As the world prepares for the April 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), there is an emerging "dissensus" among states on how best to address the costs, harms, and risks associated with illicit drugs. An increasing number of countries in the Americas and Europe are now opposed to punitive counterdrug policies and are experimenting with reform, even as major powers such as Russia and China continue to defend a prohibitionist interpretation of the international counternarcotics regime. And the United States, once the global regime’s chief enforcer, is now itself a hotbed of experimentation as nearly half of its states have implemented medicinal or legalized access to cannabis.
On April 7, the Brookings Foreign Policy and Governance Studies programs will host a conversation on what we can learn from drug policy reforms now being conducted in the United States and across the globe and what flexibility will exist in the global counternarcotics regime for implementing improved drug policies after UNGASS 2016.
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