Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement
Global Commission on Drug Policy 2018 report launch on Regulation

Global Commission on Drug Policy 2018 report launch on Regulation

Thank you everyone
for being here today. My name is Sara Znapp. I work on drug policy issues with
an organization called Instituto RIA. I also collaborate with the Global
Commission on Drug Policy. We are here today because the Global
Commission on Drug Policy is hosting the international launch
of its latest report, titled ‘Regulation: The Responsible
Control of Drugs’. They come to Mexico at a very timely moment. The current political scenario and the national urgency make this report
very relevant, as it provides us with tools free of ideologies for a process of dialogue,
proposals and the potential implementation of regulation in Mexico. The report addresses difficult questions on regulation and provides
evidence-based arguments in a pragmatic and responsible way. Prohibition in Mexico has caused a lot of damage. Now we are going to hear how a
paradigm shift towards a responsible regulation may have an
impact on strengthening institutions, fighting corruption, bringing back
opportunities to crop-producing communities, and protecting health, human rights
and security, not only for people who use drugs, but also for society at large. Today we have here several
commissioners to present the report. I am going to introduce them
and then I will give them the floor. We have Pavel Bém, who is
the former Mayor of Prague. We have Maria Cattaui,
former Secretary General of the Swiss International
Chamber of Trade. President César Gaviria, former
President of Colombia. Helen Clark, former Prime
Minister of New Zealand and former administrator of
the United Nations Development Program. Ruth Dreifuss, former President and
former Foreign Affairs Minister of Switzerland, who is also the President
of the Global Commission. Ernesto Zedillo, former
President of Mexico. Olusegun Obasanjo, former
President of Nigeria. Nick Clegg, former Deputy
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. And last but not least, Michel Kazatchkine, a doctor and
former executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis
and Malaria, from France. I will now five the floor to the commissioners.
The report is being launched globally. The report seeks to provide
recommendations at a global level although it is being launched here, in Mexico. Good morning. First of all,
on behalf of the President of our Commission, Mrs. Dreifuss, I want to thank all of you,
representatives of several sectors of society, those with an interest in this issue, our friends
from the press, for attending this event to launch the latest report of the
Global Commission on Drug Policy. My President has asked me to
tell you a bit about the history of this Global Commission. In fact,
the immediate predecessor of the Global Commission is
the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. More than
10 years, almost 12 years, from now former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso,
from Brazil, former President César Gaviria, here today,
and myself decided to decided to convene a group of high-standing figures from Latin America
to reflect on the issue of drugs, organized crime, and the impact
the issue had not only on the security and
the social fabric of our countries, but also about the strength of
our democracies. At the beginning of 2009, after several
months, more than a year, of discussions, we published our brief report on
the issue that we had agreed to address. That report really sparked a debate,
created a lot of interest, and we thought, even institutions and
organizations such at the Organization of American States, following on what we had
written in that report felt encouraged to open a
debate on the same issue. In the light of our success,
we decided to convene a new commission
not restricted to people from Latin America, but we thought it was
important to invite people from other regions in the world and thus
the Global Commission was born. I must say that, beyond the three people that started
the effort back then, we convened people from other
countries in Latin America. The other Mexican in that Commission
was Enrique Krauze. From Central America, we had Sergio Ramírez. From Brazil,
we had several people and one of them was Paulo Coelho. From Colombia, we had
a member of the army. From Peru, we had Mario Vargas Llosa.
In short, we did our best so that the group was a diverse group and
it represented different currents of thought. The same
premise encouraged us to convene the Global Commission.
First of all, we obviously wanted to be sure that they were people with
a certain intellectual and professional reputation, but we also wanted them
to represent different ways of thinking. We wanted, for example, people
coming from different ideological or even partisan currents.
For example, from the United States, our two members (actually they were
three, but one sadly already passed away), but we had the former Secretary of the Treasury
and former Secretary of State of the United States, George Shultz, he is a
member of the Commission. Paul Volcker, former President of the
US Federal Reserve. Whitehead, who was someone who had also
been at the service of Republican administrations. In short, we tried to make it a
very diverse group. Let me give you, though I do not usually
like long lists of names, let me mention those who are part and
have been part of this Commission. We have Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi.
He has already been mentioned, Pavel Bém, former Mayor of Prague
and member of the Czech Parliament. We have businessman Richard Branson.
I already mentioned President Cardoso, of course, who was our first President.
Maria Cattaui, who is here as well, comes from the private sector,
but she is also a person with a huge commitment to humanitarian causes. We have Helen Clark,
former Prime Minister of New Zealand and administrator of the United Nations
Development Program. We have Nick Clegg, who just arrived from Spain and who
was the leader of the Liberal Party and Deputy Prime Minister. Of course, our President
Ruth Dreifuss, from Switzerland, who was the President of the
Swiss Confederation, and whom everyone recognizes as the person who had
the courage of questioning the drug policies of the Swiss government and to formulate,
promote and implement a different policy, which solved a crisis which was
afflicting Switzerland, but particularly the city of Zurich,
and which has avoided what was then a chaotic situation. I have already mentioned,
obviously, President Gaviria, from Colombia. We have Anand Grover, former
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, from India.
We have doctor Michel Kaza… I always pronounce your name wrong.
Kazatchkine, who has an extraordinary track record
in the field of public health. We have Alexander Kwaśniewski,
former President of Poland. President Ricardo Lagos, from Chile,
is also a member of the Commission. President Obasanjo, here with us,
former President of Nigeria. George Papandreou, from Greece,
former Prime Minister. José Ramos-Horta, former President of East Timor.
We have the former President of Portugal, Jorge Sampaio. I already mentioned
former Secretary George Shultz. We have Javier Solana, who was Education
and Culture Minister in Spain, Foreign Affairs Minister, and later NATO Secretary General, and then, for ten years, a sort of Foreign Affairs Minister
of the European Union. Our dear Mario Vargas Llosa. I already mentioned Paul Volcker. But I must
also mention some who already left us, who passed away. First of all, I would like to mention
our much admired Carlos Fuentes. Carlos Fuentes was a member of the
Commission and he was also the editor of the first report
produced by the Commission. Asma Jahangir, a leader in the field of
human rights from Pakistan. Thorvald Stoltenberg,
who also passed away recently, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Norway.
I already mentioned John Whitehead, and recently we suffered the serious loss
of Kofi Annan. By way of an introduction, I would like
to mention a couple of points. As I already explained, we have put an emphasis on professional
diversity, on the let’s say political diversity of the group,
on making sure that there is not a single point of view which leads us to downplay
the spirit of research, the consideration of different perspectives, of being critical regarding
the issues we are addressing. Another very important principle, on which
we immediately agreed: we do not want make the same mistake that has
been already made by people who have traditionally promoted
current policies. And the mistake that has been made is that those
policies have often been adopted without clearly showing
whether there are any scientific grounds to adopt such policies.
The policies we have in the world, in the US, in Mexico, have been the result of ideological positions,
of scenarios of political convenience and,
too often, unfortunately, they have been inspired
by discrimination, homophobia and contempt
for other causes or arguments that should be very important for
all, including the issue of public health or human rights. And that is the
reason we said ‘no’. We are not going to decide anything from the outset.
The first thing we want to do is to review the evidence from many
different places, the evidence that has been examined by people from
several areas of knowledge according to the highest agreed standards. We are going
to consult with academic institutions that have conducted serious work in
these areas. Only to the extent that we move forward in reviewing that
evidence, we are going to draw our own conclusions.
Let’s make an effort to get rid of what we thought about this issue on the first
day and let’s make an effort in trying to understand it again, on the basis of scientific knowledge.
This has been one of the principles that we have tried to follow
rigorously throughout this experience.
We have also thought that our progress to draw conclusions
should be very cautious. We are dealing with a very serious matter.
And I must also mention that our first step was to tell ourselves that
maybe we should give the benefit of doubt to those of us who have
followed the wrong policy during so many years. Please note that I said ‘those of us’.
I also held responsibility and I followed a misguided policy. But let’s give this group, where
I might myself been included at some point, the benefit of doubt. Let’s take a look
at the outcomes of those policies to determine whether they merit the benefit of doubt.
That was the first step. What happened with prohibitionist policies, based on
prohibition, on criminalization, on repression. And when we started
to gather evidence from many countries, the result was, obviously,
devastating. Because after reviewing the evidence,
we concluded that those policies had failed miserably in virtually all the
places where they have been implemented. That was the first conclusion.
And as part of that review of the consequences, we realized that those
policies, not only in a country like the one I knew, my own country Mexico,
but all the others whose experience we reviewed, had caused worse public health problems and terrible violations of the
fundamental rights of people.
Clearly the people who use the substances we have mentioned, drugs. That was our first
concern. Look at the harms that we are causing with these policies
historically to millions and millions of people. And that’s why our first
recommendations, already in the second report of the Commission,
referred to the side of substance use, to demand and use.
We made a very clear recommendation in the sense that this should be seen,
with regards to users, as a public health issue, an issue
concerning the health of people, and not be dealt by penal or criminal systems. This was a significant conclusion, but it was not enough,
because we had to think, yes, right, if governments make that decision,
how are the substances going to be provided since they are going to be in demand,
regardless of the prohibition,
and many times regardless of repression.
And so we had to consider the other side of the market.
And again, after a challenging process of analysis and
review of experiences we came to the conclusion that we can not only
talk about demand, but we also need to talk
about the other side of the equation. And when we talked about the other side of the equation,
all together we came to this report on regulation, that we are launching today for your consideration
and the consideration of all the people who, we hope, will read, analyze and criticize it.
For us, criticisms is very important.
We do not come here seeking any applause. Frankly,
none of us wants or needs any applause. First of all,
we need a critical perspective. Of course, we need that you,
although many of you are already persuaded, but we need to persuade
many others that the policies we have pursued for almost a century are wrong.
That prohibition is wrong,
is causing a lot of harm, that prohibition must be suppressed
and we must instead have policies based on regulation. Thank you. We are going to give the floor
to President Dreifuss, who is going to talk about on how the
Global Commission came to this recommendation. Good morning everybody. Thank you for being here. Thank you for representing different
segments of the society here in Mexico: people who are working on the ground, people who have a political influence,
newspapers, journalists. I am hopeful that our message will be brought from this place
to a larger audience. We have chosen Mexico
for one important reason, and that is because Mexico is one of
the countries, perhaps the country who pays the greatest price
for these policies. When I think of all the lives that were lost,
all the people who disappeared, all the people who suffer because they couldn’t
receive the medicine they need, all the people who suffered because they
received fake substances in the black market and died because of this
consumption, all the people who needed some help
and who didn’t find it because of not enough comprehension
for what the people are living. I think we are here
at the right place to bring to the world,
and not only to Mexico, our message. Our Commission is an intellectual adventure,
if I can say so. We have tried,
from our experience, but also from many others, from the experts,
we always consulted for what we could read and learn to develop a coherent drug policy. Coherent because, at the beginning, what we proposed
were just answers to emergency situations. Our first proposals were to answer
to the question of how consumers could be protected against the harms of consumption. And we built on the experience of many countries
in harm reduction measures, helping people to consume in a way
that shall not put their health and their life at risk. But this was a first step to create in countries places
where prohibition was no longer the rule, places where they could consume
under supervision, services where they could receive what they needed
to have a safe injection, labs in which they could bring things
they bought in the black market in order to control what is in the
substance they bought. This was a kind of balance we found in seven countries
and we proposed in many countries, between prohibition and the harm
caused by prohibition in these countries. We continued in the same way, saying ‘what is another emergency caused by
the failure of drug policy’. The second was really to see that
for the large majority of the world the access to medicines
is made more difficult because of the control of these medicines
while at the same time they are considered as drugs.
We know that morphine is not accessible for the large
majority of the population in the world, who are suffering avoidable pain. A pain that could be avoided. So we proposed and this is now I think
a consensus, that this is a problem
linked to the prohibition, that the rule of the prohibition
is an obstacle for the medical support of people. The next step was to say
‘how is it possible that we treat as criminals people
who need a medical treatment, how is it possible that criminalizing people
you do not understand that this is building obstacles for the health they need, that this is an obstacle for their
reintegration in the society, that is is an obstacle for them
to find a job. So the next step was to say
‘if prohibition means criminalization, let us fight against criminalization
of drug use and drug possession’. And the next step was the same,
a response to an emergency: what happens to the little boys and girls
who are involved in drug trade, what happens to the mothers who are smuggling
from one country to the other and risk their life with little quantities of cocaine, for instance, what is the situation of the farmers
that are in front of destroyed fields, because they are also part
of the drug business. So our next step is really: proportionality for the punishment
of these people, reintegration in society,
development of measures of integration. But we were still only mitigating
the harms of prohibition. All what we did was creating responses
to emergency situations. And now we know
that the response we need is to go out of the prey of prohibition. We can help people,
but the problem will remain as long as States are not ready to
take the responsibility of organizing the market of
these substances, and taking them from criminal hands. And this is the reason why
we launch today our report on regulation, which is
a responsible control on drugs. Thank you very much.
We will now turn to Helen Clark, who will speak a bit about
the State responsibility in regulating risky goods and behaviors. I can bring you the microphone. Good morning everyone. It is my job to talk a little about
the responsibility of the State to regulate risky good and behaviors. Regulation is always about
managing risk and is a key role of governments in other areas of policy-making where risky behaviors and products
are concerned. We need only to think of tobacco,
or alcohol, or guns or pharmaceuticals or any other risky area
where governments want to regulate. So the approach taken on the report
on regulation deals with the reality of drug use and
drug markets as they are now; it acknowledges that all drugs
have risks, but where you have illegal supply,
you increase the risks. And regulation can
lower the risks. We have to regulate because are risky,
not because they are safe. Different kinds of drugs will require
different levels of regulation, depending on their risks, and the regulation will vary from
one place to another, depending on local needs. There isn’t one-size fits all. Regulation models can evolve incrementally,
as States innovate and explore what is possible. What we outline in our report is our
strong belief that regulation will allow governments to take back control of… … with an emphasis different from
European countries, especially regarding issues of safety and security, for everything that Colombia learnt
during decades to address the issues of safety and security
caused by drug trafficking. The first thing I have to say
is that we need to fight drug cartels, looking for a solution to drug problems
without fighting the cartels is simply wrong,
it does not lead us anywhere. We need to fight the cartels, but
that does not mean that the approach to domestic consumption must be repressive.
That has failed miserably in every country, particularly in the US,
where a strong State could control it but was unable to do it because people
got persuaded that it was really not so harmful and
North American youth is very prone to
those consumptions. What is the origin of this situation?
It is caused by the prohibition, just as happened in the US with the
prohibition of alcohol. Obviously, the moment on bans something,
the mafia comes in immediately, it immediately comes under the control of illegal groups,
We have walked a long way to evaluate how drug regulation works
in many countries, including all Latin American countries. And we have found
that governments and States can control drugs in a way that follows an escalating model, from
those least harmful to those most harmful, taking into account age and many other
factors. If one wants to have an
effective policy and focus on a specific town, he’ll need support from heads of households
and support from doctors, and the local press.
Because solving a problem like this is difficult.
Prohibition has been a nightmare for Mexico, for Central America,
for Colombia. A nightmare in terms of deaths and the huge harm it has caused
on the social fabric and the corruption it has spurred in our countries.
Why do I place this emphasis? On the one hand, it is very simple,
President Cardoso has already mentioned it. We, in Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador,
cannot just sit and wait until the US change their policy, because
they have not changed their policy out of laziness?
And obviously, it is easier to keep the status quo
than work on the issue. But in fact, prohibition is what caused the root problems. We have considered the
question of regulation and we believe, first, that it is a term
which is better than legalization. The problem with the word legalization,
that many people rightfully use, is that it sparks many fears.
It sparks fears among teachers, heads of households,
among families in general, a great fear because they wonder about the risks,
what will happen to my kids if my country takes this step. That has been well measured, many times in many countries,
there are statistics of all kinds: there is no evidence of increased consumption, no
evidence of things such as that people loses control because of buying drugs. That is not the case,
it is not happening and we are sure that drug regulation is a
good answer. Europeans, about 20 years ago, experimented with
some consumer conventions compatible with their policies,
they solved violence a long time ago, even if
they still have illicit drug markets, but they made a huge progress in terms of consumption.
And that can be done. And it is what I would say
that Mexico should do, not aiming at all drugs, following the needed process.
Drug policy, more than a radical and dramatic change, needs a
progressive change, countries can explore
new options and new alternatives, and try new solutions. You need to to assess if the
judicial system is robust. Otherwise, there are
some things you cannot do. You need to assess
whether you have any problem beyond the judiciary, a problem related to the
effectiveness of oversight institutions, of those institutions mandated with controlling
drugs that are scheduled to be sold. Therefore, I believe that the Commission has done a good job,
it has found a position which is balanced
and very useful for us, in Latin America, where we
are so concerned about drug trafficking. And why are we so concerned?
Because of the homicide levels. Mexicans have experienced their violence,
100,000 dead or more. We have had similar or higher levels
in aperiod of 30 years. We have been at war with drugs
for more than 30 years, and that’s what happens. Beyond changing policy, that is a decision that must be taken by the country,
beyond asking for a policy change regarding drug consumption,
in Latin America we need to think about something more radical,
which is putting pressure on the US so that they start thinking about a policy shift, because we cannot continue
contributing tens of thousands of deaths just because Americans cannot quit, for example, marijuana.
There are many evidences about that and about the usefulness of medical marijuana,
and the least harm it causes, at least, to society. I don’t know about people, it seems that neither,
but we cannot continue contributing so many deaths because of the laziness of
US politicians to approach this debate, in which nobody is engaging,
neither the governor, nor the mayor, nor the president, nor the secretaries of the Government.
Nobody, absolutely nobody. The issue has been left to the people
and people have been changing the policy, because they know that that policy failed,
it’s not because they like legalization. Legalization is a word
which also sparks fear in the US, but they have come to the conclusion that the policy already
failed and they do not want more of the same. Just as we do not want more of the same,
and not simply regarding prohibition, not more of the same with regards to the violence we suffered,
not to talk about more violence. We do not want more of the same under any circumstance. We must be able
to find a way and I hope we can find it.
Thank you very much. I leave you now with President Obasanjo,
who is going to talk a bit about how regulation can affect
the most vulnerable groups. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. As you have heard from the previous speakers, our report
is centered on regulation. A regulation to take control and supervision of drugs by governments, so that they cease to be in the hands of criminals. The concerns of some people
are legitimate concerns, I think. If this is done, what will happen to those whose
livelihoods depend on the drug market? I want to say that there are three groups
of people in this area: the drug dealers, who make huge money from drugs. They have already made a lot of money,
some of them have invested their money in properties, some have invested in other legitimate businesses, some have even gone into other
organized crime, like human trafficking
and gun trafficking. When drug markets and all the process
is regulated, these people are losing nothing, because some of them can go to their bank accounts
and they can take their money and start a new business. So they are not losing anything, and we are not worried about them. They have a very luxurious life style. The second group are
the small-scale marketers, who have other business,
and they use drug selling and drug marketing to supplement what they are
already earning. They are in towns and villages, and particularly in big cities. If they are not selling drugs they are already selling other things
or are active in other businesses. So selling drugs is just for them
to make additional or extra money. If they do not have drugs to sell,
they will survive, they will increase
their legitimate activity and make more money. The one group I want to talk
particularly about are the ones who live almost exclusively
from drug marketing. They are poor, they are vulnerable they do not have any other means
of livelihood or any support, either from the family, or from
the government or from the community. These must not be
ignored or neglected. If they are not going
to be ignored or neglected, and they have to survive, drug regulation comes in
and what we must do for them or how can they survive. Like a single mother who smuggles drugs
in her stomach to be paid and feed her children. There’s not other means.
And if you take that livelihood, what else can she do? These people should not be ignored. And this was the government approach, the things that have been done
in the period of prohibition, where the producing countries and the
consuming countries have to work together to try and find solutions. In this area too
the need for collaboration among the two
for development opportunities and providing livelihoods for those who depend on the marketing of drug business. When regulation is introduced, some of them can even
be employed in a legitimate way. In a business that
the government will settle as the result of regulating
drug marketing. In our report, we let a coca grower
from Bolivia speak. Her family has been
growing coca for decades, She has witnessed violence that
surrounded forced eradication programs, They fought back when
their livelihood was taken away without a replacement. That is even more cruel
than prohibition. But with the new government, in 2005, Bolivia started to allow the
legal growing of coca leaf under license. That is regulation. Her family has now been able
to form cooperatives with others and banks have given them loans to do legitimate business
as part of the regulation. She grows coca leaves peacefully
and without hurting anyone. For many other
small actors in the drug trade however some kind
of alternative livelihood will be needed. That must not
be avoided or ignored. Supporting those
most negatively impacted
by the failure of the war on drugs should be seen
as joint responsibility for us all, as I said earlier, for the consuming countries
and for the producing countries. It is the responsibility of all of us, it is human responsibility. That is also part of what
we have recommended in our report: that those whose livelihoods
may be affected by the introduction of regulation will not go unhelped and unprovided. Now we are going to hear
some words from Dr Michel Kazatchkine on the changes needed at
multilateral levels. Thank you very much and good morning everyone. Apologies for my voice.
I am the doctor of the Commission and, nevertheless, the one to feel
a little sick. As you know, governments deal with drugs
and drug policies within the framework of an
international drug control regime. And that international
drug control regime is governed by three
international conventions, created 30 to 60 years ago and that haven’t evolved for now up to 60 years, despite the many changes
in the landscape of drug-related issues, including the AIDS epidemic. I’d like to remind everyone here that the preamble
of the first international convention states that the aim, the main objective
of the conventions is the health and welfare of mankind. But as you’ve heard
from every speaker today that, unfortunately,
has not happened. It isn’t health and
welfare of mankind, It is actually and unfortunately,
the fact that current drug policies, policies that have been on
for the last 40 to 50 years, have failed,
as Ruth Dreifuss reminded us, to provide people in need for medical needs,
in need for management of pain or palliative care, have failed to promote access
to essential medicines to people across the world. And as you heard from all of the
other speakers, these policies, instead of promoting health,
have focused on fighting the non-medical use
through prohibition-based law enforcement. And that has lead to a huge
international black market that has led to mass incarceration, to violent deaths,
to an AIDS and hepatitis epidemic and to deaths from overdoses. A failure that we have been denouncing
in the last six years in our reports. In our report this year, we have two recommendations,
recommendations six and seven, which actually call on
governments to consider modernizing and revising this
international drug control regime so that it can better serve
the original purpose of the conventions, which is the health and welfare
of mankind. Ideally, this would mean
revising the conventions, amending the conventions in such a way
that they would allow for regulation to happen. However, that is something that hugely difficult
in the current geopolitical context, this is something that may take a lot of time, despite the pressure that, I am sure, legalization and legal regulation of
marijuana in many countries, Canada, Uruguay
and a number of states in the US, will put on the international system. But until this happens, however, there are a number of options that governments can consider. There are a number of available options that
we list and discuss in our report. For example, what is called
respectful non-compliance, which is the road that
Canada is apparently taking these days, acknowledging the fact that, legalizing and introducing
legal regulation of marijuana in Canada, acknowledging that
this is against the conventions. This is, again, called
respectful non-compliance. Another model is what Bolivia did
years ago with coca leaves, which is, it withdrew from the convention
and then came back to the convention with what was called a reservation. I will not go here into technical details, just to say that there are options available
that governments can use before we are actually in a position to reopen the debate
and amend the conventions. Our report also calls for
a reform of the governance of drugs
and drug-related issues at the United Nations. Currently there is one agency in the UN that is coordinating all of the work and having all the responsibility: this is called UNODC, the United Nations Organization
on Drugs and Crime. It has existed for about 20 years and it resulted from the fusion of an office on drugs
and an office on crime. As you can guess, many of us would have preferred a United Nations office on drugs and health or a United Nations office
on drugs and human rights. But it is on crime,
and that really gives the tendency. So we think that should also change and our call is that the governance
of drug issues at the United Nations level is cooperative, connected-governance
of all of the agencies that are concerned: the World Health Organization for health, UNAIDS for AIDS, UNDP, the United Nations Development Program, for development, UNICEF for issues associated with adolescence, UN Women, because women are
disproportionately affected in many ways
by drug issues. So to us, again, the time is to call on the reform,
on how drugs and drug policies are governed at the international level, so that the new governance
can fully reflect the fact that this is not just a crime issue
it’s far from a crime issue, it is an issue of
health and human rights. Thank you. Nick Clegg will talk about different drugs,
different regions, different models. I’d like to explain two points.
And I’ll try to do it quickly, to give you the time to ask your own questions.
And the two points are very simple. First: if or when we regulate
the drug market, there are several options
as to how regulate the market. Second: there are several
measures we can adopt to avoid, as Helen Clark explained before,
the over-commercialization in a drug market under public control.
If you have the report with you, if you turn to page 14
in the English version, you will see there an indicative list
of the range of ways in which a regulated sale of drugs
could be made available to consumers, depending on the potency and
the potential harm and risk of the drugs in question, depending on its
toxicity and dependency potential. So for the riskiest drugs,
we can adopt an approach of medical prescription, very similar
to the heroin-assisted treatment in Switzerland. For the next tier of drugs,
we can envisage specialist pharmacies, such as the model adopted for retail sale of
cannabis in Uruguay, where you have pharmacies similarly licensed
and trained professionals who can serve as gatekeepers
to the retail sale of drugs. For the next tier of drugs,
you can have licensed outlets, which can provide not only drugs,
but clear conditions on price, marketing,
sales for minors, mandated information on
the packaging of the product, and so on. The cannabis retail stores
which are envisaged in Canada are following that model. For the next tier down,
you have just licensed premises, similar to the cannabis coffee shops that you have in The Netherlands,
where you have licensed premises which sell lower risk drugs
for on-site consumption. And then, of course, for the lowest tier of drugs,
like coffee or coca tea, we could have unlicensed retail. In other words, when people talk about
legalizing or regulating the sale of drugs, far too often politicians and commentators imagine
that would lead to a laissez-faire free-for-all. In fact, what this report shows
is the exact opposite: that the regulated sale allows,
through different means, to carefully control,
take back control on the way in which drugs
are made available to consumers through those different means. And the final point is that,
as colleagues of mine previously said, there is a legitimate concern
about the over-commercialization of a licensed, legally regulated
drugs market. And again, if you turn, in the English version,
to page 16 of this excellent report, you will see some clear models there
whereby the over-commercialization of a
regulated drugs market can be avoided. At one end, you could go all the way through
to a State monopoly control of part or all the market.
That is not new. I remember many many years ago
buying alcohol in a State outlet in Helsinki, when I was a teenager,
that was the way to get vodka in Helsinki. Many of the Canadian provinces
are adopting a similar State monopoly for the legal cannabis supply, and in Uruguay the government is
the sole buyer of licensed cannabis. As set in the report, I am
not going to read it to you: If you don’t want State monopoly control,
you can limit the market of certain plant-based
drugs to personal cultivation, not-for-profit sharing or
not-for-profit membership-based club models, such as the Spanish
cannabis socials clubs, which have also been adopted
in Belgium and Uruguay. You can limit the size of the businesses
that are allowed to participate in a market and/or you could restrict market access to
non-profit entities or to social enterprises. The essential point I want to reiterate is that the approach we have taken here
is one which allows, under government control, far greater administration,
in great detail, when drugs,
depending on their dependency or toxicity, are made available to consumers. Thank you. We will now have Maria Cattaui,
who is going to talk about the economic consequences. Thank you. Just a brief word to follow up
on what many of my colleagues said. I come from the business world and, for many years,
I led a world business organization with businesses from a 130 countries and
business people from all over. None of us could ever understand, ever,
why people didn’t look at the cost of punitive and repressive policies. It is a complete illogical insanity
what we have done for 50 years. The cost of states, we think,
it’s an estimate of a 100 million dollars a year, just for repression. That doesn’t bring into account
the cost of human lives, of the social deterioration of families
and communities. It doesn’t even start to take that into account. Just the punitive repressive enforcement costs. We could never understand why
nobody had looked at the figures. It is very clear that just one small step to move from that into a health framework would cost much less,
much much less. And on top of that, it doesn’t even begin
to take into account the cost that my colleagues here have said of the illegal market. We don’t know what it is because it’s illegal
and because it’s not transparent, because it’s a black market. So that is hundreds of millions dollars
a year, should we add a zero after that? And what does it do? Think of the cost of the corruption it engenders, the cost that we are taking from our countries, our governments and our communities could be put into much more productive ends. It’s something that is totally illogical, even without the concept that we are
putting forward today of regulation. And regulation can also bring some other thing that, in the economic world,
we think it’s a good thing, which is to turn a black market into
a transparent, open and regulated market. And that is not just the regulation that
Nick Clegg has just mentioned, but like all businesses,
it comes into a regulation that actually promotes taxes. So there’s absolutely no economic logic, and there’s no business logic, and there’s no accounting logic,
to what we’ve been doing. And this report is very clear: that on all accounts, openness
and transparency are concerned for human dignity and
the cost for humans. It’s in our hands. Good morning. I have been asked a simple task: to summarize has already been said today by our distinguished colleagues and to highlight jut seven simple but important recommendations of the 2018 Global Commission report. Before I do so, I would like
to share with you a dream. The presidents talked yesterday about
a wonderful metaphor of the North Star, shining in the sky, giving hope
to the lonely sailor who has been lost during
a night storm in the sea. Well, our dream is about the
international drug control regime, where governments are put in control of effective drug markets regulation, instead of organized crime. A dream where organized crime rules
are disempowered, their powers undermined
by the government regulation. A dream about the health
and welfare of humankind, which is protected on one side, and the peace and security, and sustainable
development preserved, on the other side. To achieve, to fulfill, to make
this dream come true, the Global Commission is coming
with seven recommendations in its 2018 report. In fact, it’s not a dream,
it’s more of a vision or even a specific strategy
on how to move forward within national and
international drug reforms. Number one: currently prohibited drugs
should be regulated. We heard about that
from my distinguished colleagues and other speakers. Certainly this process is difficult and
has a lot of risks, and we have concerns about the
over-commercialization of this reform, but we know that looking at the alcohol and tobacco
regulation will bring many positive and promising
experiences. We can learn from that. Number two: Policymakers should seek evidence on the legal regulation of drugs, and must open local and national participatory processes to shape the reforms. In fact, this is our role,
policymakers: serving for the governments,
national, local and international organizations to collect the evidence, and to analyze and compare, not only drug policy regulations, but any public regulation, to look and compare at the social,
economic and environmental dimensions and impact of what we are doing. A one side prohibition, as we heard
from professor Kazatchkine, doesn’t work. It brings an enormous burden. The size of organized crime, which
is estimated at 300 billion dollars a year, is the largest illicit market in the world. Number three: we have a lot of challenges ahead. One of them is, for example, is that drug policy reform was dominated until now
by developed countries, by rich economies. And it’s absolutely relevant
to think and introduce a drug regulation also in developing countries, with weak economies or
weak or fragile institutions. So recommendation number three: States should consider experimenting with
the incremental regulation of lower-potency drugs. That means searching for the priorities
in the regulation process, for example looking at the substances
with a traditional or historical use in certain countries, or looking at the substances with
the highest prevalence of use in the national context. Another challenge is, a number four recommendation: policymakers must not leave behind
people affected by prohibition in the process of transition
to drug market regulation. What does that mean? We know that there is a huge
number of individuals marginalized for poverty reasons,
for the lack of opportunities, who are involved in
non-violent criminal activities. So not leaving them behind
is extremely important in the recommendations and concerns
we are talking about in our report. Number five recommendation is linked to the regulation which holds the promise of undermining
the power of organized crime. States must maximize
the development opportunities offered by the regulation of drug markets. For example, as we’ve heard
from Maria, the opportunity of liberating resources which can be used in any
other more reasonable and effective way. Number six and seven,
the last recommendations, is linked to the structure of the
international drug control system or regime. UN Member States should consider
the different options for modernizing the international drug control regime. And finally, for this process, we need a leadership. Once certainly could think that the Global
Commission on Drug Policy is bringing some leadership, and that
might be true, but it’s not enough. So the last recommendation is: the UN Secretary-General should take the lead on reforming the governance of the international
drug control regime. Then, we can succeed.
Thank you very much, Pavel. We are going to have the time
for two questions from the audience. If you want to pose a question,
here you have a microphone. Well, we are going to take two questions.
Well, I see someone on this side, and if there’s any other person on
the other side… yes, one here. Thank you. I am Mr. García, from Mexico, my question is: There is legislation by the new Mexican Congress and Senators, as far as we know,
the new President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will promote a legislation reform to allow marijuana, cannabis, and poppy to be produced legally by the industrial sector
and pharmaceutical companies, promoting a new distribution system and helping drug users. I’d like to know which are the main topics for considering in a new legislation, to turn from a prohibition model
into a new market model. Thank you for your answer. Thank you very much. We are going to take the
second question and then we’ll answer, if possible a short questions,
so that we have the time to answer. Good morning. My name is Pedro
and my question is: I just heard that you talk
about 300 billion dollars in this black market. Wouldn’t there be another way
to suppress organized crime through the fiscalization of
financial systems? Wouldn’t that be another way
to control them? I agree with what you say, of course,
but what about the financial systems? That would be my question.
Thank you. It would take very long
to explore here all the models that we hope are considered, not only in
Mexico, but elsewhere in the world, to transition into a regulation policy.
The truth is that we, as commissioners, would like to
make sure that this report and the rest of reports we have on the issue
– the Commission has produced three main reports, including these,
but really a great deal of reports that show the research that
the Commission has undertaken or consulted with experts on different
aspects. So we would like you to help us so that these reports,
which you have here printed, but are also available
in the Commission’s website, and many have been translated into Spanish,
by the way, get to the relevant authorities, current or future,
so that these ideas are considered to the extent
we think they deserve. So if you can help us in this task,
we will be very grateful. On the financial system issue, well, I think that’s already happening:
financial institutions are subject to very strict and harsh regulations,
with very high penalties regarding money laundering.
Frankly, this has already been done for many years, and
it has been found that this needs to be done, certainly, not only
on drug issues, but regarding tax evasion and other organized crime issues,
and of course, financial authorities must keep
deeply engaged, but that is not the answer to this problem
because these financial controls remain to be part of an approach
based on prohibition and punishment. What we need is to reduce the scale, virtually suppress,
black markets, as if we succeed in that, then
we’ll know that less resources will get to financial systems to try
to get laundered. So I agree with you on the fact that regulatory
authorities must be very strict with financial institutions to keep on avoiding and sanctioning
money laundering. But it is not the solution to the drug problem, because it remains
within the context of prohibition. What we are saying is that if
you really want to put an end to or reduce to a minimal scale the black market,
we must do what is needed to make sure that market ceases
to be controlled by criminals and is controlled by the state; that the state
must not waive its responsibility control these markets because,
otherwise, it is creating many problems of
security, public health, promotion of violence. Thank you very much to everyone. Sorry
that we did not have more time for questions, but hopefully the discussion
will follow. I think it is clear that there is a pro-reform movement, not only here, in
Mexico, but globally. That there is a paradigm shift going on
and that we have the evidence and the expertise that are needed to strengthen
these policies. Hopefully, Mexico seizes this opportunity to reform its
drug policies and, through a responsible regulation, puts,
as everyone said today, human rights, public health and
development at the center. We end here and thank you everyone for being here today.

1 comment on “Global Commission on Drug Policy 2018 report launch on Regulation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *