Home / News / From Bloody Drug War to Legal Pot: 10 Global Drug Policy Highlights (and Lowlights) of 2017

From Bloody Drug War to Legal Pot: 10 Global Drug Policy Highlights (and Lowlights) of 2017

Opium field, Afghanistan
Photo Credit: UNODC

1. In the Philippines, Duterte’s Bloody Drug War Rages On

Undeterred by general criticism, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte continued his ruthless fight on small-time drug users and sellers throughout 2017, with Human Rights Watch estimating that some 12,000 people, almost all of them poor, have been killed given Jun 2016. Poor neighborhoods have also been subjected to warrantless searches and door-to-door drug testing, and thousands some-more people have been detained in insalubrious conditions.

2. Indonesia Starts Going Down Duterte’s Path


Indonesian President Joko Widodo must have favourite what he was seeing one archipelago over, given in July, he started sounding like his Filipino counterpart. To fight the country’s “narcotic emergency,” he said, police should “gun down” foreigners suspected of drug trafficking if they “resist arrest.” At year’s end, the National Narcotics group proudly reported it had killed 79 people in drug raids during 2017, and arrested some-more than half a million, of whom 1,523 were announced rehabilitated after drug treatment. In 2016, Widodo had systematic that 100,000 people accept drug treatment, but there don’t seem to be any resources for that.

3. Norway Moves to Decriminalize All Drug Use

In December, the Norwegian council sent a clever vigilance that it wants to decriminalize drug use and possession, voting to direct the supervision to start making changes in the laws. Legislation that would actually order the changes has nonetheless to be drafted, but Norway is on the way.

4. Uruguay Legal Marijuana Sales Begin

It took some-more than 3 years after the country ratified pot before it happened, but it happened this year: Pharmacies began selling pot approach to business in July, making Uruguay the first country in the universe to assent the authorised prolongation and sale of marijuana.

5. Nevada Becomes Fifth U.S. State to Allow Legal Marijuana Sales, More Coming Online Soon

Uruguay may be the first country to legalize marijuana, but now, eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia have finished it, and the first four—Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington—all concede recreational pot sales. Four states ratified it in Nov 2016, but only Nevada got authorised sales up and using in 2017. But watch out, a tidal call is coming: Legal sales start in California, with its race of scarcely 40 million, on Jan 1. Oh, and Maine and Massachusetts will start authorised sales someday in 2018.

6. Mexico Drug War Mayhem at Record Levels

Eleven years after President Felipe Calderon announced fight on the drug cartels and sent in the military, things are worse than ever. According to supervision crime statistics, 2017 was the bloodiest year nonetheless with some-more than 27,000 murders as splintering drug trafficking organizations fight a multi-sided fight among themselves and against the police and military (when the police and military aren’t behaving on interest of conglomeration factions). The year brought other grave milestones as well: More than 200,000 dead, an estimated 30,000 missing, some-more than 850 surreptitious graves uncovered. All to keep Americans good granted with the drugs we adore to hate—or hatred to love.

7. Iran Moves to Drastically Reduce Drug Executions

The Islamic Republic has prolonged been one of the world’s heading executioners of drug offenders, but that could be about to change. In August, the Iranian council certified an amendment that significantly raises the bar for imperative executions for certain drug offenses. The amendment dramatically increases the quantities of drugs indispensable to trigger a judgment of death or life in jail and should outcome in hundreds of people being spared execution any year. But it’s not a finished understanding yet: It still must be certified by the Guardian Council, a physique of 12 Islamic jurists, to safeguard it complies with the Iranian structure and their interpretation of sharia law.

8. U.S. Heightens Afghan Drug War, First Round of Bombing Campaign Kills Dozens

In August, President Trump certified new manners of rendezvous for American forces in Afghanistan, permitting them to aim the Taliban directly with air strikes. Previously, air strikes had been allowed only in support of Afghan couple operations or to strengthen U.S. or NATO troops under attack. In November, US military commanders done the first use of that management by bombing 10 Taliban-controlled drug prolongation comforts in Helmand province, leaving a fee of at slightest 44 dead. The aim is to interrupt Taliban funding, but it looks like there’s copiousness some-more work to do: The Pentagon says the Taliban have another 400 to 500 heroin labs. And with fender drug crops in 2017, they have copiousness of work to do, too.

9. Colombia’s Bumper Coca Harvests Prompt U.S. Pressure to Resume Aerial Eradication

Colombia just came off a fender year for coca and heroin production, but that’s mostly an artifact of the assent allotment between FARC and the government, which offering assistance to coca growers wishing to transition to other crops, so enlivening farmers to grow coca so they could validate for the program. But such nuances matter little to the Trump administration, which is pressuring the Colombian supervision to return the aerial fumigation of coca crops with potentially carcinogenic herbicides.

10. In Sanctions-Busting Move, North Korea Ups Meth Production

The regime in Pyongyang has prolonged been accused of resorting to drug trafficking to help financial its oft-sanctioned military activities, and it looks like it’s up to its old tricks. In Aug came reports that state-affiliated companies and universities were “ramping up” the prolongation of methamphetamine as a means of receiving desperately indispensable unfamiliar currency. With some-more sanctions, design some-more North Korean meth.

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

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