ENCOD, European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, proposes the following line of reasoning for the debate on drug regulation.
(an earlier version of these 10 points was published in the Encod Bulletin nr. 62 of April 2010)
This proposal will be discussed at the Encod General Assembly 2010 in Frankfurt
1. Drug prohibition should be recognized as a violation of human rights. Drug use entails real health risks. These risks are of a nature that requires a “soft paternalistic” legal regulatory approach. Prohibition is an unjust and unnecessarily hard approach, which leaves drug regulation to the mobs.
2. The international drug conventions never had any scientific basis. Their central assumption is that prohibition will significantly diminish drug use and the trade in “controlled” substances.
3. It has become abundantly clear that this assumption is false. Levels of drug use and addiction have no or a negligible relationship to the intensity of repression and to government policies in general. The “Report on Global Illicit Drug Markets 1998 – 2007” edited by Peter Reuter and Franz Trautmann has shown this again.
(This report was published by the European Commission in March 2009. Since then, nothing has been done with this report, except for a public hearing organized by Michail Tremopoulos, Member of European Parliament from Greece for GREENS/EFA, together with Encod.)
4. An important conclusion can be drawn from this. There is no need to fear an explosion of drug use after regulation of the drug markets. Experiences in the Netherlands (with decriminalized access to cannabis) and in Portugal (with general decriminalization of use and possession for personal use) have confirmed this.
5. Drug prohibition caused and continues to cause enormous harm on a global scale, while no or negligible positive results have been achieved.
6. Efforts to liberalize national drug laws are systematically blocked by referring to the international drug conventions. The application of international drug prohibition is usually legitimized by an alleged global consensus. However, in the last decades, within the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs fundamental and apparently unsolvable disagreements have arisen about the nature and direction of drug policy.
7. This situation is making it impossible for individual countries and groups of countries to develop policies that they want to introduce on the basis of long term experience and sound experimentation.
8. The conclusion is that the rigid interpretation of the drug treaties has turned them into obstacles for progress.
9. The international drug conventions can no longer serve as the basis for national, and even less for international policies. The global “drug control system” must be replaced by national drug policies. It can safely be expected that these will be developed in close consultation and cooperation between neighbouring countries.
10. DRUG REGULATION must be placed on the political agenda.
President of ENCOD, European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies