Obama’s drug policy quandary is about to deepen further

How much longer can Obama postpone the unavoidable drug policy debate?

Something was set in motion on November 6, 2012, that could become irreversible with sufficient mobilization and could finally put an end to a century of prohibitionist policies. Reality seems to be dawning at long last that the war on drugs is a colossal, costly and destructive failure. A survey by the (ONG) “Asuntos del Sur” published on November 26 indicates support for the legalization of marijuana reaching 81% in Buenos Aires, 79% in Santiago de Chile and 73% in Mexico City among the 18 to 34 years old population.

As Uruguay moves resolutely towards the legalization of marijuana under state control, Argentina could be next in line. The Argentine Supreme Court already ruled the decriminalization of possession for personal use of all drugs. The leader of the center-left coalition Broad Progressive Front (Frente Amplio Progresista or FAP) Hermes Juan Binner, recently declared his support for the legalization of all drugs.

In Chile, Senator Ricardo Lagos Weber, son of ex-president Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006) presented a project of legalization of cultivation for therapeutic use and decriminalization of possession of small amounts. Ex-president Ricardo Lagos is a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

Meanwhile, the 5-months long relative power vacuum in Mexico will finally be filled when President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto takes office on December 1st. Peña Nieto will travel to Washington on December 4th and the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington will be high on the agenda. While he reiterated his personal opposition to legalization, in a Time interview published on November 27, Peña Nieto acknowledged that it may be time to reassess the War on Drugs and called for a hemispheric debate on its effectiveness. According to Peña Nieto, state legalization “creates certain distortions and incongruences, since it’s in conflict with the [U.S.] federal government… That will impact how Mexico and other countries in the hemisphere respond.” He even raised the possibility that Mexico itself may legalize marijuana.

While in Washington, Peña Nieto will also meet VP Joe Biden, so far a staunch and vocal opponent of legalization. Will Biden have his legal marijuana epiphany, just like he had his gay marriage epiphany few months ago? Finally, Peña Nieto will meet Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, whose husband famously didn’t inhale but just came out of the closet with Richard Branson and Morgan Freeman for the launch of the documentary “Breaking the Taboo”.

Other Latin American leaders, chief among them Colombia President Juan-Manuel Santos, call for an urgent debate on global drug policies.

In the US, the governor of New Hampshire, the last New England state without medical marijuana regulation, signaled his support while activists are pushing medical marijuana through the New York legislature. Meanwhile, other New England states are considering moving one step further and are preparing legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Rhode Island and Maine made an announcement to that effect on November 15, and Vermont and Massachusetts are expected to follow soon, which would further alarm US’ Latin Americans allies.

After Obama’s solid reelection victory largely attributed to the 71% support of Latin voters, the clout of the US Latin community has been raised quite a few notches and Obama knows that he needs to tread lightly. Latinos are emerging as a critical political force in the US. Together with the African Americans, they have paid the highest price within the US for the war on drugs. Their grievances cannot be ignored much longer.

In such a context, Obama’s drug-policy quandary will only deepen until he recognizes the inevitability of an honest and open drug policy debate, putting science and sound policy-making over politicking and ideology, a debate that takes into account public opinion and the realities of the 21st century and acknowledges the costly failure of prohibition.

The almost month-long silence of the Obama administration will need to be broken sooner or later. The political cost of picking up a long-lost rear-guard battle might be more than Obama is willing to stomach; it would certainly demobilize a critical part of his electoral base and may prove costly in the 2014 election cycle.  Even worse, it would accomplish very little and would most likely merely postpone the unavoidable. The times are changing, and they are changing at accelerating pace. With support for drug policy reform at all-time high in the youth population, support keeps growing is the general population as well with the generational change. The acceptability and normativity of marijuana use is also growing steadily as the ubiquitous green leaf invades screens big and small.

Prohibition has long been counterproductive, its message increasingly ignored or derided, and so are critical health warnings, severely minimizing the perceived danger of drug use. Credible studies on the long-term effects of substance use and abuse are sorely missing. Legalization with proper control and adequate flexibility would bring back science and much needed common sense and sanity where posturing, moralizing and politicking have long reigned unchallenged.

It is time to have an open, adult discussion about drug use in general. Both opponents and proponents of legalization have a tendency to caricature and hyperbole. All psychoactive substances, irrespective of their legal status, have recreational and medical uses as well as potentially harmful side-effects, and this includes marijuana, just as much as alcohol, tobacco, psycho-pharmaceuticals or cocaine and heroin. Marijuana is not harmless, as many activists would like us to believe, but it is far from the scourge prohibitionists claim it to be. The currently illicit drugs should be legalized and properly regulated BECAUSE of their harm potential and BECAUSE prohibition results in a total loss of control.


Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

“World War-D” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984690409/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/worldward
Twitter: @JDhywood
jd (at) world-war-d.com


Obama’s quandary

After two decisive victories for marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State, what to expect from Obama?

With the historic and decisive victories for marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington State, the War on Drugs has been dealt a severe blow this November 6th, and the global drug policy debate has entered a whole new phase. Marijuana is still illegal for the federal government, which overrules states’ rights, and this is probably just the beginning of the battle. The U.S. Department of Justice reacted by saying that its enforcement policies remain unchanged, adding: “We are reviewing the ballot initiative and have no additional comment at this time.”

Medical marijuana also won in a landslide in Massachusetts, bringing to 18 the number of states (plus the district of Colombia) where marijuana is legal for medical purpose, further complicating the task of the Federal Government. A medical marijuana initiative in Arkansas, the first of its kind in the deep-South and the Bible belt, fared much better than expected, ending up narrowly defeated at 49 to 51 when most polls were predicting double-digits loss. This could be indicative of evolving attitudes even in the most conservative parts of the US.

It is quite clear that the status of marijuana poses a real dilemma for Obama and the Democratic Party. Marijuana legalization has wide support among young voters and drug prohibition disproportionally affects minorities, filling jails to the beams. Both constituencies have been keys to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 victories. Marijuana activists were frazzled by the Obama crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries but at the end of the day they lined up behind him thanks to their deep distrust of Mitt Romney, while they are still hoping that Obama will have a change of heart in his second term.

So, with reelection out of the way, how will the Obama administration react? Marijuana legalization has lost its hot-potato status as the Washington initiative enjoyed mainstream support across the political spectrum. The public is clearly ahead of its politicians on that matter and support for marijuana legalization has been steadily growing nationwide over the past 30 years, a trend unlikely to reverse anytime soon with the aging of its opponent and coming of age of its proponents.

Under such circumstances, Obama would have far more to lose than to win in picking up a battle with Colorado and Washington State; the issue could prove distracting and definitively alienate and demobilize some of his strongest supporters, which could prove costly in the mid-term 2014 election where voters turn-out is traditionally low.

While marijuana legalization could be stuck for years in lengthy legal battles, this would keep the issue in the political debate and the headlines. In a country weary of undue government interference, it will be hard to justify fighting the will of the people, especially when it has been expressed as decisively as it was on November 6th. Furthermore, prohibitionism might be deeply entrenched, but it has never withstood close scrutiny, as witnessed by countless studies and reports, including the 1972 Shafer Commission’s Report sponsored by the Nixon administration itself and later repudiated for recommending marijuana decriminalization. Drug policy reform would most likely benefit from keeping marijuana legalization in the limelight, as exposure allows it to generally outshine its prohibitionist nemesis.

Moreover, few more states legislatures are expected to take on medical marijuana in 2013, bringing the medical marijuana camp tantalizingly closer to the 25 count when a majority of the states will have legal access to medical marijuana. California is widely expected to present a legalization initiative in 2014 and may be joined by Massachusetts.

Last but not least, most law-enforcement is done by state and local agencies in the US and the federal government would be powerless without their cooperation, which strongly limit its practical options.

Should the Obama administration decide to fight marijuana legalization heads-on, it will clearly go against the tide and could face an uphill battle.

Pressure for drug policy reform is not just internal. Colombia and Mexico, the US’ closest Latin American allies have expressed for a while their growing frustration with the current prohibitionist policies. Now Guatemala, long a pariah state emerging from a decades-long civil war plagued with human-rights abuses, is trying to garner support throughout the region for a radical reevaluation of drug policy and a debate about legalization and proper control of all drugs.

There is also risk (or hope depending on where people stand on the issue) of a domino effect. The US elections have been watched closely by the activist community all over the world, from neighboring Canada to Australia and New Zealand, and through Latin America and Europe. The Colorado and Washington victories may have opened the Pandora box, and many states, provinces and countries could follow.

On the other hand, the US has been the world’s prohibitionist-in-chief for over a century, and has over the years imposed her prohibitionist policies to the rest of the world. All current international treaties on illicit drugs having been produced and backed by successive US administrations over the past 50 years, a complete U-turn seems unlikely. But with 18 states and the district of Colombia in oblique violation of the international treaties and Colorado and Washington now squarely confronting them, the “tough on drugs” stance is increasingly untenable. Unless it reverses its attitude and draws the lessons from a century of failed prohibitionist rule, the US will be increasingly stuck between a rock and a hard place and her prohibitionist-in-chief posture will become more and more indefensible.

2012 has certainly been a momentous year for drug policy reform, with a bumper crop of firsts:

  • Otto Perez Molina, from Guatemala, was the first president to formally and forcefully call for legalization and proper control of all drugs last January.
  • Drug legalization was placed on the agenda on the Summit of the Americas in April 2012
  • Uruguay announced its intention to legalize marijuana under state control in June 2012
  • Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico formally requested an open debate about drug policy reform at the 2012 UN General Assembly.
  • And of course, the states of Colorado and Washington voted decisively to legalize marijuana on November 6, 2012

In another notable development, US’ closest ally, Israel, is expanding its medical marijuana program, fueled by its strong research sector in medicine and technology with active governmental support.

Will 2012 be the year when the US acknowledges at long last the failure of her prohibitionist policies and start exploring less destructive, more realistic and pragmatic alternatives? Substance abuse is here to stay and tackling it is a matter of being smarter rather than tougher. Public mobilization behind the issue will be critical. Petitions and other forms of public pressure are likely to emerge both in support and against marijuana legalization and drug policy reform in general.

It should be noted that beyond the fate of particular initiatives or policies, powerful global trends are at play here. While alcohol has been the dominant psychoactive substance and social lubricant of Western civilization since its inception over 8,000 years ago, and while Western civilization has dominated the world for the past few centuries, globalization is rapidly shifting the geopolitical tectonic plates. As the world accelerates its move towards multipolarity, where no single power exerts overwhelming dominance, alcohol is also losing its psychoactive dominance to become just one of many psychoactive modalities, being replaced firstly by psychopharmaceuticals, followed by marijuana, more properly called cannabis.

At the end of the day, the days of prohibition are most likely counted and it will fade away with the American century that started with the 1908 Shanghai conference, the event that set the foundations of global prohibition, on the eve of World War-I.

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

“World War-D” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984690409/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/worldward
Twitter: @JDhywood
jd (at) world-war-d.com

Making sense of the global drug policy debate

2012 has been quite an amazing year for drug policy reform and events are accelerating at breakneck pace after the historic marijuana legalization victories in Colorado and Washington. State lawmakers across New England are preparing legislation to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Rhode Island and Maine announced on November 15th their intentions to introduce marijuana legalization bills to their legislatures next year. Vermont and Massachusetts are expected to follow soon. Meanwhile, public opinion is shifting rapidly. According to a Rasmussen poll released Tuesday, a stunning 82% of the US population now believes that the War on Drugs is failing.

On the international scene, Latin American countries are clamoring for a UN debate about legalization and Colombian President Santos is asking Mexican President Pena Nieto to lead the region out of the devastating War on Drugs as soon as he takes office on December 1st. In another historic move, the ruling party in Uruguay presented on November 15th, the project of law for the legalization of marijuana. Vote is scheduled for early December. If it passes, Uruguay would become the first country in the world to legalize marijuana.

“World War-D” has become the reference book to make sense of the rapidly evolving global drug policy debate, bringing common sense and sanity to an issue often shrouded in misconceptions, preconceptions and taboos. My readers routinely comment that it should be required reading for politicians and lawmakers and strongly recommend it to those who want to understand all the facets of the issue and grasp its global complexity. No matter where you stand on drug prohibition, you will get a much clearer understanding of the issue in all of its multi-faceted complexity and with a global perspective. As prohibitionism is starting to crumble at the edges, no other book offers such depth and breadth of understanding.

With the holiday season fast approaching, we invite you to give the gift of common sense and sanity to your loved ones, your friends and your relatives. Tired of useless, senseless stockings stuffers? With our holiday discount, “World War-D” is now even affordable enough to be given away as meaningful stuffers this holiday season!

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US states with Medical or decriminalized marijuana

States with medical or decriminalized marijuana

November 6 was a momentous day for drug policy reform; now we must make sure that the Federal Government doesn’t block the initiatives approved by a large majority of the voters of Colorado and Washington.

Ask President Obama to respect the will of the people of the states of Washington and Colorado. Sign and promote the petition http://www.world-war-d.com/2012/11/07/petition-washington-and-colorado/. Don’t wait for the Feds’ reaction, act now!

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization” http://www.world-war-d.com/
“World War-D” on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/0984690409/
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jdhywood

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with Jeffrey Dhywood should contact promo@world-war-d.com

Petition: President Obama, respect the will and state rights of the people of Washington and Colorado!

Ask President Obama to respect the right of the states of Washington, Colorado and all the states that have legalized medical marijuana

[emailpetition id=”3″]

As the drug policy debate moves to the US congress after the historic approval of marijuana legalization in the States of Colorado and Washington, we must keep the pressure. Stand firm for the defense of the newly gained right of the people of Colorado and Washington, as well as those of all the medical marijuana states. Add your name to this petition and it will be delivered to the White House.

We also encourage you to contact the White House directly at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.

Tweet the following message: @BarackObama we urge you to respect the will + rights of the people of WA + CO! http://ow.ly/f9KKx pic.twitter.com/r0AwewgP

Last but not least, help us promote this petition. Share this message with your email connections, share the link to the petition http://www.world-war-d.com/petition-wa-co/ on social networks, blogs, groups, etc.

We need your support

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization” http://www.world-war-d.com/
“World War-D” on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/0984690409/
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/jdhywood

Journalists wishing to arrange interviews with Jeffrey Dhywood should contact promo@world-war-d.com



Marijuana election-night coverage: Tuesday November 6th, 7-11pm EST

Tune-in to witness history as it unfolds!


Tomorrow two states are poised to legalize marijuana, and the War on Drugs will be dealt a severe blow. I invite you to witness history in the making with KOP productions in Massachusetts, a state expected to deliver a landslide medical Marijuana victory.

KOP-productions has lined up an impressive roster of prestigious guests speakers to comment live on the polls results as they come out. Guests include:

  • Neil Franklin, Executive Director of LEAP (Law Enforcement against Prohibition), an Organization started in MA by former undercover DEA agent Jack A. Cole;
  • Maine Representative Diane Russell;
  • Paul Stanford, President of The Hemp & Cannabis Foundation
  • Yours truly, Jeffrey Dhywood. I will be giving away signed copies of my book “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization” during the show.
  • Also direct from California, the 420 Nurses and The 420 Comic;
  • In-studio Guest, BOBBY NUGZ from Releaf Magazine in Rhode Island.

    More guests announcements right up to the show.

The show will be simulcasted on 2 websites:

There will be plenty of giveaways: T-shirts, books, and special prizes from sponsors to lucky callers when KOP open their Studio lines during the evening. 1-401-626-4420.

Get ready for surprise announcements and calls to action during the show. Even if we get the expected two victories, the war on drugs will not end tomorrow; but tomorrow can mark a major tide-reversal if we are ready to intensify the fight against ignorance, misconceptions, preconceptions and deeply-entrenched taboos fueled by the 100-years prohibitionist propaganda machine. The war is far from over; only through our joint efforts will common sense and sanity prevail at long last.

Tune in at 7:00 pm EST (that’s East Coast time) and be part of history!

Invite your friends and contacts! Share on social networks! We expect a great show tomorrow!

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”
Download a free 50 pages excerpt of  “World war-D”
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/worldward
Follow me on Twitter: @JDhywood
LinkedIn: http://hk.linkedin.com/in/jdhywood
Become a better informed activist and support global drug policy reform! Order your own copy of “Word War-D”.

  • The reference book on the War on Drugs and prohibitionism
  • A guide to psychoactive substances and substance abuse
  • A blueprint for global drug policy reform and controlled legalization

(Click here to order “World War-D” from Amazon)
If you agree with our views, please share this post to support our cause. Send it to at least 5 of your friends, post it on social networks, on your blogs, etc.

Marijuana Legalization initiatives are under pressure and need your help

10 days before election-day, the marijuana legalization initiatives are slipping in the polls; Washington I502 is still ahead, but support is softening; Colorado 64 is in dangerous zone; Oregon Measure 80 is trailing badly. We need a general mobilization of the drug policy reform activists. We need unity, not internal infighting.

I urge the marijuana activists who are OPPOSING the marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington or Colorado to reconsider their position.

Will these initiatives grant all the policies on the activists’ wish list? No, they won’t! But it will be a vast improvement over the existing regulations, which are medical marijuana in both states, just like medical marijuana is an awkward compromise, but that is vastly preferable to prohibition. With the Washington and Colorado initiatives, the medical marijuana will lose the tax-free easy profits it has been enjoying in the legal grey-zone where it has been operating for the past few years. On the other hand, it will reduce the fear of the Feds, the raids in the wee hours of the day, the drug squads knocking down your door in your sleep. It won’t eliminate the threats from the fed, but instead on fighting on your own, the state will fight for the industry, which makes a huge difference.

Yes, the initiatives on the ballot have restrictions that are questionable within the activists’ community. Could the initiatives be less restrictive? For an answer, let’s look at the polls: I502 in Washington is the most restrictive of the three initiatives on the ballot. It is the one with highest polling and the only one with a very good chance of passing. Amendment 64 in Colorado is not as restrictive but is in a thigh race and sagging support as we get closer to election-day. Measure 80 in Oregon, which is the closest to the marijuana activists’ wish-list is trailing badly in the polls and stands little chance of winning. It is quite clear that with all their flaws, the initiatives are already pushing the limits of what voters are willing to accept.

The lessons we can draw here are quite clear: the general public might be ready for some restrictive form of marijuana legalization under tight control, but is not ready for more lax policies. In particular, the public wants reassurances on protection of minors and driving under the influence. The public wants to make sure that we do not replace bad policies with even worse policies. Last but not least, drug prohibition has been going on for over 100 years, marijuana prohibition for 75 years. For all that time, the public has been bombarded by a constant and sustained barrage of propaganda, depicting drugs in general and marijuana in particular as evil and worse. It will take a long time to undo the effects of a century-long propaganda machine. We need incremental steps to reassure the public that the sky will not fall after marijuana legalization. The public has legitimate concerns about the children and youths and will not accept alternatives that do not restrict underage access. The current medical marijuana laws in California for instance, have provoked serious backlash as dispensaries were popping up all over the place, especially around schools, with hawkers peddling marijuana cards on street corners.

Finally, legislations are not written in stone; they change and evolve, as we are currently witnessing. Alcohol regulations were quite restrictive when prohibition was first lifted, and have become increasingly lenient as time goes by. The same will happen with marijuana regulations if we ever get to end prohibition.

Bottom line: Do you prefer to fight from a purist, principled position that doesn’t stand the slightest chance of ever winning enough support, or are you ready to settle on a reasonable compromise that can move the debate to the next step?

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

“World War-D” on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984690409/

Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/worldward
Twitter: @JDhywood
jd (at) world-war-d.com

Petición de apoyo a la legalización controlada de marihuana en Uruguay

[emailpetition id=”2″]

Click here for English version

El gobierno uruguayo anunció el 20 de junio que enviaría una iniciativa de ley para la legalización de la venta de la mariguana (la posesión y uso ya son legales en este país). Si se aprueba esta ley, Uruguay sería el primer país en el mundo en establecer un mercado legal para la mariguana; esto sería un cambio paradigmático mayor ya que rompería el tabú, cuestionaría leyes internacionales existentes y sentaría un precedente único. En el últimos año, Uruguay también ha estado debatiendo la posibilidad del cultivo de la mariguana para uso personal. Si ambas medidas se aprueban esto sería un gran paso adelante.
Sabemos que vendrá mucha presión en contra del gobierno uruguayo para que abandone este proyecto de legalización, tal como se hizo contra Guatemala y sus vecinos en febrero de este año. No podemos correr el riesgo de que Uruguay abandone la iniciativa por la presión de quienes no desean hacer un cambio.
Al firmar la carta por debajo, se la enviará con su firma al Presidente José Mujica y los dos principales partidos de oposición.
Recuerde: En este momento, la iniciativa es sólo una propuesta que requiere la discusión y aprobación parlamentaria. Para aquellos quienes opinen que la iniciativa no va lo suficientemente lejos o que le da demasiado control al gobierno, piensen que el Presidente Mujica y su gobierno están enfrentando una batalla cuesta arriba con el muy seguro linchamiento por parte del gobierno norteamericano. No hay en este momento, ninguna seguridad de que la iniciativa sea aprobada por lo que debemos apoyarla.
Nosotros podemos hacer la diferencia.
Por favor comparte con tus conocidos y amistades este blog en Facebook, Twitter , otros medios sociales y por correo electrónico

También puedes twittear a:
• Presidencia de Uruguay: @SCpresidenciauy
• Senador Jorge Larrañaga, @guapolarranaga, líder de Alianza Nacional
• Pedro Bordaberry @PedroBordaberry, presidente del CEN Colorado y quien fuera ministro de Industria y Turismo en el gobierno de Jorge Batlle, primer jefe de estado en proponer la legalización de las drogas en 2000
Para leer más sobre la iniciativa de ley: http://www.presidencia.gub.uy/wps/wcm/connect/Presidencia/PortalPresidencia/Comunicacion/comunicacionNoticias/gabinete-seguridad-presento-paquete-15-medidas-promover-convivencia-ciudadana
La declaración a medios de la presidencia uruguaya: http://medios.presidencia.gub.uy/jm_portal/2012/noticias/NO_E582/Estrategia.pdf
Para leer más sobre el Presidente Mujica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mujica

Conviértete en un activista mejor informado!
Apoya la reforma global de la política de drogas!
Pida su propia copia de “World War-D”, el libro de referencia sobre el prohibicionismo, sustancias psicoactivas y la reforma de la política de drogas (disponible solamente en Ingles por el momento)!

Jeffrey Dhywood

Autor de investigación y análisis de “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

Twitter: @JDhywood

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldward


Petition in support of the controlled legalization of Marijuana in Uruguay

[emailpetition id=”1″]

Haga clic aquí para versión en español

On November 15, the government of Uruguay submitted to its parliament a proposal for the legalization of the sale of marijuana under state control (possession and use of marijuana is already legal in Uruguay). The project would also legalize the cultivation for personal use of up to 6 plants of cannabis. If adopted, Uruguay would become the first country in the world to establish a controlled marketplace for marijuana.

The project has already been approved by the Officialista Party, who holds a majority in the lower chamber, and is not submitted for comments to the opposition party. It is noteworthy that the major opposition parties have themselves asked for legalization of cultivation for personal use in the past.

President Mujica has scheduled a month-long national debate on his proposal.  We cannot afford to drop the ball on Uruguay.

When you sign the letter underneath, it will be sent with your signature to President José Mujica and the two major opposition parties. Please share this blog  post on Facebook, on Twitter and other social medias or by email.

Remember: This is just a proposal for the time being, and it needs to go thru parliamentary approval. For those you who think that it doesn’t go far enough, that it gives too much control to the government, just think about the uphill battle President José Mujica and his government are facing, and the expected US government’s stonewalling. There is absolutely no guarantee that this proposal will go thru, which is why we need to show our support.

For more impact, you can also tweet to the following:

Presidency of Uruguay: @SCpresidenciauy

Senator Jorge Larrañaga, @guapolarranaga, leader of Alianza Nacional

Pedro Bordaberry, @PedroBordaberry, President of the CEN colorado, was minister of Tourism and Industry in the Government of Jorge Batlle, the first head of state in the world to call for the legalization of all drugs in 2000, shortly after taking office.

Become a better informed activist and support global drug policy reform! Order your own copy of “Word War-D”, the reference book on prohibitionism, psychoactive substances and drug policy reform!

Learn more about the proposal: http://www.desdeelmarmol.com/2012/11/ley-sobre-regulacion-de-la-cadena.html

Learn more about President José Mujica: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos %C3%A9_Mujica

Jeffrey Dhywood

Investigative writer,
author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

Download a free 42 pages excerpt of  “World war-D”

Twitter: @JDhywood
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/worldward

Are we turning a corner in the War on Drugs?

The likely victory of marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado will transform the global drug policy debate

A landmark victory of marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado will put internal & external pressure for drug policy reform on the US and weaken its hand with its restive Latin American allies.

A likely marijuana legalization victory will transform the global drug policy debate
A likely marijuana legalization victory will transform the global drug policy debate

After declaring in 1971 “We must wage total war against public enemy number one in the United State, the problem of dangerous drugs”, President Richard Nixon prematurely claimed victory On September 11, 1973, “We turned the corner on drug addiction in the United states. Drug addiction is under control.” Almost 40 years later, we might indeed be turning a corner in the war on drugs, though not quite the corner envisioned by Nixon, as 2012 is poised to enter the history books as a turning point in the failed war on drugs, and will hopefully signal the beginning of its unfolding.

Discontent about the failed war on drugs policies has been brewing for quite a while, especially in Latin America, but outside of that region, the debate rarely reached much beyond academic and activist circles. Things changed in June 2011 when drug policy reform grabbed the headlines across the world for the very first time with the publication of the Global Commission on Drug Policy Report. The report was signed by an impressive slate of prestigious individuals including seven former heads of state and the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and was a seminal event for drug policy reform. Another seminal event, The Merida Declaration on December 6, 2011, went virtually unnoticed by the media and drug policy experts alike. Issued at the Tuxtla Dialogue and Agreement Mechanism in Yucatan, Mexico, the declaration was signed by eleven heads of state and high-level representatives of Central America and the Caribbean, including Mexico, Colombia and Chile, and asked “consuming countries … to explore possible alternatives …, including regulatory or market oriented options.”

2012 started with a bang when retired right-wing general Otto Perez Molina, newly elected president of impoverished Guatemala, rattled the world and instantly placed his country on the map by declaring the war on drugs a failure and forcefully advocating legalization. Guatemala is one of the world’s worst-hit countries by narco-violence, together with its unfortunate neighbors, Honduras and Salvador, and recently emerged from a decades-long brutal civil war.

Perez Molina has been unwavering ever since. He brought the drug legalization debate to the April Summit of the Americas, a gathering of all heads of state across the continent, from Canada to Tierra del Fuego, except Cuba (banned by the US). More recently, he brought the debate to the UN general Assembly and was joined by Mexico and Colombia, the two major US allies in the War on Drugs, for a call to revise the international treaties on illicit drugs.

As Perez Molina is actively trying to build a coalition for drug policy reform, he announced on Thursday a planned meeting with newly re-elected Hugo Chavez with legalization on the agenda. Venezuela is a major entry-point on the transit route of cocaine to the US through its extremely porous frontier with Colombia, and has often been a safe haven for Colombian narco-traffickers. However, the relationship between the Chavez regime and his cumbersome guests seems to be turning sour as violence has escalated dramatically in the country. Leftish Chavez joining right-wing Perez Molina in a coalition for drug policy reform might mollify the other members of the leftish Latin American coalition that includes Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. Left-leaning Argentina president Kirchner might join as well. Uruguay announced in June its intention to legalize marijuana under state control and the proposal is currently churning through the legislative process.

The US being by far, the largest market for illegal drugs in the world, the marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot in Colorado, Washington and Oregon take special significance in such a context. It is noteworthy that the US Justice Department has so far refrained from taking a position on these initiatives despite being urged by legalization opponents.

November 6 is likely to be a watershed moment for marijuana legalization and drug policy reform with the marijuana legalization initiatives standing very good chances in Colorado and Washington. Both initiatives enjoy wide support across the political spectrum ranging from the state democratic party to the GOP US Senate Candidate for Washington, Michael Baumgartner, or former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo in Colorado. Sponsored by former US attorney John McKay and current City Attorney Peter Holmes, and with backing from the mayor and the entire city council of Seattle as well as the Seattle Times, the Washington initiative lines up the most impressive slate of main-stream backing and enjoys double digit margins in the polls. Curiously, in Washington and Colorado, the staunchest opposition is coming from the medical marijuana communities. The Oregon initiative, placing no restrictions on cultivation for personal use, is generally considered too radical and faces an uphill battle. A medical marijuana initiative, currently polling at a whopping 69%, could provide the icing on the cake with a landslide victory in Massachusetts.

A victory for marijuana legalization initiatives in the US would have momentous implications for Latin America and would place the federal government in an awkward position, caught between internal and external pressure for reform. It would certainly weaken its hands in its negotiations with its increasingly restive allies in the war on drugs. It might also give the needed impetus for the crystallization of a coalition of the willing and rally the support of the countries such as Costa Rica that have prudently stayed on the sideline until now.

The 22nd Ibero-American Summit, held on November 16 – 17 2012 in Cadiz, hosted by Spain and attended by Portugal and most Latin American countries will provide a good test of the effects of a marijuana legalization victory. Portugal and Spain having some of the most liberal drug policies in the world, this summit should offer a favorable environment for an open debate on drug policy reform. Scheduled 10 days after the November US election, it might embolden Colombia and Mexico to take more assertive positions. It may also present an opportunity for the budding coalition to grow some offshoots or support on the old continent.

Unknown is the potential reaction of the federal government to state legalization. While a lot depends on who will be the next host of the White House, the next president’s options might be limited, especially as a likely solid victory in Washington and a landslide medical marijuana victory in Massachusetts might diametrically reverse the political risk of marijuana legalization, with opposition to the issue becoming increasingly politically risky.

If the federal government chooses confrontation, it can expect a vigorous fight from the states. Already, the City of Oakland became on October 11, the first known jurisdiction to sue the federal government to protect its medical marijuana industry. Lawsuits are being brought in San Diego to reverse federal convictions in medical marijuana cases. There is no doubt that victory in November will embolden the states to resist federal interference with their marijuana policies. A corner will most likely be turned in the War on Drugs on November 6, 2012, a corner towards legalization.

Jeffrey Dhywood
Investigative writer,
Author of “World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization”

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