The Global Commission on Drug Policy recently put out a report asking the whole world to be more lenient with its handling of illegal substances. In other words: Do not mess with drug possessions. The commission is composed of world leaders, intellectuals, and business folks. They are an independent body and including Kofi Anan, the former head of the UN; George Schultz, the former U.S. secretary of state under Reagan; Richard Branson, the UK billionaire and the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa.

In a report titled “Advancing Drug Policy Reform: A New Approach to Drug Decriminalization,” the commission, suggests to end criminal and civil penalties for small time drug possession and bring an end to the death penalty for all drug-related crimes. As opposed to prior reports from the commission; who fought for decriminalization by arguing that it is better than the alternative boot-in-the-ass standard, recent reports argue that misdemeanor drug possession charges should not exist.

The report states, “The Commission believes that for the principle of human dignity and the rule of law to be firmly upheld, there must be no penalty whatsoever imposed for low-level possession and/or consumption offenses.”

The report further states that the heat should be removed from people who use illegal drugs and also for people who are not violent, but participate in the black market drug trade due to the fact that many of these people are simply engaged “to alleviate their severe socio-economic marginalization.” It is the commission’s suggestion that illegal growers, small-time drug dealers and transporters with no history of violence should not be given civil penalties.

Various jurisdictions around the world have put decriminalization measures in place, but the commission said the governments are doing it wrong. They are imposing civil fines; therefore, classifying the issue of drug possession as wrong rather than treating as a national health crisis.

As per the report, complete decriminalization, (removing fines and other civil punishments) “must be the policy that countries strive to implement when reforming their drug laws.”

The Global Commission on Drug Policy suggests the following changes be put in place worldwide:
States must abolish the death penalty for all drug-related offenses. States must end all penalties—both criminal and civil—for drug possession for personal use, and the cultivation of drugs for personal consumption.

States must implement alternatives to punishment for all low-level, non-violent actors in the drug trade.
UN member states must remove the penalization of drug possession as a treaty obligation under the international drug control system. States must eventually explore regulatory models for all illicit drugs and acknowledge this to be the logical next step in drug policy reform following decriminalization.

“At the global, regional or local levels, drug policies are evolving,” said César Gaviria, former president of Columbia, who serves as a member of the Commission. “However, in order to build solid and effective policies to mitigate the harms of the last 60 years of wrong policies, and to prepare for a better future where drugs are controlled more effectively, we need to implement the full and non-discretionary decriminalization of personal use and possession of drugs.”

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