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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will promote a broad approach to fighting drug-related violence in Central America at a meeting of the Organization of the American States (OAS) this week, according to Reuters. Drug-related violence has increased as Mexican drug cartels have expanded southward.

Earlier this week, the OAS called for a new focus in global drug policy, with an emphasis on treatment and education rather than incarceration. The group, which represents 35 countries in the Americas, said member states should agree on ways to improve prevention and reduce the demand for drugs.

OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza told reporters, “This won’t be the closing chapter, rather the opening chapter. We are knocking on sensitive doors, but we need to examine drug policy.”

Participants in the meetings will discuss a report released by OAS last month, which calls for a discussion on legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana. The report calls for greater flexibility in dealing with the drug problem, which it states “could lead to the possibility of amending domestic legislation or promoting changes to international law.” Sooner or later, decisions will need to be made about decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, the report notes.


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