A global commission that consists of eminent personalities have called, and released a report titled “Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work” that aims to legalize and regulate drug use, as well as pardon drug users for taking drugs.

The commission is made up of persons like Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland; Asma Jahangir, human rights activist and former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan; Carlos Fuentes, writer and public intellectual, Mexico – in memoriam; César Gaviria, former President of Colômbia; Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former President of Brazil (chair); George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece; George Shultz, former Secretary of State, United States (honorary chair); Javier Solana, former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain; John Whitehead, banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial, United States; Jorge Sampaio, former President of Portugal; Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ghana.

Others are Louise Arbour, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and president of the International Crisis Group, Canada; Maria Cattaui, former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland; Mario Vargas Llosa, writer and public intellectual, Peru; Michel Kazatchkine, professor of medicine, and former executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board, US; Pavel Bém, former Mayor of Prague, and member of the Parliament, Czech Republic; Ricardo Lagos, former president of Chile; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, and co-founder of The Elders, United Kingdom; Ruth Dreifuss, former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs; Thorvald Stoltenberg, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway.

The full recommendations contained in their given report are as summarized as follows:

  • Putting health and community safety first requires a fundamental reorientation of policy priorities and resources, from failed punitive enforcement to proven health and social interventions.
  • Stop criminalizing people for drug use and possession – and stop imposing “compulsory treatment” on people whose only offense is drug use or possession.
  • Focus on reducing the power of criminal organizations as well as the violence and insecurity that result from their competition with both one another and the state.
  • Ensure equitable access to essential medicines, in particular opiate-based medications for pain.
  • Rely on alternatives to incarceration for non-violent, low-level participants in illicit drug markets such as farmers, couriers and others involved in the production, transport and sale of illicit drugs.
  • Allow and encourage diverse experiments in legally regulating markets in currently illicit drugs, beginning with but not limited to cannabis, coca leaf and certain novel psychoactive substances.

With the call to decriminalize all forms of drug use and experiment with legalization of drug use, do you think there will be a positive side to this?

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