Drug Policy Reform in the Americas: A Welcome Challenge to International Law

American Journal of International Law Unbound, Vol. 114, Pp. 301-306. DOI No.: 10.1017/aju.2020.59. 2020, Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2377.

7 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2021

See all articles by Alvaro Santos

Alvaro Santos

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Drug policy in the American hemisphere is in flux. After decades whereby a prohibitionist regime reigned supreme and proposing alternatives was taboo, several countries have begun to reconsider policy, particularly in the case of marijuana. International law has been instrumental in building the legal and institutional regime of prohibition, and it has remained largely impervious to critiques of its disastrous consequences. Indeed, when it comes to drug law and policy, international law has been part of the problem. Nevertheless, countries in the Americas have begun to adopt innovative strategies that also embrace international obligations. In this essay, I examine the failures of the law and order paradigm behind prohibition. I then analyze legal reforms in the Americas as motivated by three different perspectives: 1) human rights, 2) public health and 3) political economy. Each one offers a powerful challenge to prohibition but relies on different assumptions and offers different transformative potential.

Keywords: international law, drug law, international economic law, rule of law, legal reform, public health, economic development

Suggested Citation

Santos, Alvaro, Drug Policy Reform in the Americas: A Welcome Challenge to International Law (2020). American Journal of International Law Unbound, Vol. 114, Pp. 301-306. DOI No.: 10.1017/aju.2020.59. 2020, Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works. 2377., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3831450

Alvaro Santos (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

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Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9542 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.georgetown.edu/faculty/santos-alvaro.cfm

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