'The classification of illegal drugs is based on politics'

Drugs are a huge problem in the world.

Billions are spent by governments to curb the spread of drugs around the world.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP) report, illegal drugs including cocaine, heroin and cannabis should be reclassified to reflect a scientific assessment of harm.

Read: Find out what the law says about drug testing in schools

The GCDP has condemned the way in which drugs are scheduled is criminalising the poor.

To discuss the report, Bongani Bingwa chats to United Nations Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs deputy-secretary Shaun Shelly.

It is more than criminalising the sick, it is more like criminalising what is essentially normative behaviour, it is criminalising certain population groups. It is prejudicing the poor because they are the ones most likely to be caught with these drugs that are scheduled. The classification of illegal drugs is based on politics.

Shaun Shelly, Deputy-secretary - United Nations Vienna NGO Committee on Narcotic Drugs

He adds that if we look at South African history, one of the reasons why in the 1920s the scheduling of cannabis was requested, was because the country objected to the trade between black, brown and white people.

Whenever you look at the history that is based on racial issues, we need to look at what the consequences are, he adds.

Listen below to the full interview:


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