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 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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  • The case for small-scale domestic cannabis cultivation

    Tom Decorte
    International Journal of Drug Policy 21 (2010) 271–275
    July 2010

    The shift to (inter)regional production, trade and domestic cultivation has become an irreversible international trend. Until now, the focus of most empirical work has been on large-scale, commercially oriented and professionally organized segments of the cannabis industry, often based on police data and on the perspective of law enforcement agencies. This paper offers a review of recent Dutch-language research that focuses on cannabis cultivation.

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  • Marijuana Legalization

    What Can Be Learned from Other Countries?
    Peter Reuter
    RAND Working Paper
    July 2010

    A number of other countries have implemented changes in law that significantly reduce the extent of criminalization of marijuana use. Only in Australia and the Netherlands have there been any changes on the criminalization of the supply side and in neither of those countries is it legal to both produce and sell the drug. The relaxations so far, with the exception of the Netherlands, have not been very great i.e. have not much changed the legal risks faced by a user of marijuana. Thus it is perhaps not surprising that the changes in prevalence of use have not been substantial. This paper provides a brief review of the changes that have been tried outside the US. The emphasis is on the nature of the changes and how they have been implemented rather than on outcomes.

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  • Cannabis policy: Time to move beyond the psychosis debate

    Editorial
    International Journal of Drug Policy 21 (2010) 261–264
    March 11, 2010

    Researchers, research funders and policymakers should give greater voice to the risks and harms associated with particular cannabis policies and to the evaluation of alternative regulatory frameworks. Given the decades of research and experience with cannabis prohibition, it seems reasonable to reorient the cannabis policy debate based on known policy-attributable harms rather than to continue to speculate on questions of causality between cannabis use and mental illnesses such as psychosis, depression, and related disorders, that will not be definitively answered any time soon

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