The use of punishments such as incarceration for those involved in the illicit drug trade has long been relied upon a deterrent. However, it has resulted in the imposition of disproportionate sentencing (including the use of the death penalty) and overcrowded prisons, with high risks to health, social cohesion and human rights. Some countries and jurisdictions are now moving towards decriminalisation, alternatives to prison and the regulation of some markets.
The Constitutional Court of Georgia has declared unconstitutional the imprisonment for illegal sowing, growing and cultivation at a time when parliament is also considering the reviewing of the draft package in changing the law for decriminalization of all drugs.
The New Zealand Drug Foundation has proposed new drug laws that would decriminalise all drugs, and create a regulated cannabis market. Executive director Ross Bell outlines the foundation’s model drug law.
In Asia, drug policies are used to erode human rights and silence dissenting voices. This adversarial relationship between the state and its citizens displaces the state's responsibility to protect its population.