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Global War on drugs continues to fail, leaders seek change

Change is in the air ... or is that pot? Depending on which state you are in, the smell of marijuana in the air may be a legal one, at least under state law. Although many states like New York continue to outlaw the sale of marijuana, a handful like Colorado has made possession of the drug legal. Federal law remains the same, leading to one of the many issues world leaders tackled at a recent session at the United Nations.

Is the Global War on drugs working?

The session was called by leaders from Mexico, Guatemala and Columbia in an effort to update the Global War on drugs. The Global War on drugs stems back to policies that were adopted from the 1960s through 1988. The agreement led to the outlaw of controlled substances like marijuana.

Guatemalan, Mexican and Columbian leaders, arguably three of the country's most impacted by this agreement, are questioning the use of enforcement to fight the war on drugs. Instead these leaders and a number of allies are encouraging a shift in focus. Instead of focusing on incarceration and enforcement, a call is made to focus on rehabilitation and treatment.

Will there be a shift towards rehabilitation instead of incarceration?

Secretary of State John Kerry appears to support the use of rehabilitation and treatment in a recent statement in The New York Times. The Secretary states that the country is "seeing tremendous advances in our understanding of drug dependency and our ability to address substance use disorders as a public health - rather than a strictly criminal justice - challenge." With support of leaders like this, it may be only a matter of time before drug laws evolve into a stronger treatment portion and a potentially smaller incarceration period.

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Robert D. DiDio
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