A number of West African countries are considering, or are already in the process of, revisiting their drug laws. It is increasingly recognized that the current drug laws are not effective and are resulting in enormous costs. More humane and balanced approaches are needed. In the words of the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: “It is important to reaffirm the original spirit of the conventions, focusing on health. The conventions are not about waging a ‘war on drugs’ but about protecting the ‘health and welfare of mankind’”.
The purpose of this Model Drug Law is to respond to this need for reform, by providing legislative provisions and commentary, which incorporate the obligations of the three UN drug control treaties, and take into account the outcomes and commitments from the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem, the ECOWAS Drug Action Plan to Address Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime and Drug Abuse in West Africa (2016-2020), as well as, the existing evidence of effectiveness, the need for greater harmonisation of drug laws in the region, and the current gaps in the legislation.