New Internationalist

Podcast: Vanessa Baird on legalizing drugs

This is an episode in the Radio NI podcast series, which features regular interviews with contributors to New Internationalist's magazine and books. You can subscribe to this podcast for free in iTunes, or via the RSS feed, or by visiting the Radio NI blog to check for new interviews.

The world spends $100 billion on prohibition of drugs each year but it’s not working. Could legalization be the only way forward?

In this podcast New Internationalist co-editor Vanessa Baird answers some of the arguments raised by people in favour of prohibition and argues that legalization of all drugs is the only option. The magazine takes a more in-depth look at the arguments behind legalization, including startling statistics, a look at Guinea Bissau Africa’s first ‘narco state’, a report from Mexican journalist Sandra Rodriguez Nieto and prediction of what legalization could look like.

September’s issue of New Internationalist magazine is out now. To subscribe click here.

Thanks to Water Pageant for the music used in this podcast. Find out more about the band here on their website. Their new album, Sightlings, will be coming out in the UK this October.

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  1. #1 Sue Ellerman 10 Sep 12

    Thank you for presenting this important global social justice issue in such an intelligent thorough manner.
    Clearly the war on drugs has not worked. History will look back on prohibition with disbelief; a bit like looking back to the slave trade or women not having the vote.

  2. #2 Frank Gomez 17 Sep 12

    Your comments are very right, prohibition is not the solution and the way that Uruguay is proposing to explore has a lot of merits.You coment about the comercial posibilities with Fair Trade I must say that unadultered coca products shuch as tea, flour etc. are no more drugs than normal tea and coffee, the cocaine product after the process using kerosine and acids is. I aother related theme the failure of the war against drugs in Colombia for example is thatthe guerrilla movement which benefits from it, put a lot of money back into those forgotten by the goverment communities in the form of schols and health services hence the support they receive from those peoples. Congratulations in takling so well such difficult issue.

  3. #3 Pete Meyer 18 Jul 14

    I am a 63 year student to augment my B.S. in chemical dependency.
    I read your article - Legalize Drugs -- all of them! I completely agree with your views.I am a recovered alcoholic and you understand every aspect of the problem and solution to drugs and alcohol. I am writing a reaction paper about it. When I first read the title, I was sceptical about the content.I was very moved by the content and completely support your views.
    Pete Meyer

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About the author

Vanessa Baird lived and worked as a journalist in Peru during the tumultuous mid-1980s, and she maintains a passionate interest in South America. She joined New Internationalist as a co-editor in 1986 and since then has written on everything from migration, money, religion and equality to indigenous activism, climate change, feminism and global LGBT rights. She also edits the Mixed Media, arts and culture section of the magazine.

Vanessa’s books include The No-Nonsense Guide to World Population (2011), Sex, Love and Homophobia (2004), The Little Book of Big Ideas (2009) and, People First Economics (2010). In 2012 she won a prestigious Amnesty International Human Rights Media award.

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