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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From punishment to regulationAlejandro Corda and Mariano FuseroDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 48
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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A focus on the largest cannabis producer in South AmericaGuillermo GaratDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 46
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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Strategies for ReformWOLA, GDPO, TDPF, TNI, ICHRDP & CDPC
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.READ MORE...
How cannabis was included in the UN drug control system and the defections that have brought the international treaties to breaking point
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.
Patterns in consumption, production, and policiesDania Putri & Tom BlickmanDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 44
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.READ MORE...
Early evidence defies the criticsSteve RollesTransform
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.READ MORE...
The assertion that cannabis use can cause schizophrenia is not borne out by the evidenceNature
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.
Scientists often highlight the negative effects of drugs to justify their own source of fundingDavid NuttDrugScience (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.
The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issuesThe 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.
International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)
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.READ MORE...
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