The emerging global ‘dissensus’ on drug policy: Seizing the opportunity

The global counternarcotics regime, created and enforced by the United States since the 1950s, now faces profound challenges. An increasing number of countries in Europe and Latin America find that the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to drug use and the suppression of illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. This reaction is hardly uniform throughout the world, however, as critical players such as Russia and China, remain committed to the preservation of the regime’s long-standing punitive approach. Meanwhile, drug policy changes at the national and state level in the United States, including cannabis legalization in some states, are making it increasingly uninteresting, difficult, and inappropriate for it to play the role of the world’s toughest drug cop.

In April 2016, the international community will meet at the United Nations Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016) to consider if and how the world’s drug...

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