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 Use in Canada

    The Need for a ‘Public Health’ Approach
    Benedikt Fischer, Jürgen Rehm & Wayne Hall
    Canadian Journal of Public Health
    March/April 2009

    Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in Canada, used by 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 4 students. Other forms of drug use (e.g., alcohol or injection drug use) are increasingly approached within a public health policy framework that focuses on reducing harms rather than use per se. Cannabis, by contrast, remains formally controlled by a criminal justice approach that focuses on enforcing abstinence. Its use is associated with a variety of possible acute or chronic health problems that include cognitive and respiratory impairment, psychotic episodes, dependence and injury risk.

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  • The consequences and costs of marijuana prohibition

    Katherine Beckett & Steve Herbert
    American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) | University of Washington (Seattle)
    March 2009

    This report draws on a wide range of data sources to assess the consequences and costs of enforcing criminal laws that prohibit the use of marijuana. Despite widespread and longstanding disagreement about the continuation of marijuana prohibition, the number and rate of marijuana arrests have increased significantly in the United States since the early 1990s. These arrests are not evenly distributed across the population, but are disproportionately imposed on African Americans. Our findings regarding the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition, as well as state and local efforts to relax it, are summarized below.

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  • Police crackdown on Christiania in Copenhagen

    Kim Kristian Moeller
    Crime, Law and Social Change, 52(4): 2009, 337-345
    January 14, 2009

    A recent change in Danish cannabis control policy has had significant implications for the structure of the retail-level cannabis market in Copenhagen. A process of restructuring following an crackdown on ‘Pusher Street’ has involved at least four people getting shot and killed in what police describe as struggles for market shares. Combating the retail cannabis market was a top three priority for the Copenhagen police.

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  • Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate

    Robin Room, Peter Reuter, Wayne Hall, Benedikt Fischer, Simon Lenton & Amanda Fielding
    Beckley Foundation’s Global Cannabis Commission
    September 2008

    Despite cannabis being the most widely used illegal drug, and therefore the mainstay of the ‘war on drugs’, it has only ever held a relatively marginal position in international drug policy discussions. Amanda Fielding of the Beckley Foundation decided to convene a team of the world’s leading drug policy analysts to prepare an overview of the latest scientific evidence surrounding cannabis and the policies that control its use. The report of the Beckley Foundation's Global Cannabis Commission is aimed at bringing cannabis to the attention of policymakers and guide decision making.

    application-pdfCannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate

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    Extended Summary

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  • Cannabis: Classification and Public Health

    Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs
    April 2008

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs reviewed the classification of cannabis in the light of real public concern about the potential mental health effects of cannabis use and, in particular, the use of stronger strains of the drug.

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  • Review of the world cannabis situation

    Bulletin on Narcotics
    April 2008

    Cannabis is the world’s most widely cultivated and consumed illicit drug, but there remain major gaps in our understanding of global cannabis markets. For example, it appears that premium sinsemilla cannabis, often produced indoors in consumer countries, has become more potent in recent years and that its market share is also growing in some areas. This may be leading to greater localization of cannabis markets. It may also be responsible for the increase in the proportion of cannabis users in treatment populations at the international level.

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  • Cannabis resolutions at the 2008 CND

    TNI briefing
    March 2008

    At the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2008 in Vienna three resolutions on cannabis were tabled. They were all clearly against 'lenient policies'  in some countries depenalising or decriminalizing the use of cannabis. One of the resolutions called for the criminalization of drug abuse that would have significantly expanded the UN drug conven­tions. 

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  • The INCB and cannabis

    From: The International Narcotics Control Board: Current Tensions and Options for Reform, IDPC Briefing Paper 7
    February 2008

    Where legal ambiguities and disagreement persist around cannabis policies, the INCB continues to make narrow legal interpretations of what is allowed under the UN drug conventions and repeatedly expresses its strong objection to any move towards decriminalization of possession for personal use, lowering law enforcement priorities for cannabis or reclassification.

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  • Decriminalization of cannabis

    Wim van den Brink
    Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2008, 21:122–126
    March 2008

    This paper discusses the case for decriminalization of cannabis use, based on a careful weighting of the currently available evidence regarding advantages and risks of such a policy change. The issue of decriminalization is a response to the widespread use of cannabis in spite of its current illegal status; that is, as a consequence of the perceived ineffectiveness of the traditional prohibition of cannabis use.

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  • Invitational Conference Cannabis Policy

    Dutch government urged to open international debate about UN drug control conventions
    Open letter to the Dutch Prime Minister
    December 12, 2007

    TNI co-signed a letter that was sent to the Dutch Prime Minister and relevant parliamentary commissions, stressing the need for an active Dutch involvement in the UNGASS review process and specifically to use the moment to open the discussion about the UN conventions that are an obstacle to further developments in Dutch cannabis policy.

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