Sanho Tree is a Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and has been Director of its Drug Policy Project since 1998. A former military and diplomatic historian, his current work encompasses the reform of both international and domestic drug policies by promoting alternatives to the failed prohibitionist model. In recent years the project has focused on ending the damage caused by the drug wars in Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Establishing humane and sustainable alternatives to the drug war fits into the IPS mandate as one of the major contemporary social justice issues at home and abroad.

He has been featured in more than a dozen documentaries and frequently lectures at universities and conferences around the world.  He previously collaborated with Dr. Gar Alperovitz on The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of an American Myth (Knopf, 1995).  He was also associate editor of CovertAction Quarterly, an award-winning magazine of investigative journalism, and worked at the International Human Rights Law Group in the late 1980s.  Currently, he serves on the board of the Andean Information Network.


Uruguay’s Legalization of Marijuana

CCTV interviews Sanho Tree, drug policy expert, on Uruguay’s “historic and counterintuitive” decision to be the first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of marijuana.

What Not to Do on Camera

Romney’s words may have left us with the impression of a debate win, but he failed to restrain his signature off-putting smirks.

What Drives U.S. Policy in Central America?

On Al-Jazeera’s Inside Story roundtable discussion, IPSer Sanho Tree discusses how the U.S. State Department gets to play judge, jury, and executioner in Honduras.

[VIDEO] Peru’s Cocaine War: Traffickers vs. Farmers

The government of Peru is getting tough on traffickers and encouraging farmers to plant alternative crops, but will it work?

Third Rail Politics at the 2011 Seattle Hempfest

The way things get done in Washington, D.C. depends on closed door whispering. It is time to develop a non-binding straw poll to put partisan concerns aside for the sake of America.

A Peaceful End to the War on Drugs?

The international war on drugs isn’t stopping drug use or trafficking — but it is ruining lives. Drug policy expert Sanho Tree on what we can do differently.

Central America: ‘Deadliest Non-War Zone’

The Department of Defense has announced that Mexico will receive $51 million for fiscal year 2011. According to military officials the drug war has grown to rival the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. We ask if throwing more money at the situation, or even more American troops, work? Institute for Policy Studies’ Sanho Tree explains.

Colombia Is No Model for Mexico’s Drug War

Far from breaking morale, the tactic of taking out the heads of trafficking groups gives junior thugs a shot at becoming the kingpin–if only briefly.

SOTU: Free the People

During the campaign Obama said his favorite TV show was The Wire. He “gets” injustice, but he missed his chance to demonstrate leadership tonight.

Cultures of War

There’s a striking similarity between Japan’s reckless decision to attack the United States and George W. Bush’s disastrous decision to invade Iraq.

WikiLeaks: Caveat Lector

Keep these questions in mind when reading the cache of leaked State Department cables.

The GOP’s Dangerous and Destructive Brinksmanship Is About to Pay Off

The GOP has successfully created the meme that electoral participation doesn’t really change anything.

$400,000 Annual Household Income and Still Struggling?

A University of Chicago Law School professor complains that he is struggling to get by with a $400,000 annual family income. IPS Fellow, Sanho Tree, has a two line response for him.

How to Get Politicians to Admit in Public That the Drug War Has Been a Complete Failure

We do not need yet another blue ribbon commission or academic study to tell us our current policies are not working.

The Afghan Opium War

The worst thing the U.S. military could do in Afghanistan right now is forced eradication of poppies, because it would alienate peasant farmers and drive them into the arms of the Taliban. The farmers will turn to illicit crops to feed their families.

The Afghan Opium War

IPS Drug Policy Director Sanho Tree says that the worst thing the U.S. military could do in Afghanistan right now is forced eradication of poppies, because it would alienate peasant farmers and drive them into the arms of the Taliban. The farmers will turn to illicit crops to feed their families.

The New U.S.-Mexico War

Sanho Tree discusses the significance of U.S. officials in Mexico, and whether the new plan is an adequate one.

Avatar’s History Lesson

The blockbuster film’s storyline is far from original.

The Drug War has Failed. What’s Next?

The U.S. is paying a heavy price for its current stance on drug policy.

Notes from Election Night

A tongue-in-cheek account of that historic evening.

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Drug Policy

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Border Wall, colombia, DEA, DOJ, Drug War, Duterte, Mexico, Philippines, United Nations

Sanho Tree on Drug Policy in the U.S. and beyond

Morning Talk Live with J. Stan McCauley | March 21, 2022

Imperialism and the War on Drugs

Drug Truth Network | March 2, 2022

First Human Rights Week a Success

Virginia Law Review | October 31, 2019

Drug Policy & Social Justice

Stop and Search | October 2, 2019