How to decriminalize drugs: the design features of a non-criminal response to the personal possession of drugs [post]

Alissa Greer, Mat Bonn, Alison Ritter, Caitlin Shane, Alex Stevens, Natasha Tousenard
2021 unpublished
Internationally, stakeholders across jurisdictions are considering alternative, noncriminal responses to the personal possession of drugs. Alternative responses include various decriminalization, diversion, and depenalization schemes. However, what details need to be considered? In this paper, we present the design features of noncriminal responses to simple possession and consider the implications of the choices available. The features include the reform architecture (objectives,
more » ... ion options, de jure or de facto approach), eligibility criteria (person-, place-, and drugbased criteria), and the actions taken (deterrence, therapeutic, and enforcement strategies). From this examination, it is clear that details matter -some can undermine the goals of reform altogether. We also show that the notion of 'decriminalization' is not a simple, unified framework. Rather, there are meaningful differences in policies and options available within a non-criminal response. The design features covered in this paper offer a framework that can be used to design future reforms and operationalize research on non-criminal responses to personal drug possession.
doi:10.21428/cb6ab371.8d4b953c fatcat:kzphcy3jfvfzrnavmu6nuzxp7i