WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
3 Jun 2013 | News

Drug Policy Reform to Take Center Stage in OAS Meeting

Washington, D.C.—This week, the 43rd meeting of the Organization of American States’ (OAS) General Assembly will take place from June 4-6 in La Antigua, Guatemala. This year, the General Assembly will address current drug policy and explore possible alternatives.

WOLA drug policy experts John Walsh and Coletta Youngers will be on the ground in Antigua and will be happy to speak with you about this meeting of foreign ministers and its potential repercussions. 

"At the Summit of the America's last year, the hemisphere's leaders insisted on the need for a serious discussion of alternatives to the drug war," Mr. Walsh said. "The General Assembly meeting provides an excellent starting point for considering less costly, more humane alternative–including decriminalizing drug possession for person use and creating regulated legal markets for cannabis. The General Assembly will be a good gauge of how strong the winds of change are blowing in the region, and how strong the defenders of the status quo remain."

Here are some resources that may be helpful for your reporting:

• A publication showing that 52 percent of people in the United States now support marijuana legalization.
• A Q & A looking at how marijuana legalization in being implemented in the states of Colorado and Washington.
• Press Conference: 
Tomorrow, June 4, at 12:10 p.m., drug policy experts and members of civil society will be holding a press conference. Location: Casa Santo Domingo (Tercera Calle Oriente 28 A, Antigua, Guatemala). Salon: Sala de Prensa.

• Press release by the International Drug Policy Consortium­.
• The Constitutional Court annulled the historic verdict in the Ríos Montt genocide case. Given that the OAS General Assembly is taking place in Guatemala, the issue might come up in discussions. WOLA attended the trial and is available for comment. 
To view WOLA’s resources on the issue, please click here.


Kristel Mucino
Communications Director
Washington Office on Latin America
+1 (202) 797-2171
[email protected]