Drug Policy News & Analysis

New Report Offers Strategies for Regulating Cannabis in Ways that Uphold and Modernize International Law

Stance of ‘Principled Non-Compliance’ with Antiquated UN Drug Treaty Provisions Would Open Door to Needed Reforms
In a new report, legal, drug policy, and human rights experts outline a path forward for countries wishing to regulate cannabis.

Women, Drug Policies, and Incarceration in the Americas

A Joint Project to Promote More Humane and Effective Policies
Analysis & Commentary
In collaboration with gender and human rights organizations from throughout the world, IDPC, Dejusticia and WOLA have convened a group of leading experts to address the harmful effects of incarceration on women in the Americas.

Women Behind Bars: Photo Essays Show The Human Cost of Current Drug Policies in the Americas

Analysis & Commentary
Across Latin America, the effects of disproportionate punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offenses are particularly severe for women. The following women were convicted and imprisoned for drug offenses in Colombia and Costa Rica. These are their stories.

Uruguay's Cannabis Law Makes Big Strides, But Faces Serious Challenges

Analysis & Commentary
Nearly two and half years after becoming law, Uruguay’s pioneering plan to regulate every level of the national market for cannabis is finally on the verge of taking shape. While implementation has proceeded at a deliberate pace, recent advances provide a glimpse of what full implementation will look like.

Colombia’s Contradictory Return to Coca Fumigation

Government Calls for Reforms at UNGASS, but Backtracks at Home
Analysis & Commentary
On April 18, the Colombian government restarted use of the harmful and ineffective herbicide glyphosate to destroy coca crops, months after the government suspended aerial spraying because the chemical was found to likely be carcinogenic.

Cannabis and the Conventions: UNGASS and Beyond

In a historic event at the United Nations General Assembly on drugs (UNGASS), WOLA talks about cannabis and the drug conventions, the UN's "elephant in the room."

UN General Assembly on Drugs: The Beginning of a Change in the Drug War Paradigm

At the conclusion of day one of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, WOLA's Coletta Youngers puts the summit in context of the broader drug policy debate and what the outcome may mean for future reforms.

World Leaders Convene in New York for Landmark UN Drug Summit as Opposition to Drug War Mounts

WOLA Experts will be in Attendance, Presenting at the UN
This week, world leaders are gathering at the United Nations in New York for the highest-level meeting on drug policy in nearly two decades.

Cannabis Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties: Strategies for Reform

How might governments and the UN system address growing tensions surrounding the existing UN drug treaties and evolving law and practice in Member States in ways that acknowledge the policy shifts underway and help to modernize the drug treaty regime itself?

Women are Bearing the Brunt of our Most Punitive Drug Policies

Analysis & Commentary
From Colombia to Thailand, drug policy reforms are urgently needed to end the mass incarceration of women for drug offences. Here’s what we can do about it.

Evaluating Cannabis Legalization

Rapporteur’s Report of the ACLU-WA/WOLA Workshop
Analysis & Commentary
Leading cannabis policy experts and government officials gathered in Seattle to discuss how jurisdictions can best evaluate legal cannabis.

Civil Rights, Health, Faith-Based, Justice Reform Groups Call on Obama to Push to End Global Drug War

United Nations Holding Highest-Level Drug Policy Session in Nearly Two Decades Next Month
Nearly 240 civil rights, health, faith-based and other organizations sent a letter to President Obama Thursday calling on him to use an upcoming United Nations high-level session on global drug policies to push for a fundamental change in course away from criminalization.

With Seeds Planted, Cannabis Sales in Uruguay Could Start in Late 2016

Analysis & Commentary
Uruguay’s deliberate, cautious implementation of its cannabis law has turned a new page: the seeds of the crop that will be sold on the country’s legal cannabis market are finally in the ground, and users will likely be able to purchase cannabis around the country in late 2016.

After Decades of Failed Policies, the U.S. is Finally Reconsidering the Mass Incarceration Model it Promoted in Latin America

How a Paradigm Shift Opens Up Space for Reforms in Latin America
After decades of implementing—and exporting—ineffective and unjust “tough on crime” policies, the United States is reconsidering its criminal justice system. These reforms should be noted in Latin America, a new report released today argues, as the region faces surging prison populations driven in part by draconian U.S.-sponsored policies.

Between Rhetoric and Reform: Criminal Justice Reform in the United States

After decades of failed policies, the U.S. is finally reconsidering the mass incarceration model it promoted in Latin America. The paradigm shift opens up space for reforms in Latin America.

The Societal Cost of Locking Up Women for Low-Level Drug Offenses

A working group of human rights experts, legal specialists, and government officials throughout Latin America has published a policy roadmap for the region to reduce the unjust levels of women’s incarceration for drug offenses.

Producers of Prohibited Plants Convene in Holland

Around 60 producers of coca, poppy and cannabis from 15 different countries and their representatives are expected to convene in The Netherlands this week to raise awareness of the poverty and conflict caused by the global war on drugs.

Increasing Incarceration for Drug Offenses in Latin America

Discourse vs. Reality
Analysis & Commentary
According to new research, incarceration for low-level drug offenses in increasing throughout Latin America.

Latin America’s Crackdown on Drugs Defies Its Progressive Rhetoric

Analysis & Commentary
Support for excessively harsh drug laws stems from very real concerns in Latin America that drug markets generate instability and violence. However, data from previous CEDD research shows that the incarcerated are mainly low-level drug offenders, whose arrests have little or no impact on the drug trade, as they are the easiest to replace.

New Studies Reveal Increase in Incarceration for Drug Offenses in the Americas

Despite the current debate in Latin America on the need to rethink drug policy, mass incarceration for nonviolent drug offenses has increased across the region.