Baker Institute expert available to comment on possible drug policy changes in Guatemala


Jeff Falk

Baker Institute expert available to comment on possible drug policy changes in Guatemala
Jones: Step shows drug policy reform becoming emboldened throughout South America

HOUSTON – (Oct. 4, 2013) – The news that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina has established a new commission to look at alternative drug policies in Guatemala is further evidence that drug policy reform has become emboldened throughout the Americas, according to an expert at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.


Nathan Jones, the Baker Institute’s Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy, said that while Molina has long talked about drug policy changes, this is the first concrete step he has taken to enact changes. Molina announced he would establish the commission at a recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“Molina’s is the first government in the region to consider alternative drug policies, which makes this a significant event for regional drug policy,” Jones said. “The timing of the announcement also seems clearly linked to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement of sentencing reforms for nonviolent drug offenders in the U.S. federal judicial system. Holder’s step may be a key contributing factor to emboldening drug policy reform throughout the Americas.”

Jones noted that this fall, Uruguay’s Senate is set to vote on a broad measure to legalize marijuana.

The Baker Institute has a radio and television studio available for media who want to schedule an interview with Jones. For more information, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at or 713-348-6775.


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Founded in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston ranks among the top 20 university-affiliated think tanks globally and top 30 think tanks in the United States. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows and Rice University scholars. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.