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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The Ottawa Citizen (Canada) special website
In Canada, possession of medical marijuana is controlled under the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, which came into effect in the summer of 2001. The regulations allow people with severe diseases to use marijuana to relieve their symptoms when the usual treatments for these conditions have failed. What is the situation a decade later? A five-part series and data-journalism project coordinated by the Ottawa Citizen, with The Vancouver Sun, Edmonton Journal and Postmedia News Service.READ MORE...
Robert J. MacCounAddiction (2011) 106(11):1899-910
In 1976 the Netherlands adopted a formal written policy of non-enforcement for violations involving possession or sale of up to 30 g of cannabis. The ‘gateway theory’ has long been seen as an argument for being tough on cannabis, but interestingly, the Dutch saw that concept as a rationale for allowing retail outlets to sell small quantities. Rather than seeing an inexorable psychopharmacological link between marijuana and hard drugs, the Dutch hypothesized that the gateway mechanism reflected social and economic networks, so that separating the markets would keep cannabis users out of contact with hard-drug users and sellers.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Canadian researchers have sequenced the genome of Cannabis sativa, the plant that produces both industrial hemp and marijuana, and in the process revealed the genetic changes that led to the plant's drug-producing properties. Detailed analysis of the two genomes suggests that domestication, cultivation, and breeding of marijuana strains has caused the loss of the enzyme (CBDA synthase), which would otherwise compete for the metabolites used as starting material in THCA production. The article describing the research findings, "The draft genome and transcriptome of Cannabis sativa," was published in the journal Genome Biology.READ MORE...
Cannabis prohibition, organized crime and gang violence in British ColumbiaReport prepared by the Stop the Violence BC Coalition
This brief report outlines the links between cannabis prohibition in British Columbia (Canada) and the growth of organized crime and related violence in the province, and is the first report of a coalition of concerned citizens and experts known as Stop the Violence BC. The report also defines the public health concept “regulation” and seeks to set the stage for a much needed public conversation and action on the part of BC politicians.
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A Narrative Review of Evidence and RecommendationsBenedikt Fischer, Victoria Jeffries, Wayne Hall, Robin Room, Elliot Goldner & Jürgen RehmCanadian Journal Of Public Health
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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Attitudes of Dutch coffeeshop owners and cannabis users to the proposed ‘cannabis ID’ and the consequences they expectDirk J. Korf, Marije Wouters and Annemieke BenschopBonger 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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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”.
See also: Légaliser le cannabis, mode d’emploi, Journal du Dimanche, 16 Juin 2011 (in French)
A normalizing alternative underwayMartín Barriuso AlonsoSeries on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 9
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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The restriction is justified by the objective of combating drug tourism and the accompanying public nuisanceCourt 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.READ MORE...
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 marijuanaStephen PudneyCentre 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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