The Global Initiative For Drug Policy Reform
Westminster Public Letter Drug Control Un flags New Approaches

Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform

Read the Beckley Foundation Public Letter signed by 9 Presidents, 12 Nobel Laureates, and many other global figures.

The global drug prohibition system began 50 years ago...

Three international Drug Conventions represent the biggest obstacle to reform.

The Global War on Drugs has Failed.

It is time to consider alternatives.

Sign_petitionglobal-initiative-17nov2011Cannabis Map

Quotes & Facts

You can't fight violence with violence


Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador


We are urging the prime minister to bring forward an all party commission to examine our drug laws which are simply not working


Baroness Manningham-Buller


I am an instinctive libertarian who abhors state prohibitions and tends to be sceptical of most government action, whether targeted against drug use or anything else.


David Cameron


Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.


Jimmy Carter, 1977


"[The War on Drugs is] an utter failure... We need to rethink how we are operating in the drug wars because currently we are not doing a good job."


Barack Obama, 2004


I ask the Labour government not to return to retribution and war on drugs. That has been tried and we all know that it does not work.


David Cameron, 2002


"We have gone through a tremendous experience. We have lost our best judges, our best politicians, our best journalists, our best policemen in this fight against drugs and the problem's still there."



President Santos of Colombia


"That which is prohibited cannot easily be regulated."
 Beckley Foundation's Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate



In 2010, there were approximately 42,000 drug related murders in Mexico alone. These murders are a direct consequence of the US and Mexico's War on Drugs



The world need to discuss new approaches... We are basically still thinking within the same framework as we have done for the last 40 years.


President Santos of Colombia


Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marijuana does not, in our considered judgement, rank very high.


US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972


The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal is socially self-defeating



US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972


The disparity in arrest and imprisonment rates for drug offences between white and black people in England and Wales is even greater than has been calculated for the US


Alex Stevens Report


African Americans are three times more likely to be arrested and ten times more likely to be imprisoned for drug offences than white Americans, despite the absence of evidence of higher rates of drug use or dealing



Alex Stevens Report


No one should be stigmatized or discriminated against because of their dependence on drugs


Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN


The international drug control conventions are, with respect to cannabis at least, an utterly irrational restraint that has nothing to do with scientific or  public health considerations


Report of the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs: Cannabis


Globally 210 million people use illicit substances each year


UN Office on Drugs and Crime


 The UK Government has estimated that over 50% of property related crime is committed by heroin and crack cocaine addicted users looking to fund their habit


UK Prime Minister's No. 10 Strategy Unit


 The UK, which compared to many European states has a very draconian drug policy, has some of the highest levels of drug use in Europe


European Monitoring Centre for the Misuse of Drugs and Drug Addiction


Banning without evidence of harm is misconceived and may cause more problems than it solves


Professor David Nutt


The War on AIDS is a public health emergency, not an appendage of the war on drugs


Lancet Volume 349


Portugal's strategic retreat has done more good in its 10 short years than 30 years of criminalisation


Chris Berg, Sydney Morning Herald


People don't take anything because it's legal, they take it because they like it


Fiona Measham, Sociologist


Moral outrage has turned out to be a poor basis for policy


The Economist


Because the illegality of drugs keeps the prices high, there are high salaries to be made in selling them



CATO Institute


If there War on Drugs were terminated, the main factor keeping race-based resentment a core element in the American social fabric would no longer exist


CATO Institute


The international community increasingly accepts that drug use is as much a public health problem as it is a public safety problem


US Department of State


The data show that the Portuguese decriminalisation framework has been a resounding success


CATO Institute




Switzerland stands out as a powerful case for how evidence-based drug policy can be developed and why change is necessary


Open Society Global Drug Policy Program


Moving from a sanction-oriented approach to a health-oriented one is in agreement with a large body of scientific evidence


UN Office on Drugs and Crime


Fighting a war on drugs by legalizing drug use and taxing consumption may be more effective than continuing to prohibit the legal use of drugs


Profs Gary Becker, Kevin Murphy, Michael Grossman


We know treatment works: for every £1 spent, £3 is saved in criminal justice costs


Bob Ainsworth


Existing evidence suggests that drug related violence and high homicide rates are likely a natural consequence of drug prohibition


Urban Health Research Initiative


Badly designed drug law enforcement practices can actually increase the level of violence, intimidation and corruption associated with drug markets


Global Commission on Drug Policy


The United Nations makes a conservative estimate that there are currently 250 million illicit drug users in the world - we simply cannot treat them all as criminals


Global Commission on Drug Policy


In a time of fiscal austerity, we can no longer afford to maintain multi-billion dollar investments that have largely symbolic value


Global Commission on Drug Policy


The belief that we all need to have exactly the same laws, restrictions, and programmes, has been an unhelpful restriction


Global Commission on Drug Policy


The drug conventions need to be subject to constant review and modernisation in the light of changing and variable circumstances


Global Commission on Drug Policy


Trying to manage drug addiction through punishment is ineffective


Global Commission on Drug Policy


The primary measure of success should be the reduction of harm to the health and welfare of individuals and society



Global Commission on Drug Policy


Drug policies must be based on solid empirical and scientific evidence

Global Commission on Drug Policy


There are 743 people in prison for every 100,000 Americans, a higher portion than in any other country and seven times as great as in Europe. Some 7.2 million people are either in prison or on probation or parole — more than 3 percent of all American adults!
Jimmy Carter, 2011


"The Global War on Drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world"
Global Commission on Drug Policy


The Global Initiative

The War on Drugs has failed.
It is time for politicians and the public to press for urgent policy reform.

The Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform was launched at the House of Lords on 17.11.2011.
The Initiative brings together countries interested in reform, countries that have successfully implemented alternative drug policies, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

The aim is to create a forum to discuss new evidence and reports, starting from a shared belief that reforming global drug policy is one of the key challenges of our time .

The taboo on debate must end.  
It is time for reform.

Breaking the Taboo

Czech Republic



Latin America


Cannabis Commission


New Approaches


War on Drugs

Drug Control

Re-writing Treaties

Reform Principles

Global Initiative


Legal Highs







Human Rights