Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform

Global Initiative promotes the development of alternative approaches to drug control in order to create more humane, cost-effective, and evidence-based policies. It achieves these aims by collecting, commissioning, and disseminating evidence to the public and governments.

The Beckley Foundation’s Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform brings together countries interested in reform, countries that have successfully implemented alternative drug policies, and the Global Commission on Drug Policy.

After the launch of the Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate in 2010 (co-published by the Beckley Foundation and Oxford University press) Amanda and the 2 leading authors Profs Robin Room and Peter Reuter were invited to meetings in Capitol Hill, in Mexico city and with President Cadorso in Rio de Janeiro in conferences and meetings to discuss the findings of the book. During these trips Amanda decided that the next Beckley Foundation initiative should be Global Initiative for Drug Policy Reform. For this initiative she planned that Beckley should bring together countries… and further to commission 2 important reports: one on how to re-word the UN conventions of DATES in order to permit countries the freedom to create policies best suited for their special needs, namely to fully decriminalise drug use and to permit legally regulated market where appropriate. A second report was to attempt to give cost-benefit analysis of the regulated cannabis market in the UK.

While the Beckley Foundation was preparing this initiative, prof Richard Laird asked Amanda if she and the Beckley Foundation would consider involving his wife, baroness Meacher, as she was interested in learning about drug policy. Amanda agreed and invited baroness Meacher to join her in the Global Initiative. In the following period they worked together to set up the  All-Party Parliamentary Group to support the Global Initiative, which was subsequently launched at the House of Lords. At the seminar there were high-level representatives from 14 countries…

The Global Initiative is based on: 1) the awareness that the War on Drugs has failed, and 2) the scientific evidence that now shows health-oriented drug policies to be more cost-effective, humane, and harm-reducing than criminalisation. It was launched in November 2011 at the House of Lords in London, at a meeting hosted by the Beckley Foundation together with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drug Policy Reform.

 Its specific objectives are:

  • To promote health-oriented, harm-reducing drug policies based on scientific evidence and human rights;
  • To support the rational redistribution of resources away from prohibition, criminalisation, and incarceration towards healthcare, education, and rehabilitation;
  • To reduce the human costs, violence, and corruption fuelled by the illicit drug trade and the War on Drugs, which disproportionately affect producer and transit countries;
  • To bring together country representatives and scientific and policy experts in order to discuss and evolve new policy options that address the highly complex problems arising from drug use and the illegal markets; and
  • To commission and disseminate new information; to open up and facilitate debate on all possible policy options; and to educate and inform politicians and the public.

Achievements from the Global Initiative:

  • To accompany its launch, Amanda Feilding produced the Beckley Foundation Public Letter, which was published in The Times and The Guardian, generating a great deal of publicity. Never before had such a distinguished list of world figures publicly backed the need for new drug policies. Among the signatories are former Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and major figures in politics, finance, science, law, and the Arts.
  • Roadmaps to Reforming the UN Drug Conventions. This ground-breaking report, led by Prof Robin Room, was the first to carefully document the ways in which the UN Conventions can be amended in order to allow signatory countries the freedom to choose and experiment with domestic policies best suited to their individual needs.
  • Licensing and Regulation of the Cannabis Market in England and Wales: Towards a Cost/Benefit Analysis. This report, led by Prof Stephen Pudney, investigated the economic consequences of a regulated cannabis market in the UK, indicating that it could be worth as much as £1.25bn a year to the government.
  • Roadmaps to Regulation: Coca, Cocaine, and Derivatives. This report, written by over 30 experts across the world, is the most robust attempt to date to open discussion on the issue of coca/cocaine regulation. It does so from a comprehensive and multidisciplinary perspective, with leading names in the relevant fields. It is a pivotal point in the difficult, yet necessary, discussion on the regulation of stimulants.
  • Roadmaps to Regulation: Cannabis, Psychedelics, MDMA, and NPS. In this report, Amanda Feilding and Nicola Singleton propose a paradigm shift in the way we consider regulation, placing the reduction of harm at the core of policy-making. The report aims to be a conversation-starter, and a tool for policy-makers as they move forward in regulating commonly used illicit drugs.
  • In 2012, Amanda was invited by the Guatemalan government to visit for a private discussion on alternative drug policies. At the meeting Amanda was invited to set up the Beckley Foundation Latin American Chapter and to inform the Government about the impacts of current policies and a range of alternative policy options. This work resulted in two policy reports on violence in Guatemalan drug markets and options for alternative drug policies.

Explore the Global Initiative's Achievements