From November 12-14, over 1,000 participants came together at the 2009 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was the Reform Conference’s strongest, most diverse gathering of people, issues, co-hosts, and partner organizations yet.

The conference focused on the rapidly changing political climate and forward-thinking issues, such as systems for marijuana regulation, supervised injection sites in the U.S., and shifting drug use from a criminal justice to a health issue. It brought together several current and former policymakers, such as former New Mexico Governor and 2012 Presidential hopeful Gary Johnson and former Mexican foreign minister Jorge Castañeda.

The conference reflected the diversity of our growing movement, with the largest contingent ever from outside the U.S. – more than 150 international participants representing 33 countries. There were more sessions on international issues, cutting edge marijuana debates, psychedelics, and drug treatment than at any previous Reform Conference. Some of the panels that focused on international policy included “Communication and Outreach Without Borders,” “After Vienna: Prospects for International and UN Reform,” “Mexico’s Failed War: The Internal Battle,” “Global Drug Prohibition: Costs, Consequences and Alternatives,” “Economic Analysis of the Global Drug Prohibition Regime,” “What’s Going on in Europe,” “Drug User Organizing,” “Heroin-Assisted Treatment,” and “Confronting the U.S. War on Drugs in Latin America: Local and Regional Strategies.”

We were also able to grant more conference scholarships than ever before, giving more than 300 people the opportunity to attend the conference who wouldn’t have had the resources to do so otherwise.

The conference generated a flurry of positive media coverage in outlets such as the Associated Press, Washington Post, Vancouver Sun, Albuquerque Journal, and The Economist.

Mark your calendar! The next Reform Conference will be at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles from November 2-5, 2011.