Drug Policy

The Drug Policy Project combines scholarship with activism to transform drug control policy both at home and abroad. The Project works with grassroots entities, media, and policy makers to shift away from the drug “war” paradigm and its disastrous impacts on the environment, toward holistic policies that address public health, safety and economic alternatives to the prohibition drug economy.

The intersection of race and poverty in the drug war is at the heart of the project’s work. The project has focused recently on the attendant “collateral damage” caused by the United States exporting its drug war to Colombia and Afghanistan, peace efforts in Colombia, drug war-related politics in the Philippines, and border politics between the U.S. and Mexico. Establishing humane and sustainable alternatives to the “drug war” paradigm fits into the IPS mandate as a major contemporary social justice issue on a global scale.

Latest Work

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.

Is Now the Time for Countries to Legalize Street Drugs?

In the last edition of the Latin American Advisor, Sanho Tree lent his opinion to the ongoing hemispheric debate over drug legalization.

[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?

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.

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.

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.

Mandate for Change: Policies and Leadership for 2009 and Beyond

Mandate for Change offers a set of specific policy proposals for the incoming Obama administration on every major domestic and international topic, written specifically for the book by leading thinkers and activists in the field.

Notes from Election Night

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

What Impact Will Drug War Nationalization Have in Bolivia?

As the new policies take shape, Washington must understand that being tough is not the same as being effective.