The status of cannabis in the UN drug conventions is controversial. It is now scheduled among the most dangerous substances. How and why did cannabis in the conventions? Does it belong there? What are the options to review the status of cannabis according to current scientific data? Is making cannabis subject to a control regime similar to harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco a solution?
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  • Cannabis in Latin America and the Caribbean

    From punishment to regulation
    Alejandro Corda and Mariano Fusero
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 48
    September 2016

    Cannabis (or marihuana) is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world. According to the United Nations World Drug Report, 183 million people, or 3.8% of the world’s population, used cannabis in 2014. Its cultivation was also reported by 129 countries. Cannabis is subject to the United Nations System for International Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (hereafter “drugs”) and is the most widely consumed of all the drugs. According to that control system, cannabis is among the substances with the strictest legal status; they are the most prohibited, supposedly because of the harm they cause and their lack of medical usefulness.

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  • Paraguay: The cannabis breadbasket of the Southern Cone

    A focus on the largest cannabis producer in South America
    Guillermo Garat
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 46
    July 2016

    Paraguay is the principal producer of cannabis in South America, though nobody knows for certain how many hectares are planted with this crop, probably on account of its concealment and a prevalent climate of corruption. National authorities and international control agencies estimate an area between 6,000 and 7,000 hectares, with an annual production of 16,500 tonnes. At present, according to estimates of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Anti Drogas - SENAD), some 20,000 farmers are involved in cannabis cultivation, boosting the microeconomy of the north-eastern region of the country.

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  • Cannabis Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties

    Strategies for Reform
    WOLA, GDPO, TDPF, TNI, ICHRDP & CDPC
    June 2016

    As jurisdictions enact reforms creating legal access to cannabis for purposes other than exclusively “medical and scientific,” tensions surrounding the existing UN drug treaties and evolving law and practice in Member States continue to grow. These treaty tensions have become the “elephant in the room” in key high-level forums, including the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs — obviously present, but studiously ignored.

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  • The history of cannabis and international control

    How cannabis was included in the UN drug control system and the defections that have brought the international treaties to breaking point

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    This timeline draws on The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition, a report that described the history of international control, how cannabis was included in the current UN drug control system and the subsequent defections by countries and states that have brought the international treaties to breaking point. TNI is calling for a revision of the treaties to be based on scientific evidence and embodying principles of harm reduction and human rights.

  • Cannabis in Indonesia

    Patterns in consumption, production, and policies
    Dania Putri & Tom Blickman
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 44
    January 2016

    Cannabis use has never posed major problems in Indonesia, yet prohibitionist policies prevail. Despite the high prevalence of cannabis use, local or national discussions on cannabis policies are nearly non-existent, exacerbated by strong anti-drug views and public institutions' failure to design and implement comprehensive policies based on evidence. Because of the current anti-narcotics law – discussed in detail in this briefing – there have been many obstacles to research on cannabis, both in terms of medical and anthropological research.

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  • Cannabis regulation in Colorado

    Early evidence defies the critics
    Steve Rolles
    Transform
    October 2015

    The core argument made by opponents of legal regulation is that any regulated market for cannabis would inevitably fuel a significant rise in use and associated harms – particularly among young people. So inevitably, as the first jurisdiction in the world to implement a legally regulated market for non-medical cannabis use, Colorado is under intense scrutiny, with advocates keen to demonstrate its successes, and prohibitionists keen to highlight its failings.

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  • Perspective: Be clear about the real risks

    The assertion that cannabis use can cause schizophrenia is not borne out by the evidence
    Nature
    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    The 1936 film Reefer Madness depicted cannabis as a drug that provoked uncontrollable insanity, leading to manslaughter, suicide and attempted rape. This was a ridiculous characterization of the effects of cannabis, but there is a long history of associating the drug with psychotic disorders. It is important to ensure we do not confuse correlation with causation and incite another Reefer Madness-style panic. By offering careful, evidence-based interpretations of the data, scientists can effectively contribute to policy decisions related to cannabis use and mental health.

  • Here’s why we hear so many false claims about cannabis

    Scientists often highlight the negative effects of drugs to justify their own source of funding
    David Nutt
    DrugScience (UK)
    Tuesday, September 8, 2015

    Research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or – in scientific terms – there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and the popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use. And more ink has been spilled about cannabis than any other drug, perhaps because it’s the most widely used illegal drug and the subject of intense debate concerning its regulation.

  • Surprising news about teens, marijuana, and health issues. It’s all good

    The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issues
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    With the widespread availability of marijuana in recent years thanks to its legalization in a growing number of states, there has been increasing concern about the long-term health consequences on teens who might be able to get easier access to it illegally. A study published by the American Psychological Association in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors should alleviate some of the worst fears. The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issues -- including depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma -- in any group, even those with very high use.

  • State of the Evidence: Cannabis Use and Regulation

    International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)
    August 2015

    As more and more jurisdictions reconsider their cannabis policies, the public discourse is filled with conflicting evidence about the impacts of cannabis use and regulation. Cannabis causes schizophrenia. Cannabis is as addictive as heroin. Cannabis regulation leads to increased traffic fatalities. We hear claims like these all the time – but are they based on science? In our latest reports, the ICSDP investigates and provides comprehensive evaluations of the evidence for and against each claim.

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