The Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies aims to stimulate the debate around legislative reforms by highlighting good practices and lessons learned in areas such as decriminalization, proportionality of sentences, specific harm reduction measures, alternatives to incarceration, and scheduling criteria for different substances. It also aims to encourage a constructive dialogue amongst policy makers, multilateral agencies and civil society in order to shape evidence-based policies that are grounded in the principles of human rights, public health and harm reduction.

  • The development of international drug control

    Lessons learned and strategic challenges for the future
    Martin Jelsma
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 10
    February 2011

    The emergence of more pragmatic and less punitive approaches to the drugs issue may represent the beginning of change in the current global drug control regime. The spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users, the overcrowding of prisons, the reluctance in South America to remain a theatre for military anti-drug operations, and the ineffectiveness of repressive anti-drug efforts to reduce the illicit market have all contributed to the global erosion of support for the United States-style war on drugs.

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  • Cannabis social clubs in Spain

    A normalizing alternative underway
    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 9
    January 2011

    Cannabis social clubs (CSC) are noncommercial organisations of users who get together to cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market. They are based on the fact that the consumption of illegal drugs has never been considered a crime under Spanish legislation. Taking advantage of this grey area, private clubs that produce cannabis for non-profit distribution solely to a closed group of adult members have existed for years.

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  • Cannabis Social Clubs en Espagne

    Une alternative de normalisation en voie de réalisation
    Martin Barriuso Alonso (FAC)
    Série sur la Réforme Législative des Politiques des Drogues No 9
    Janvier 2011

    Les Clubs Sociaux du Cannabis (CSC) sont des associations d’usagers qui s’organisent pour s’auto-approvisionner sans avoir recours au marché noir. Profitant de une zone grise juridique, il existe depuis plusieurs années, des clubs privés qui produisent du cannabis pour le distribuer, sans but lucratif et en circuit fermé, à des consommateurs adultes.

    Télécharger "Cannabis Social Clubs en Espagne" (PDF)

  • Drug Law Reform: Lessons from the New Zealand Experience

    Sanji Gunasekara
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 8
    August 2010

    In 2007, the Government of New Zealand entrusted an independent agency, the National Law Commission, to review the country’s drug law. The Commission will  present a final report which is likely to feature a new approach to personal pos­session and use of drugs placing less emphasis on conviction and punish­ment and more on the delivery of effective treat­­ment. New Zealand’s approach to drug law reform may provide les­sons for other countries.

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  • A Matter of Substance

    Fighting Drug Trafficking With a Substance–Oriented Approach
    Ernestien Jensema
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 7
    July 2010

    This paper discusses the “substance-oriented approach” Dutch authorities implemented to to scare off potential small-scale cocaine smugglers. The focus was on the drugs, rather than the couriers, and on incapacitating the smuggling route, rather than deterrence by incarceration.

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  • Argentina: Reform on the way?

    Graciela Touzé
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 6
    July 2010

    In August 2009, the Argentina Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional legislation that criminalized drug possession for personal consumption. This briefing discusses the background of that decision and the small steps in the right direction that have been taken since, to conclude that there is still much to do before a reform agenda can be implemented.

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  • Sentencing for Drug Offences in England and Wales

    Law Reform without Legislative Reform
    Genevieve Harris
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 5
    June 2010

    Sentencing for drug offences in England and Wales has recently undergone a wide-sweeping review and public consultation. The purpose of this report is to examine and evaluate this mechanism for law reform, without the need for legislative reform, and to consider the specific discussion around sentencing for drug offences which it has led to.

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  • Drug Law Reform in Ecuador

    Building Momentum for a More Effective, Balanced and Realistic Approach
    Sandra Edwards Coletta Youngers
    TNI/WOLA Memo
    May 2010

    In Ecuador, the Correa government’s comprehensive justice sector reform project includes significant changes in drug legislation. The country has one of the most punitive drug laws in the hemisphere. In a perversion of justice, those accused of drug offenses are assumed guilty unless they can prove their innocence, mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines ensure excessively long sentences and arrest quotas have led to the imprisonment of growing numbers of those at the lowest end of the drug trafficking trade.

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  • Prohibition, a backwards step

    The personal dose in Colombia
    Diana Esther Guzmán & Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes
    Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 4
    January 2010

    In December 2009, the Congress in Colombia passed a reform to the 1991 Constitution, which considered the possession and consumption of certain quantities of drugs for personal use legal, to enact constitutional prohibition. This briefing shows the changes that this constitutional amendment entails and evaluates the principle potential consequences.

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  • Mexico: The Law Against Small-Scale Drug Dealing

    A Doubtful Venture
    Jorge Hernández Tinajero & Carlos Zamudio Angles
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 3
    November 2009

    In August 2009, Mexico adopted a new law against small-scale drug dealing, which introduces some significant advances in key subjects, such as the recognising of and distinguishing between user, drug addict and dealer. However it still has significant flaws in continuing to treat demand and supply of drugs as a criminal and market phenomenon that are likely to undermine its successful application.

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