Even as U.S. President Donald Trump was using the meeting Monday of the United Nations General Assembly to try to create a hardline global drug policy coalition – a group that includes a dozen former heads of state from countries around the planet issued a report urging governments to embrace alternatives to a ‘failed’ repressive drug war.
Instead the group argued – countries should begin to try to implement regulated markets for illicit substances.
While Trump spoke in New York City the Global Commission on Drug Policy chose to launch its report Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs with a press conference in Mexico City – capital of a nation frequently scapegoated by Trump for America’s drug crises – but which has itself suffered mightily from the demons unleashed by drug prohibition.
The county’s death toll in a decade of heightened prohibition-related cartel and government violence now exceeds 200,000—the kind of figure associated more with festering civil wars than with law enforcement problems.
One of Mexico’s former presidents Ernesto Zedillo is a member of the commission – established in 2011 by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan – along with former presidents and prime ministers of Brazil – Chile – Colombia – East Timor – Greece – Malawi – New Zealand – Nigeria – Poland – Portugal and Switzerland.
The group also includes notable global figures such as Richard Branson and Mario Vargas Llosa as well as American political names such as former Secretary of State George Shultz and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker.