2012 Dutch elections were hailed as decisive for the future of the coffeeshops, where the sale of small amounts of cannabis is tolerated. The result is inconclusive. The parties in favour of restricting the coffeeshops or outright abolishing them got 77 of the 150 seats, while those against the recently introduced 'cannabis pass' and/or in favour of regulating the supply of cannabis to the coffeeshops got 73. However, the issue is not that straightforward given that in the Netherlands no single party has an absolute majority and a coalition government has to be formed.

  • Far but near: Marijuana reform in Mexico?

    The quest for a new “Mexican approach” to marihuana regulation
    Jorge Hernández Tinajero
    Monday, August 20, 2012

    marihuana.jpgThe world-wide debate over cannabis reform appears to be gaining uncommon speed and unexpectedly it is in Latin America that the winds of change have greatest force. So where is Mexico in this panorama? There are currently eight Bills on the question of marihuana gathering dust in the annals of various parliamentary commissions.

  • Crises and radical thinking on drug policy

    Reform has always been a “two-steps forward, one-step back” undertaking
    Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, director of Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program
    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    It’s sad that drug policy reform must always be wrapped tragedy but alas – in the context of drugs – crisis has historically been the mother of invention. It was in the face of thousands of overdoses and the highest HIV prevalence in Western Europe that Switzerland introduced effective heroin-prescription programmes, safe injection facilities, needle and syringe-exchange programmes and low-threshold methadone services.


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