UN/WHO Statement Appears to Call for Drug Law Reforms

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In a statement on ending discrimination in health care settings, the United Nations and World Health Organization appear to call for reviewing and repealing laws for “drug use or possession of drugs for personal use.”

The language is included in a section outlining a position to review and repeal “punitive laws that have been proven to have negative health outcomes and that counter established public health evidence.”

“These include laws that criminalize or otherwise prohibit gender expression, same sex conduct, adultery and other sexual behaviors between consenting adults; adult consensual sex work; drug use or possession of drugs for personal use; sexual and reproductive health care services, including information; and overly broad criminalization of HIV non-disclosure, exposure or transmission,” the statement says.

The proclamation comes as several U.N. states, such as Germany, Mexico, Greece, and Israel (among others) have moved to federally legalize medical cannabis, and other U.N. nations, such as Canada and Uruguay, begin rolling out adult-use regimes.

In 2013, the U.N. issued a statement on cannabis legalization in Colorado and Washington, saying that the programs violate the U.N. Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs of 1961. However, three years later, the U.N. Expert Committee on Drug Dependence moved for a review on possibly rescheduling cannabis under international law. That review is expected 18 months from the Nov. 30, 2016 meeting.

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