Press Release of Drug Peace Institute
Utrecht, November 15, 2013.
As the January 31 deadline for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nominations approaches, the Drugs Peace Institute has the honour to bring to your attention the candidature for this prize of the president of Uruguay, Mr. Jose Mujica Cordano.
You may recall that in December 2012 Mr. Mujica sent a bill for the legalization of cannabis to the Uruguayan parliament. In June of this year this bill passed its House of Representatives and is at present being discussed by the country’s Senate, following which it should be adopted. The purpose of the bill is to gradually replace the failed war on drugs with a just and effective drug control policy and to reduce the concomitant violence, corruption, social disruption and disrespect of human rights to which the Uruguayan society and in particular its youth, is subjected.
It is increasingly clear that human rights must be at the heart of drug control. Sadly enough though, it is still not understood outside the users community that the consumption of marihuana itself should be protected as a human right, on par with such rights as freedom of information and freedom of religion. The DPI paper ‘Marihuana legalization as a tool for peace and understanding’ looks at the use of marihuana and other ecstasy inducing products in shamanic and biblical times and points to their beneficent religious, re-creational value up till the contemporary era.
Since last year, drug policies in the Americas develop in unprecedented ways.
In 2012 Bolivia left the 1961 Single Convention because it forbade the coca chewing by the indigenous peoples. A year later Bolivia was readmitted with a reservation allowing traditional uses of coca. In November of 2012 the states of Colorado and Washington legalized marihuana and the US federal government let it be known in August 2013 that it wouldn’t challenge these states’ laws. While the Bolivian reservation applies only to the traditional chewing of coca leafs by its own population and the marihuana legalization in the USA is formally restricted to 2 states, the Mujica proposal comes from a full-fledged party to the 1961 Convention and addresses basic assumptions of the UN drug control regime. The international drug control establishment is shocked, and has to come to terms with the fact that drug control should adapt to new realities. The Mujica government consequently has to advance with great caution. This is especially so now that a right wing populist progression in Europe pressures governments of once moderate countries, like Czechia, The Netherlands and Portugal, to abandon their policies of tolerance in favor of an old-fashioned muscled approach. Only legalization can help protect against these follies.
To honour the government of president Jose Mujica for its legalization of the marihuana plant in Uruguay, which will
Put the production and distribution of the plant in the legal circuit,
Enable the users of the plant to integrate fully into society, and
Create the conditions for understanding its proper use in contemporary society,
And which, beyond the borders of Uruguay, will
Inspire civil society looking for alternative drugs policies,
Embolden governments around the world to follow Uruguay’s example, and
Start a process of healing the worldwide ideological rifts caused by the war on drugs,
And to encourage the government of Mr. Mujica to persevere in its efforts to bring the different prohibited substances under the control of society,
the Drugs Peace Institute, PlantaTuPlanta (Collective of Uruguayan growers) and the Latin American Coalition of Cannabis Activists (CLAC), propose the candidacy of Mr. Jose Mujica Cordano for the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, and invite all those qualified, to nominate him, and call on the international marihuana users community to enlist these nominators.