• The elegant way to end global cannabis prohibition: Inter se modification

    Countries that embrace legal regulation find themselves in breach of international law. In this video, we explain a strategy to resolve those treaty tensions and to enable progressive and sustainable change at the global level.

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  • Seek drug reform within international law: Tom Blickman

    Stigmatisation and international laws that tilt towards prohibition of drugs make it difficult to find a common ground for a rational debate
    Delhi Post (india)
    Monday, October 1, 2018

    Dating back to the latter part of 1800s, precisely in 1894-95, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission consisting of medical experts of Indian and British origin concluded that moderate use of cannabis was the rule in India, and produced practically no ill-effects. “What countries like Uruguay and Canada are doing now, India had already proposed 120 years ago,” says Tom Blickman from the Transnational Institute (TNI), an international policy think tank based in the Netherlands. “Had the wisdom of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission’s recommendations prevailed, we would have prevented a lot of misery by erroneous drug control policies,” he points out. (See also: A legal hallucination)

  • On the road towards the 2019 Ministerial Segment

    IDPC Advocacy Note
    September 2018

    UN member states have agreed to hold a Ministerial Segment immediately prior to the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) ‘to take stock of the implementation of the commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem, in particular in the light of the 2019 target date’ set out to eradicate or significantly reduce the overall scale of the illegal drug market. This advocacy note outlines the key issues for consideration by member states as they reflect on what has been achieved since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, including in light of the implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document, and the implications for the next phase of the international drug policy regime.

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  • Veneer of consensus masks deep disagreement on global drug policy

    Trump to host UN meeting on drug policy
    John Walsh, Ann Fordham, Martin Jelsma & Hannah Hetzer
    Saturday, September 22, 2018

    On September 24, President Trump will begin his appearance at the UN General Assembly by hosting an event on the “World Drug Problem.” Only delegates of those UN Member States that have signed a document circulated by the Trump administration – a “Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem” – will be invited to attend. At the event, delegates will have the opportunity to pose for a group photograph with President Trump before he, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and UN Secretary General António Guterres provide remarks.

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  • INCB hearing on the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes

    An inter se agreement on cannabis regulation would allow a group of countries to modify certain treaty provisions amongst themselves
    INCB Civil Society Hearing
    Monday, May 7, 2018

    The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) held a meeting with civil society representatives on the “the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes”. The meeting brought together a number of representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), selected by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), and members of the Board. Transnational Institute associate fellow and director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) Prof. Dave Bewley-Taylor, delivered a statement on how states can reconcile treaty obligations with democratically mandated policy shifts at the national level to a legally regulated cannabis market, with due regard for international law, and what role can the Board play in this process?

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  • In bid to intimidate Canada on cannabis regulation, INCB is reckless and wrong

    Canada should reject the Board’s false claims and thinly veiled effort at intimidation
    John Walsh (WOLA) and Martin Jelsma (TNI)
    Friday, May 4, 2018

    On May 1, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland appeared before the Canadian Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (AEFA) to discuss the international dimensions of Bill C-45 to regulate cannabis. She acknowledged that regulating cannabis would entail “contravening certain obligations related to cannabis under the three UN drug conventions,” adding that, “we have to be honest about that.” Asked about the ‘inter se’ proposal, whereby like-minded nations can negotiate amongst themselves to contract out of certain provisions of the treaty, Minister Freeland replied that the government had discussed the ‘inter se’ concept and that it was worth thinking about: “We are definitely open to working with treaty partners to identify solutions that accommodate different approaches to cannabis within the international framework.”

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  • Hearing on Bill C-45 as it relates to Canada’s international obligations

    An inter se agreement on cannabis regulation would allow a group of countries to modify certain treaty provisions amongst themselves alone
    Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
    Meeting regarding Bill C-45 as it relates to Canada’s international obligations
    Thursday, April 19, 2018

    The international dimensions of Bill C-45 are of utmost importance not only for Canada itself but for many countries around the world that are moving in the direction of legally regulating the cannabis market. The position Canada will take vis-à-vis the UN drug control conventions could well be a crucial moment in the long and troubled history of international drug control. Inter se modification appears as a legitimate safety valve, and perhaps under current circumstances the most elegant way out for a group of countries to collectively derogate from certain cannabis provisions.

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  • Poppies, opium, and heroin

    Production in Colombia and Mexico
    Jorge Hernández Tinajero, Guillermo Andrés Ospina & Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    February 2018

    Poppy cultivation in Mexico and Colombia is part of a local economy geared almost exclusively toward the illegal market abroad: it is driven by demand for heroin, primarily in the United States. North America, including Canada, is currently experiencing a major humanitarian crisis related to this use and the opioids circulating on this market. To understand the dynamics of this market and to evaluate whether political responses to the phenomenon are appropriate and effective, we present this report on opium poppy cultivation in Mexico and Colombia, which, together with Guatemala, are the poppy-producing countries of Latin America.

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  • Balancing Treaty Stability and Change

    Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation
    Martin Jelsma, Neil Boister, David Bewley-Taylor, Malgosia Fitzmaurice & John Walsh
    Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) / Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) / Transnational Institute (TNI)
    March 2018

    Legal tensions are growing within the international drug control regime as increasing numbers of member states move towards or seriously consider legal regulation of the cannabis market for non-medical purposes. Amongst reform options not requiring consensus, inter se modification appears to be the most ‘elegant’ approach and one that provides a useful safety valve for collective action to adjust a treaty regime arguably frozen in time.

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  • Regulating Cannabis in Accord with International Law: Options to Explore

    CND side event on Friday, March 16, 2018: Conference Room M5, 13:10-14:00

    As a growing number of countries move towards legal regulation for non-medical cannabis, governments are pushing the boundaries of the three UN drug control treaties. At the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2018, TNI, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) organised a side event to explore the issue, addressing the various challenges and opportunities involved. At the event a groundbreaking report on the issue was presented: Balancing Treaty Stability and Change: Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation.

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