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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  • Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines for Canada (LRCUG)

    A Narrative Review of Evidence and Recommendations
    Benedikt Fischer, Victoria Jeffries, Wayne Hall, Robin Room, Elliot Goldner & Jürgen Rehm
    Canadian Journal Of Public Health
    September/October 2011

    More than one in ten adults – and about one in three young adults – report past year cannabis use in Canada. While cannabis use is associated with a variety of health risks, current policy prohibits all use, rather than adopting a public health approach focusing on interventions to address specific risks and harms as do policies for alcohol. The objective of this paper was to develop ‘Lower Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines’  (LRCUG) based on research evidence on the adverse health effects of cannabis and factors that appear to modify the risk of these harms.

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  • The return of the underground retail cannabis market?

    Attitudes of Dutch coffeeshop owners and cannabis users to the proposed ‘cannabis ID’ and the consequences they expect
    Dirk J. Korf, Marije Wouters and Annemieke Benschop
    Bonger International Bulletin
    Volume 1, Number 1, September 2011

    The sale of cannabis to persons aged 18 or older is permitted in the Netherlands under certain conditions in commercial establishments called coffeeshops. The present Dutch government has proposed that access to coffeeshops be restricted to persons holding a cannabis ID, a mandatory membership card known colloquially as a ‘weed pass’ (wietpas). Recent interviews with 66 Amsterdam coffeeshop owners reveal that they expect mainly detrimental effects from the proposed measure. In particular, they predict customer resistance to compulsory registration, the discriminatory exclusion of tourists and other non?members, and a resurgence of cannabis street dealing.

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  • Légalisation contrôlée du cannabis

    Rapport du Groupe de travail parlementaire de députés SRC
    June 15, 2011

    The parliamentary report recommends “controlled legalisation” of the cultivation and consumption of cannabis in France. The report, compiled by a working group of the Socialist Party, headed by the former minister of the Interior Daniel Vaillaint, recommends that the cultivation and sale of cannabis should become a state-controlled activity, like the sale of alcohol and tobacco, and concluded that the government cannot continue to “advocate the illusion of abstinence”.

    application-pdfDownload the summary of the report (PDF - in French)
    application-pdfDownload the full report (PDF - in French)
    application-pdfConclusions and Recommendations in English (PDF)

    See also: Légaliser le cannabis, mode d’emploi, Journal du Dimanche, 16 Juin 2011 (in French)

  • Cannabis social clubs in Spain

    A normalizing alternative underway
    Martín Barriuso Alonso
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 9
    January 2011

    Cannabis social clubs (CSC) are noncommercial organisations of users who get together to cultivate and distribute enough cannabis to meet their personal needs without having to turn to the black market. They are based on the fact that the consumption of illegal drugs has never been considered a crime under Spanish legislation. Taking advantage of this grey area, private clubs that produce cannabis for non-profit distribution solely to a closed group of adult members have existed for years.

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  • Non-residents in the Netherlands and access to coffee-shops

    The restriction is justified by the objective of combating drug tourism and the accompanying public nuisance
    Court of Justice of the European Union
    December 16, 2010

    Under the 1976 Law on opium (Opiumwet 1976), the possession, dealing, cultivation, transportation, production, import and export of narcotic drugs, including cannabis and its derivatives, are prohibited in the Netherlands. That Member State applies a policy of tolerance with regard to cannabis. That policy is reflected inter alia in the establishment of coffee-shops, the main activities of which are the sale and consumption of that ‘soft’ drug. The local authorities may authorise such establishments in compliance with certain criteria. In a number of coffee-shops, non-alcoholic beverages and food are also sold.

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  • What should we do about cannabis?

    More than one in five Europeans has taken cannabis at some point in their lives. This column explores the issues facing policymakers trying to deal with marijuana
    Stephen Pudney
    Centre for Economic Policy Research
    November 9, 2010

    No serious commentator doubts that cannabis is potentially damaging to the user. Like tobacco, it is typically smoked and thus shares the potential for lung disease. Like alcohol, it affects reaction times and may raise the risk of road accidents. Cannabis has also been associated with cognitive impairment, deterioration in education performance (van Ours and Williams 2008), and psychotic illness (Arsenault 2004). Moreover, cannabis is often – albeit contentiously – seen as a causal gateway to more serious drug use (Kandel 2002). The question is what to do about it?

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  • An economic perspective on the legalisation debate: the Dutch case

    Martijn Adriaan Boermans
    Amsterdam Law Forum, Vol. 2, No. 4
    Ocober 26, 2010

    Understanding the consequences of drug legalisation versus prohibition is important for policy. Most recently this subject has gained much political attention not only globally, but specifically in the Netherlands. This study will provide a contribution to the legalisation debate based on a microeconomic analysis of the effects of illegal markets. The research question is how to design a coherent soft drugs policy framework that maximizes social welfare within the Netherlands that precludes most historical, sociological and political debates. In particular, attention is restricted to ‘soft drugs’ better known as cannabis derived products like hashish and marijuana.

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  • US Federal Government Data on Cannabis Prohibition

    Tools for Debate
    International Centre for Science in Drug Policy
    October 2010

    The report reviews 20 years of data from US government funded surveillance systems on government drug control spending, cannabis seizures and cannabis arrests, in order to assess the impact of enforced cannabis prohibition on cannabis potency, price and availability. The report’s findings highlight the clear failure of cannabis prohibition efforts by showing that as the United States has dramatically scaled up drug law enforcement, cannabis potency has nevertheless increased, prices have dropped, and cannabis remains widely available.

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  • Cannabis in Mexico

    An Open Debate
    Jorge Hernández Tinajero & Leopoldo Rivera Rivera
    IDPC Briefing Paper
    August 2010

    In August 2010, Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared that he would support a national debate on the issue of legalisation, reversing his previous stance on the subject. However, he underscored that he did not favour legalisation, particularly since the US and the international community maintained their prohibitionist approach. This IDPC Briefing Paper offers background information on the cannabis political debate in Mexico.

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  • How ideology shapes the evidence and the policy

    What do we know about cannabis use and what should we do?
    John Macleod & Matthew Hickman
    Addiction
    Volume 105, Issue 8, pp. 1326–1330
    August 2010

    In the United Kingdom, as in many places, cannabis use is considered substantially within a criminal justice rather than a public health paradigm with prevention policy embodied in the Misuse of Drugs Act. In 2002 the maximum custodial sentence tariff for cannabis possession under the Act was reduced from 5 to 2 years. Vigorous and vociferous public debate followed this decision, centred principally on the question of whether cannabis use caused schizophrenia.

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