WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
15 Oct 2014 | Video

International Impacts of the U.S. Trend towards Legal Marijuana


This event took place at the Brookings Institution on October 17, 2014. For more information on marijuana legalization and the international drug control treaties, read Marijuana Legalization is an Opportunity to Modernize International Drug Treaties, a new report from WOLA and Brookings.

The event included presentations by 


John Walsh
Senior Associate
Sandeep Chawla
Former Deputy Executive Director and Director of Research and Policy
UN Office on Drugs and Crime
Lisa Sanchez
Program Manager
México Unido Contra la Delincuencia and Transform Drug Policy Foundation

Wells Bennett

Fellow, Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution
Managing Editor, Lawfare
Martin Jelsma
Director, Drugs and Democracy Program
Transnational Institute
Join the discussion on Twitter at #BIMJ.
For decades, the United States has been a champion of the global drug control treaty system, which limits the use of marijuana exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and obligates governments to punish and even criminalize recreational marijuana activity. But American attitudes toward marijuana policy are shifting: voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot initiatives to legalize regulated recreational marijuana in 2012, and recent polls suggest that the majority of Americans think marijuana use should be legalized. How might a shift in American marijuana policies affect the prohibitionist drug treaty system? What debates are taking place in other countries over marijuana policy?
On October 17, in collaboration with the Washington Office on Latin America, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a forum to discuss the international repercussions of the United States’ changing approach towards marijuana. The panel of experts considered the possible ramifications for other countries and the international drug control regime.