John Walsh has coordinated WOLA’s Drug Policy program since 2003, in support of more humane and effective drug policies in the Americas. Respected for his combination of careful policy analysis and effective advocacy, Mr. Walsh has helped establish WOLA as a key voice in the growing movement to make human rights, public health, and harm reduction central concerns of drug policy.
Mr. Walsh has testified before Congress and published extensively on the need to reassess drug policy goals, strategies, and indicators. His analyses, including the publication “Development First,” have underscored the limits of supply-oriented drug policies and the extensive damage they cause. Connecting domestic U.S. reforms to the international drug policy debate, Mr. Walsh co-authored “Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties,” arguing that policy shifts underway in the Americas open the door to modernizing the global drug control regime. His work has contributed to the expansion of the international drug policy reform debate, and been instrumental in convening reform advocates and practitioners from across the hemisphere to discuss design and evaluation of legal, regulated cannabis.
Mr. Walsh also follows broader political developments in the Andean region, with particular emphasis on Venezuela. He tracks democracy and human rights issues in the country, and has established WOLA as a leading voice advocating for reasoned, respectful U.S. hemispheric relations. Mindful of the polarized politics in the region and the similarly polarized and sensationalized accounts that have marked U.S. views of developments in the Andes, Mr. Walsh has provided a balanced perspective, and WOLA has provided a venue for impassioned but respectful debate.
A frequent commentator on drug policy developments in the U.S. and Latin America, Mr. Walsh has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, National Public Radio, and numerous television and international news outlets. In addition to his congressional testimony, publications, press appearances, Mr. Walsh has organized and spoken at numerous U.S. and international conferences. Prior to joining WOLA, he served as director of research at Drug Strategies and worked at the Center of Concern on the “Rethinking Bretton Woods Project,” an effort to forge consensus on ideas for reform of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and international trade arrangements.
He received a B.A. in Theology from Georgetown University (1986) and an M.A. in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins University (1997).
For press requests or to contact John Walsh, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- M.A. Johns Hopkins University, Public Policy
- B.A. Georgetown University, Theology
- OZY - June 26, 2015 - How Cannabis Is Making A Comeback in Colombia
- AP - June 10, 2015 - Monitoring legal pot: How do we know if it works?
- The New York Times - May 26, 2015 - Latin America Rethinks Drug Policies
- The New York Times - May 15, 2015 - Latin American Allies Resist U.S. Strategy in Drug Fight
- Bloomberg Business - February 11, 2015 - Uruguay’s Marijuana Permits Lure Bids From Canada to Germany
- Búsqueda - February 5, 2015 - Designación de Milton Romani en la JND es “señal de continuidad”
- AFP - January 30, 2015 - Legal marijuana takes root in Latin America
- Oppenheimer Presenta - November 20, 2014 - Marihuana: ¿Legalización Global?
- Scientific American - November 7, 2014 - Cocaine Will Survive Global Warming
- The Washington Post - November 14, 2014 - The U.N. really wishes that voters in Alaska and Oregon hadn't legalized weed
- Vox - November 14, 2014 - How the war on drugs perpetuates violence in Latin America
- The Miami Herald - November 5, 2014 - Andres Oppenheimer: D.C. marijuana vote will test 'war on drugs'
- The Washington Post - October 17, 2014 - How marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is making the world a better place
- The Huffington Post - October 14, 2014 - State Department Official Calls for 'Flexibility' On Drug Control Treaties
- Inter Press Service - September 10, 2014 - Expresidentes suman su voz a favor de despenalizar las drogas
- The New York Times - September 8, 2014 - Coalition Urges Nations to Decriminalize Drugs and Drug Use
- Vox - July 30, 2014 - Why marijuana legalization in Guatemala won't solve the child migrant crisis
- CNN - July 10, 2014 - DirectoUSA: la marihuana recreativa
- Vox - June 13, 2014 - Can Uruguay kill drug cartels by legalizing marijuana?
- The Wall Street Journal - June 11, 2014 - Peru cut coca plantings by 17.5% last year
- Inter Press Service - May 22, 2014 - Sanctioning Venezuela unlikely to defuse tension
- Associated Press - February 15, 2014 - U.S. Drug Policy Shift Sparks Legal Pot Push in Latin America and Caribbean
- Huffington Post Live - January 24, 2014 - How the Global War on Drugs Has Failed (Video)
- The Huffington Post - January 22, 2014 - Four Decades Later, U.S. is Still Losing the Global War on Drugs
- Reuters - December 13, 2013 - High Prospects for Uruguay's Legal Marijuana Business
- NPR Morning Edition - December 12, 2013 - Why the Timing is Right For Uruguay to Legalize Pot
- Bloomberg - December 11, 2013 - Uruguay Becomes World's First Nation to Legalize Marijuana
- Notimex - December 11, 2013 - Uruguay dio un paso hacia el cambio global con legalización
- El Espectador - December 11, 2013 - Uruguay da un paso hacia el cambio global
- Bloomberg - December 10, 2013 - Uruguay Vote May Augur First State-Regulated Cannabis Market
- Fusion - December 9, 2013 - Will Uruguay Trigger a Global Marijuana Revolution?
- Passport Magazine - December 6, 2013 - Uruguay May be First Nation to Legalize Pot
- La Republica - November 23, 2013 - Marihuana: la polémica que no cesa
- El Espectador - September 25, 2013 - Regulación de la marihuana en el Estado de Colorado: diferencias y similitudes con el proyecto uruguayo
- The Miami Herald - September 2, 2013 - Andres Oppenheimer: A turning point in the U.S. drug war
- Associated Press - August 2, 2013 - Uruguay será 'conejillo de indias' de las drogas
- Los Angeles Times - August 1, 2013 - Uruguay takes key step toward legalizing marijuana
- Associated Press - August 1, 2013 - Uruguay votes to create world's first national legal marijuana market
- The Christian Science Monitor - August 1, 2013 - Global trendsetter? Uruguay moves to legalize marijuana
- Associated Press - July 31, 2013 - Uruguay Marijuana Legalization: Market Plan OKed by Lower House of Congress
- The New York Times - July 31, 2013 - Lawmakers in Uruguay Vote to Legalize Marijuana
- Associated Press - July 31, 2013 - Uruguayan legislators debate plan for licensing marijuana market to combat drug crimes
- ABC News Univision - July 31, 2013 - Uruguay Approves Game Changing Marijuana Law
- El Universal (Venezuela) - June 1, 2013 - El problema de las drogas copa la agenda de la Asemblea General de la OEA
- Inter Press Service - May 25, 2013 - OAS Chief Calls for "Long-Awaited" Debate on Drug Policy
- AFP - May 19, 2013 - Cobra fuerza opción de legalizar cannabis en AL
- Los Angeles Times - May 17, 2013 - OAS study says countries should consider decriminalizing drug use
- The New York Times - May 17, 2013 - Americas Coalition Puts Marijuana Legalization Up for Discussion
- CBS News - November 17, 2012 - Some Latin American countries rethink drug policy
- Al Jazeera - November 11, 2012 - US drug legalisations reverberate in Mexico
- El Tiempo (Colombia) - November 9, 2012 - Desafío a la política de drogas
- Los Angeles Times - June 21, 2012 - Uruguay says it may sell marijuana to combat cocaine
- AFP - April 15, 2012 - Despite clamor, strong interests hinder US drug law reform
- The Wall Street Journal - April 12, 2012 - Latin American Leaders to Question U.S. Drug Policy at Summit
- El Tiempo (Colombia) - April 9, 2012 - ¿Por qué es importante hablar de despenalizar la droga en la Cumbre?
- El Espectador (Colombia) - March 27, 2012 - 'Decriminalizer no es legalizar'
- El Espectador (Colombia) - March 11, 2012 - A debatir la ley de la coca
- El Tiempo (Colombia) - March 10, 2012 - Así se ve y analiza la legalización de la droga en Washington
- McClatchy Newspapers - March 5, 2012 - In Mexico, Biden shoots down talk of Drug Legalization
- Associated Press - February 27, 2012 - U.S. vice president heads to Latin America amid calls for debate on drug legalization
- Al Jazeera - February 17, 2012 - US hooked on Central American drugs
- El Tiempo (Colombia) - November 29, 2011 - 'Santos oxigenó el debate, aunque no le guste a EE.UU.'
- Time - October 31, 2010 - How California's Pot Proposition is Agitating Latin America
- La Nación (Argentina) - October 31, 2010 - Un polémico voto con impacto en la región
- Reuters - February 25, 2010 - In drug war, failed old ideas never die
- "Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties" (with Wells Bennett of the Brookings Institution, October 2014)
- "Colorado's Rollout of Legal Marijuana is Succeeding" (with John Hudak of the Brookings Institution, July 2014)
- "Q&A: Legal Marijuana in Colorado and Washington" (with Mark Kleiman and BOTEC Analysis, 2013)
- “Development First: A More Humane and Promising Approach to Reducing Cultivation of Crops for Illicit Market” (with Coletta Youngers, 2010)
- “Assessing U.S. Drug Policy in the Americas: Time to Revisit Goals and Strategies” (testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, 2009)
- “Change for the Better: The Chance to Recast U.S.-Bolivian Relations” (with Kathryn Ledebur, 2009)
- “Lowering Expectations: Supply Control and the Resilient Cocaine Market” (2009)
- “Obama’s Bolivia ATPDEA Decision: Blast from the Past or Wave of the Future?” (with Kathryn Ledebur, 2009)
- “U.S. Drug Policy: At What Cost? Moving beyond the Self-Defeating Supply-Control Fixation” (testimony before the U.S. Senate, 2008)
- “Chemical Reactions – Fumigation: Spreading Coca and Threatening Colombia’s Ecological and Cultural Diversity” (with Gimena Sanchez and Yamile Salinas, 2008)
- “Democracy in Venezuela” (testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, 2005)
- “Are We There Yet? Measuring Progress in the U.S. War on Drugs in Latin America” (2004)
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