Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Amerícas: OAS General Assembly Ends Without Considering Decriminalization of Drugs

According to The Associated Press, the General Assembly  of the 35-member Organization of American States (OAS) ended its meeting on Friday (June 7) in Antigua without including the themes of decriminalizing or legalizing drugs in its final declaration as some countries had hoped.

The three-day OAS meeting was held amid growing frustration in the region over the number of people killed in the battle against drug trafficking. Host country Guatemala, whose president has pressed for some form of legalization, had predicted the declaration would include a change in anti-drug policy in The Amerícas.

COMMENT: Unfortunately, OAS Secretary-General José Miguel Insulza of Chile, representing his country's Socialist Party, perhaps should have taken a more neutral stance, rather than release a paper before the General Assembly urging that member nations consider the decriminalization of illegal drugs.

Fortunately, there are far more member states that have public policies and criminal penalties prohibiting the possession, use and trafficking in illegal drugs than those who advocate decriminalization.

It is with regret that the US states of Colorado and Washington have recently decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, even as scientific data underlines that cannabis is a "gate-way" drug.

Another key factor is the large number of global law enforcement officers who have been serious injured and killed enforcing their governments' criminal statutes governing illegal drugs.

In a related development, the leftist-led nations of Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Bolivia have withdrawn as members of the Inter-American Defense Board.