UN Backs Off Hard Line on Drug Crimes
Today's report marks significant change in attitude
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2009 12:06 PM CDT
US Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske addresses the crowd of over 2,500 Drug Court Professionals during the opening plenary at the NADCP Annual Training Conference in Anaheim, Calif. on June 11, 2009.   (Phil McCarten/AP Images for The National Association of Drug Court Professionals)
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(Newser) – The United Nations did a 180 today on its drug decriminalization stance, praising the policy Portugal instituted in 2001 and asserting it has “not led to an increase in drug tourism” as had been feared, the Huffington Post reports. The annual drug policy report opposed full legalization while conceding that drug controls do create an “illicit black market”—a significant nod to legalization backers.

When Portugal decriminalized personal drug possession in 2001, the UN suggested the policy violated international drug treaties; today’s report put those concerns to rest and acknowledges the country's drug-related problems have decreased. The US drug czar—who has said decriminalization is not “in my vocabulary”—will be on hand for the announcement of the report at today’s World Drug Day in Washington.