Europe

UN hears major differences on the approach to drug use

  • Jamaica's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy, Wednesday April 20, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Jamaica's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy, Wednesday April 20, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

  • Netherlands Minister for Health, Welfare and Sport Martin van Rijn addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy, Wednesday April 20, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

    Netherlands Minister for Health, Welfare and Sport Martin van Rijn addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy, Wednesday April 20, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)  (The Associated Press)

  • Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

    Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, addresses the United Nations special session on global drug policy Wednesday, April 20, 2016, at the U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)  (The Associated Press)

Jamaica defended its decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. Iran said it seized 620 tons of different types of drugs last year and is helping protect the world from "the evils of addiction." Cuba opposed the legalization of drugs or declaring them harmless.

The first U.N. General Assembly special session to address global drug policy in nearly 20 years heard major differences on the approach to drug use on its second day on Wednesday.

On the liberalization side, Canada's Health Minister Jane Philpott announcing that the government will introduce legislation to legalize marijuana next spring.

On the tough enforcement side, Indonesia's Ambassador Rachmat Budiman said "a zero-tolerance approach" is needed to suppress and eliminate the scourge of drugs.

Like Indonesia, Iran imposes the death penalty on drug traffickers.