New York, NY—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. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drug policy is expected to showcase growing divisions in global drug policy and mounting opposition to a punitive approach to drug control.
Current policies have criminalized small-scale growers, failed to curtail the drug trade, or lower consumption. Instead, these failed policies have contributed to violence and corruption in the region as prison populations reach crisis levels.
Latin American leaders—including Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who will present on Thursday—are likely to call for new approaches, as decades of ineffective policies have contributed to violence and corruption throughout the region.
WOLA experts John Walsh and Coletta Youngers have been advocating for drug policy reform for over two decades, documenting the human cost of the current failed system and urging human rights and public health-centered drug policies at the UN. They will be at the UN in New York to offer insights and analysis of the proceedings and their significance.
WOLA will also be presenting a side event on the “elephant in the room”: cannabis and the international drug conventions. The event will present a new report, “Cannabis Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties: Strategies for Reform” and feature speakers from the governments of Uruguay and Jamaica, as well as civil society experts from the UK, The Netherlands, and WOLA.
For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact:
Program Officer, WOLA
Cell: +1 (925) 708-0135
Office: +1 (202) 797-2171