THE ENCOD BULLETIN ON DRUG POLICY IN EUROPE
NR. 39 MARCH 2008
A CLEAR HEAD
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On behalf of ENCOD, the following message will be presented to the delegates at the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs that will be held from Monday 10 to Friday 14 March 2008, in Vienna.
A CLEAR HEAD, PLEASE
The purpose of this meeting is to evaluate the results of a ten year strategy that was decided upon in New York in 1998, a strategy whose goal was “to eliminate or significantly reduce the illicit manufacture, marketing and trafficking of psychotropic substances”.
On this meeting, UNODC’s Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa will present the following results to you:
“global illicit opium poppy production has reached 8.800 tons in 2007, which is double the amount produced in 1998.”
“global cocaine production stood at 984 tons in 2006, an increase of over 19% since 1998.”
“approximately 42.000 tons of cannabis herb were produced in 2005, an increase of 40 % compared to 1998.”
“global demand for illegal drugs has stagnated in the cases of coca and opium derivatives while it has increased in the case of cannabis and amphetamines.”
Meanwhile, in the past 10 years, drug prohibition has led to the further marginalisation of drugs consumers and of farmers who cultivate prohibited plants, as well as other poor sectors of society who are involved in the production and trade of illicit drugs.
We wish you and all governments’ delegates in the CND meeting a clear head. You will have the opportunity to make a historical contribution to improve the living standards for millions of people, and at the same time attack the main income source of organised crime.
The past ten years have shown – again - that drug prohibition is a costly, ineffective and counterproductive affair. It maximises the burden for those with little or no participation in the drug market, while it has no measurable impact on the global size of this market at all. In fact, drug prohibition increases the size and negative repercussions of this market.
According to UN estimates, the worldwide market for illegal drugs puts 400 to 500 billion euros into the pockets of criminal organisations each year. Since production costs represent less than 1 % of the street price, the net profit to the drugs industry can be estimated to be approximately 10.000 euro per second. The income of the criminal organisations that are active in the drug trade exceeds the GNP of many nations.
The time is ripe for non-repressive strategies in drug policy that do not threaten the livelihood of peasants in developing countries, do not damage the health of consumers and do respect the rights of citizens, such as the right to grow and use natural plants for personal consumption. Strategies should be implemented that would create legal means for the production and use of hemp/cannabis, opium and coca, plants that have served humanity for thousands of years.
It is obvious that only the regulation of drugs production and trade within a legal framework will take the control of the drugs market out of the hands of the criminal organisations.
We ask you and all government delegates at the CND to change the course of history by bringing an end to prohibition as the fundamental basis of international drug legislation.
With kind regards,
European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies