Cannabis policy in the US has historically been a state-level concern. But as whole nations place an finish to prohibition—Canada launched legal cannabis sales final year, and Mexico is set to take into consideration legalization this summer—they should confront an international neighborhood that nevertheless largely subscribes to an outdated drug-war ideology. In the worst instances, decades-old drug treaties can stand in the way of person nations’ efforts at reform.

“Alarmingly, the agency is struggling to completely embrace, endorse and embody well being and rights-primarily based responses to drug policy.”

Now, 329 non-governmental organizations are asking international leaders to update their drug policies. In an open letter ahead of an international policy summit in Portugal, a nation that decriminalized the possession and use of all drugs in 2001, the groups are calling on leaders to adopt an strategy focused additional on harm reduction. The groups also questioned the UN drug office’s capacity to modify its personal outdated point of view. They noted “serious issues more than the capacity of the United Nations Workplace on Drugs and Crime (ONODC) to lead the international well being response to individuals who use drugs.”

“By its really mandate and building, the UNODC remains an agency that is additional attuned to the law enforcement response to drugs,” says the letter, which was signed by significant international well being, human rights, and drug policy organizations. “Alarmingly, the agency is struggling to completely embrace, endorse and embody well being and rights-primarily based responses to drug policy.”

To be clear, the letter is much less about cannabis policy than it is about drug policy in basic. But its arguments—that stigma stands in the way of sensible policy, that deference to previous practices prevents proof-primarily based responses, and that misguided drug policies have human costs—are the very same ones that helped galvanized the cannabis legalization movement in current decades.

The statement is obtainable on line in French, Spanish, and Russian by means of the International Drug Policy Consortium’s web-site. The total version in English is incorporated under.