African drug policies remain entrenched in a repressive, law enforcement-focused approach. Intensified drug trafficking in the region has raised concerns about the capacity of governments to tackle drug-related issues, as well as weak institutions, corruption and human rights violations. However, some movements for reform are now taking place in West Africa and several East African states.
Despite international law enforcement spending billions on countering the cultivation of crops of opium poppy, coca and cannabis, there has been no reduction in supply or increase in price, and purity has risen.
The ruling of the South African Constitutional Court regarding the unconstitutionality of full cannabis prohibition challenges the country's status quo, and raises the debate on which regulatory models should be followed.
A number of West African countries are considering, or are already in the process of, revisiting their drug laws. The purpose of this Model Drug Law is to respond to this need for reform, by providing legislative provisions and commentary based on international and regional commitments.
The authors argue that despite the growing salience of harm reduction in the new Master Plan, implementation is likely to be significantly hindered by the 'war on drugs' framework that structures the country's drug control responses.