Well, INPUD is once again at the Commission for Narcotic Drugs high level sessions occurring at the United Nations offices in Vienna, as they do in March every year. Sadly we don’t have a bloggar there to keep us all up to date so I am going to try and gather bits of other peoples news -who are there -to let you know whats happening.
Here is the first really interesting blog I have come across.
Full Circle US is written by Heather Haase, with contributions by Allan Clear, (who we know at INPUD as he is from the terrific Harm Reduction Coalition in New York -ed) about recent developments in the world of international drug law and policy (in particular, news, thoughts and issues from the yearly sessions of the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs held in Vienna, Austria). Full Circle US was born of the realization that even though the US played a huge role in the international drug control system, most U.S. drug reformers have only vague notions about the system and how it affects domestic drug policy. Full Circle US is a resource for anyone interested in becoming more involved with drug law reform at an international level. Together we can bring drug reform full circle — what started with US… must end with US!
….…So, Full Circle US gives us a regular series of really great blogs, easy to read in a conversational style, not written, thank God, like a conference paper. Full Circle US still manages however, to pick up all the important points, coming as they do, from a drug policy and drug law reform background. Here’s a bit from their latest blog and a link to the site again…
We’ve had two days so far in this altered reality that is CND, and it’s been chock full of action, mystery and intrigue… Here are some of the highlights:
The Opening Session bright and early Monday morning began with comments by Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC (none of which were particularly groundbreaking) and progressed through statements by member countries representing regional groups (reps from South Africa, India, Latin America, the European Union, etc.). Again, nothing too crazy, but issues that came up were: support for the Bolivian coca leaf issue, international cooperation to stop the use of women drug couriers, and a plea for funding for a WHO study on Ketamine. The EU rep (who reminded me a bit of a blonde “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”) discussed proposed resolutions, including the one on overdose prevention.
Suddenly, just when it seemed as if the statements were going to drone on forever…. the room grew quiet, the lights dimmed, and… BAM! there was a strike of lightening!! Okay, not really. But there was definitely a hush as the doors to the room slowly opened and Evo Morales entered with his entourage. He was dressed in a traditional Bolivian cloak and carried a small colored purse at his chest. (I thought, now what could be in that purse? Hmmm!)
Morales went on to make a terrific presentation in defense of the traditional use of the coca leaf in his country. First he talked about Bolivia’s commitment to combating the drug trafficking problem and its great progress in eradicating illicit cocaine. Then he said that the coca leaf is just not the same as cocaine, and called its prohibition “absurd”. He talked about its age-old use for chewing the leaf in raw form and its newer use in modern products. Then, because well, he *is* Evo Morales, he not only took out a handful of coca leaves from his purse and chewed them, but he then pulled out an entire line of coca leaf products and laid them out, one by one, on the podium!!! Coca tea, coca bottled drinks, coca liquor, and yes… coca marmalade (marmalade “with a kick”). He made one more (new) argument, that the provision of the ’61 Convention prohibiting the coca leaf had been ratified IN ERROR by a military, “de facto” government, and he asked for the member countries’ support in correcting this terrible error committed so many years ago. Pretty clever there, Evo.
And (in a not-so-covert “f*ck you” to the Commission) here’s a member of His Excellency’s entourage — passing out coca leaves to members of the delegation:
For more CND updates from FullCircleUS click here, or you can follow these guys on TWITTER at @fullcircleUS