Video | ‘The Neo-Patrimonial ‘Use’ of Drug Policy in Electoral Processes’ explained by Khalid Tinasti

Khalid Tinasti, Director of the Global Commission on Drug Policy and Research and Teaching Fellow at the Global Studies Institute at the University of Geneva, talks about his article ‘The Neo-Patrimonial ‘Use’ of Drug Policy in Electoral Processes’ published in the 12th thematic issue of International Development Policy.

The prohibition of illegal drug production, use, and trafficking has resulted in several shortcomings and negative consequences for other global development objectives. According to available evidence, current drug control policies undermine the international community’s commitments to public health, criminal justice, sustainable development, women’s rights, human rights, poverty alleviation, and the reduction of inequalities. This policy comment focuses on the impact of repressive drug policies on state institutions and politics.

In unique conjunction of interests, prohibition allows transnational criminal organisations to weaken state institutions, corrupt civil and military officials, and influence control policies because of the entrenched neo-patrimonialism in political life. Therefore, prohibition allows populist and political contenders to stigmatise a minority population—people who use drugs, in opposition to the desires of the majority rule. The use of political emotions, based on fear or promise of change, undermines effective responses to drugs, erodes the rule of law and trust between authorities and populations, and weakens state institutions and democratic governance. This policy comment provides examples from low- and middle-income countries, as well as cases from high-income countries, of the impact of drug prohibition and its illegal proceeds on governance through neo-patrimonialism, clientelism, and the weakening of institutions. 

Read the article in open access

Khalid Tinasti, The Neo-Patrimonial ‘Use’ of Drug Policy in Electoral ProcessesInternational Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement, 12 | 2020, (Geneva, Boston: Graduate Institute Publications, Brill-Nijhoff), URL: ; DOI :

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DevPol Journal (2020, 9 décembre). Video | ‘The Neo-Patrimonial ‘Use’ of Drug Policy in Electoral Processes’ explained by Khalid Tinasti. Policy Debate. Consulté le 20 avril 2024, à l’adresse

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