Tomorrow Central American presidents are convening in Guatemala to discuss alternative strategies to the failed war on drugs. The host of the meeting, President Otto Perez Molina, has said that all options, including decriminalization and legal regulation, will be on the table.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a growing number of former presidents and prime ministers denounce the drug war and call for breaking the taboo on discussing alternatives to failed prohibitionist policies. But now, we’re hearing the same calls from current presidents and prime ministers.
When I traveled to Guatemala and Mexico a few weeks ago to meet with business leaders and top officials, I was struck by the growing number of prominent individuals who at last are willing to speak out. They’re fed up with U.S. government demands that they persist with policies that are so obviously ineffective and counter-productive. And they are emboldened by the rapidly growing number of leaders who dare to speak truth to power.
When Vice President Biden visited the region a few weeks ago, he acknowledged that legalization was now a legitimate subject of debate — even as he insisted the Obama administration still firmly opposes legalization. That acknowledgement represented a modest but important new step forward. We know, however, that U.S. officials are doing whatever they can behind the scenes to suppress this discussion.
An overwhelming majority of Americans know the war on drugs is a complete failure and half of all Americans want marijuana legalized. We are on the cusp of a tipping point. Latin American leaders need to know that tens of millions of Americans support their efforts to open the debate, and that U.S. diplomats and other officials no longer represent the majority of Americans on this issue. Encourage them to push forward with drug policy reform today!
Despite the U.S. government’s steadfast refusal to part ways with the status quo, the momentum among people in the U.S. and Central America to consider drug war alternatives only continues to grow. In advance of the meeting, we need to encourage Latin America to continue to push for drug policy reform — take action now!
The meeting of Central American presidents this weekend is extremely promising for the drug policy reform movement around the world. With more countries calling for new approaches to drug policy, it is increasingly difficult for the U.S. to ignore the legitimacy of this burgeoning debate.
From Drug Policy Alliance