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Drug Tourism versus War On Drugs

Recreational drug tourism may well become a lucrative niche market sector, specifically for cannabis experiences in Africa, but would this habit only serve to aid the global trade in illicit drugs or has the ‘War On Drugs’ already failed?

The verdict of South Africa’s Western Cape High Court ruling in March 2017 that Cannabis prohibition in South Africa is ‘unconstitutional’, and that adults have the right to use, grow or possess cannabis in the privacy of their homes, may have paved the way for drug tourism to flourish in the country.

The judges of the Cape Town High Court ruled that the South African government has 24 months to amend these laws in favour of legalisation. The court ordered that all cultivation, possession and personal use on private property be immediately permitted. Read the full 66-page ruling here.

According to a paper published in the SADC Law Journal, cannabis is the most common drug in southern Africa, probably followed by Mandrax, then cocaine, heroin, hashish, crystal methamphetamine (usually known as tik) and ecstasy. Also known as marijuana, cannabis is the only drug which is locally cultivated – all others being either imported from elsewhere or manufactured in drug laboratories. Cannabis has been grown in mountainous Lesotho for centuries. It is currently also produced in parts of Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The SADC Law Journal paper contends that suggestions to decriminalise tend to prompt knee-jerk reactions as the perception is that this would worsen rather than ameliorate crime connected to drug consumption. While there is a strong belief that it might reduce challenges connected to trafficking, there is an apprehension that legalised consumption would precipitate higher levels of violent crime. In rebuttal, it is arguable that legalisation would open the way for managed consumption, as is the case with drugs like alcohol. It may also free up resources to be used in the war against harder drugs.

According to the infographic below, produced by Ocean Recovery Centre – an alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre based in the UK –  the ‘War On Drugs’ has been ongoing since 1971 and should be abolished. In that amount of time, the global trade in illicit drugs has gone from strength to strength. Clearly, this ‘War’ isn’t working.

In the infographic below, Ocean Recovery Centre explains how the war on drugs is fought and investigates the supply-side and demand-side measures that are implemented and why these methods are not working.

Drug Tourism versus War On Drugs Infographic why the war on drugs has failed by OceanRecoveryCentre