Global: At Davos, a Drug Policy Tipping Point? / Robert Muggah and Ilona Szabo de Carvalho

Against a backdrop of furtive networking and tinkling champagne glasses at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, something truly remarkable happened. In a packed convention hall, four global leaders gathered on stage to debate the future of drug policy. For more than an hour they discussed the pros and cons of decriminalization and regulation, bringing a once politically toxic issue into the veritable heart of the economic establishment. The mood was relaxed, but the commentary was intensely focused. At least five take-away messages are worth singling out.

First, focus on the destructive and devastating effects of misguided (drug) policy on people. Former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke passionately about the ruinous impacts of the global war on drugs. He called for an updated approach based on promoting public health and education. The criminalization of small-time users, particularly poor African Americans and Latinos, is intolerable. Annan described how lives are destroyed, families are impoverished, prisons are packed to bursting point, and development is denied by wrong-headed efforts to crack down on drugs. SEE  MORE…

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