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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  • 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.

    Download the report (PDF) | Cannabis claims website

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  • Smoking may be causal factor in developing schizophrenia: researchers

    It’s possible that nicotine exposure, by increasing the release of dopamine, causes psychosis to develop
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, July 13, 2015

    In research that turns on its head previous thinking about links between schizophrenia and smoking, scientists say cigarettes may be a causal factor in the development of psychosis. Previous studies have linked cannabis use to psychosis. But there is much debate about whether this is causal or whether there may be shared genes that predispose people to both cannabis use and schizophrenia. James MacCabe, a psychosis expert who co-led the research at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, said the new results suggest “it might even be possible that the real villain is tobacco, not cannabis” – since cannabis users often combine with tobacco.

  • Cultivating alternatives: Towards a regional cannabis model

    Kevin Edmonds
    Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy
    Volume 3 Number 2, June 2015

    The decriminalization and regulation of cannabis has been occurring in many jurisdictions in the United States – but also closer to home and more significantly in Jamaica. While unable to directly compete with these long-established producers, the Windward Islands are home to their own significant, albeit illegal, cannabis economy. A pressing task facing the cash strapped governments of the Windward Islands, particularly St Vincent and St Lucia is to capitalize on the current climate of drug reform and adopt creative decriminalization policies which will ensure that they are able to transition the employment, income generation and value added opportunities from the ganja economy to the legal economy.

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  • In debate over legalizing marijuana, disagreement over drug’s dangers

    In their own words: Supporters and opponents of legalization
    Pew Research Center (US)
    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Public opinion about legalizing marijuana in the US, while little changed in the past few years, has undergone a dramatic long-term shift. A new survey finds that 53% favor the legal use of marijuana, while 44% are opposed. As recently as 2006, just 32% supported marijuana legalization, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed. Millennials (currently 18-34) have been in the forefront of this change: 68% favor legalizing marijuana use.

  • The Legal Landscape for Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain

    Amber Marks
    Observatorio Civil de Drogas
    February 2015

    This briefing is a preliminary sketch of the legal landscape for cannabis social clubs in Spain. Its author is presently conducting legal analysis and empirical research in Spain and her findings will be published in due course. The aim of this briefing is to provide an interim sketch of the relevant law for English speakers working in drug policy.

    Download the paper (PDF)

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  • Stoned drivers are a lot safer than drunk ones, new federal data show

    The measurable presence of THC in a person's system doesn't correlate with impairment in the same way that blood alcohol concentration does
    The Washington Post (US)
    Monday, February 9, 2015

    A new study from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that drivers who use marijuana are at a significantly lower risk for a crash than drivers who use alcohol. And after adjusting for age, gender, race and alcohol use, drivers who tested positive for marijuana were no more likely to crash than who had not used any drugs or alcohol prior to driving. Nevertheless, there's plenty of evidence showing that marijuana use impairs key driving skills.

  • Cannabis policy reform in Europe

    Bottom up rather than top down
    Tom Blickman
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies No. 28
    December 2014

    While in the Americas cannabis policy reform is taking off, Europe seems to be lagging behind. That is to say, in European nations at the level of national governments – where denial of the changing policy landscape and inertia to act upon calls for change reigns. At the local level, however, disenchantment with the current cannabis regime gives rise to new ideas. In several countries in Eu­rope, local and regional authorities are looking at regulation, either pressured by grassroots movements – in particular the Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) – or due to the involve­ment of criminal groups and public disorder.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF) | Version auf Deutsch

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  • Reform der Cannabispolitik in Europa

    Eher Bottom-up als Top-down
    Tom Blickman
    Reihe Gesetzesreformen im Bereich der Drogenpolitik Nr. 28
    Dezember 2014

    Während die Reform der Cannabispolitik in Amerika Fahrt aufnimmt, scheint Europa hinterherzuhinken. Genauer gesagt, die europäischen Staaten auf nationaler Regierungsebene, wo die Leugnung der Veränderungen in der politischen Landschaft und die Trägheit bei der Reaktion auf Forderungen nach einem Wandel noch immer vorherrschen. Auf lokaler Ebene hingegen führt die Ernüchterung hinsichtlich der aktuellen Cannabispolitik zur Entstehung neuer Ideen. In verschiedenen europäischen Ländern prüfen lokale und regionale Behörden eine Regulierung, entweder unter dem Druck von Basisbewegungen – vor allem den Cannabis Social Clubs (CSC) – oder wegen der Verstrickung krimineller Gruppen und zur Aufrechterhaltung der öffentlichen Ordnung.

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  • Selling cannabis regulation

    Learning From Ballot Initiatives in the United States in 2012
    Emily Crick, Mark Cooke and Dave Bewley-Taylor
    GDPO Policy Brief 6
    November 2014

    In 2012, voters in the US states of Washington, Colorado and Oregon were given the opportunity to vote in ballot initiatives for the creation of legally regulated cannabis markets. Washington’s Initiative 502 and Colorado’s Amendment 64 both passed with 55.7% and 55.3% of the vote respectively. Oregon’s Measure 80 failed with 53.4% of those voting rejecting the measure. As calls for and legal processes towards the initiation of cannabis policy reform become more common within US states, it is a timely and useful exercise to reflect upon the campaigns for reform in Washington (WA), Colorado (CO) and Oregon (OR) and examine why the public supported cannabis policy reform in some instances and not others.

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