The Model Law has been recognised as one of the ten winning projects at the Paris Peace Forum 2019 of 114 projects presented.
6 December 2019
A Model Drug Law for West Africa drafted by Amber Marks, Lecturer in Criminal Law and Evidence and Co-Director of the Criminal Justice Centre at Queen Mary University of London, has been recognised as one of the ten winning projects at the Paris Peace Forum 2019 of 114 projects presented.
With some 7,000 participants, 33 Heads of State and Government, and leaders of international organizations in attendance, the Paris Peace Forum calls for improved governance and innovative solutions to global challenges. During the opening ceremony, French President Emmanuel Macron explained how multilateralism can provide an answer to many of the challenges we face today. This applies to drug policy, a transnational challenge that cuts across issues of public health, security, human rights, equal justice, discrimination, poverty, and other aspects of sustainable development.
Commissioned by the West Africa Commission on Drugs (WACD), the Model Law aims to address growing threats to public health, governance and stability in the region posed by drug trafficking, production and consumption.
According to the Global Commission on Drug Policy, the Model Law serves as a legal framework for drug law reform for countries in the region and, if adopted, could address associated forms of crime such as money laundering and corruption.
Crucially, the Model Law makes the distinction between consumption for personal use and drug trafficking. Amber Marks explains: “This distinction between drug trafficking and consumption for personal use is not reflected in the written laws of all West African countries, which results in the lengthy imprisonment of drug users. Decriminalising drugs for personal use would enable users to access health services without fear of arrest, stigma or discrimination. It also frees up much-needed criminal justice resources.”