The Economist – Espresso, “Aiming high: narcotics reform”

Can illicit drugs get any less cool? Today a groovy gang including former heads of the UN and Federal Reserve, plus ex-presidents and prime ministers from Latin America, Europe and Africa, will call for lighter dope laws. The Global Commission on Drug Policy has previously recommended that users be let off with civil penalties, like fines, rather than criminal sanctions. It now wants penalties to be scrapped altogether for users, and for those who grow their own supply. This comes ten days after four more American states, including California, voted to legalise recreational cannabis. Three-fifths of Americans now live somewhere where pot is legal, including for loosely defined “medical” purposes. The Global Commissioners say users of all drugs should be spared punishment since they harm only themselves. For now, that is only half right: in most of the world, the $300-bn drugs business is still run by the mafia.


Featured in The Economist’s “Espresso” morning news app, 21 November .