<p>Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384</p>
Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina spoke out forcefully today against the failures of drug prohibition and urged countries to experiment with new drug control models while speaking at the United Nations General Assembly.
Pérez Molina praised the voters of Colorado and Washington for legalizing marijuana, President Obama for allowing the laws to proceed, and President José Mujica of Uruguay for his marijuana legalization proposal.
Colorado and Washington became the first U.S. states – and the first political jurisdictions in the world – to legalize the production, distribution and sale of marijuana for adults last November. Uruguay is likely to join them soon – the country’s House passed a marijuana legalization bill in July and its Senate is expected to follow suit in October. Last month, the White House announced that the federal government will not interfere with state marijuana laws – as long as a number of stipulations are adhered to, such as preventing distribution to minors.
"You know global drug policy is changing when the president of a Latin American country plagued by drug trafficking violence praises US initiatives to legalize marijuana," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. "It feels like sanity and rationality are at last penetrating the highest levels of governments throughout the Americas."
This week, drug policy reform has been a significant focus at the UN General Assembly, with heads of state such as President Santos of Colombia calling for major global drug policy reform.