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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  • A tale of two cannabinoids

    The therapeutic rationale for combining tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol
    Ethan Russo & Geoffrey W. Guy
    Medical Hypotheses (2006) 66, 234–246
    January 2006

    This study examines the current knowledge of physiological and clinical effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) and presents a rationale for their combination in pharmaceutical preparations. Cannabinoid and vanilloid receptor effects as well as non-receptor mechanisms are explored, such as the capability of THC and CBD to act as anti-inflammatory substances independent of cyclo-oxygenase (COX) inhibition. CBD is demonstrated to antagonise some undesirable effects of THC including intoxication, sedation and tachycardia, while contributing analgesic, anti-emetic, and anti-carcinogenic properties in its own right.

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  • What Does It Mean to Decriminalize Marijuana?

    A Cross-National Empirical Examination
    Pacula et.al.
    Center for the Study of Law and Society Faculty Working Papers
    Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program, UC Berkeley
    September 2004

    This paper provides a framework for understanding what decriminalization means within the broader context of depenalization. To illustrate these concepts, it provides a detailed discussion of a range of depenalization policies observed in developed countries, highlighting for each country a distinct issue that influences how the policy is implemented and its potential impact.

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  • Pot, politics and the press—reflections on cannabis law reform in Western Australia

    Simon Lenton
    Drug and Alcohol Review 23 (2): 223-233
    June 2004

    Windows of opportunity for changing drug laws open infrequently and they often close without legislative change being affected. In this paper the author, who has been intimately involved in the process, describes how evidence-based recommendations to ‘decriminalize’ cannabis have recently been progressed through public debate and the political process to become law in Western Australia (WA). This paper describes some of the background to the scheme, the process by which it has become law, the main provisions of the scheme and its evaluation. It includes reflections on the role of politics and the press in the process.

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  • The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy

    Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco
    Craig Reinarman, Peter Cohen, and Hendrien L. Kaal
    American Journal of Public Health, Vol 94, No. 5
    May 2004

    Decriminalizing cannabis doesn't lead to more widespread use, according to a study comparing cannabis users in two similar cities with opposing cannabis policies — Amsterdam, the Netherlands (decriminalization), and San Francisco, California (criminalization). The study compared age at onset, regular and maximum use, frequency and quantity of use over time, intensity and duration of intoxication, career use patterns, and other drug use. No evidence was found to support claims that criminalization reduces use or that decriminalization increases use.

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  • Cannabis Policy, Implementation and Outcomes

    Mirjam van het Loo, Stijn Hoorens, Christian van ‘t Hof & James P. Kahan
    RAND Europe
    2003

    This report examines what is known about the effects of policies regarding the possession and use of cannabis. Such policies continue to be subject to debate in most if not all European countries. Different governments have made different policy decisions, varying from explicit toleration (but not full legalisation) to strict prohibition. Policymaking would be served by insight in the relationship between different cannabis policies and their outcomes, such as prevalence of cannabis use and social consequences for cannabis users and for society as a whole.

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  • Cannabis control

    The model of the WHO tobacco control treaty
    Eddy L. Engelsman
    International Journal of Drug Policy (Volume 14, Issue 2)
    Special Issue on the UNGASS Mid-term Review
    April 2003

    Cannabis like other illicit drugs is so-called ‘controlled drug’. A closer look makes clear that these drugs are in fact far from being ‘controlled’. The cultivation, trade, transport, wholesale distribution, sale, and above all the unsafe composition, potency and quality of the products are not controlled at all. Neither is the use. All this is a threat to public health. Fortunately, there is an alternative at hand.

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  • European Cannabis Policies Under Attack

    Tom Blickman
    TNI Briefing
    April 2002

    A strong attack against the European practice of 'leniency' regarding cannabis use and possession took place at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) session (11-15 March, 2002) in Vienna. There was an orchestrated attempt to pass a CND resolution to put a dam against the 'leniency'.

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  • Crack Heads and Roots Daughters

    The Therapeutic Use of Cannabis in Jamaica
    Melanie Dreher
    Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, 2(3-4), 121-133
    2002

    An ethnographic study of women and drug use in inner city neighborhoods in Kingston, Jamaica, revealed that cannabis is commonly used in conjunction with crack cocaine to minimize the undesirable effects of crack pipe smoking, specifically paranoia and weight loss.

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  • Evaluating alternative cannabis regimes

    Robert MacCoun & Peter Reuter
    British Journal of Psychiatry (2001) 178: 123-128
    February 2001

    Cannabis is the cutting-edge drug for reform, the only politically plausible candidate for major legal change, at least decriminalisation (removal of criminal penalties for possession) and perhaps even outright legalisation (permitting production and sale). Compared with other drugs, the harms, physiological or behavioural, are less severe and the drug is better integrated into the culture. Throughout Western Europe and in the Antipodes there is pressure for reductions in the punitiveness of the marijuana regime.

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  • The Dutch example shows that liberal drug laws can be beneficial

    Craig Reinarman
    Scott Barbour (Ed.), Drug Legalization: Current Controversies. San Diego: Greenhaven Press. pp. 102-108.

    U.S. drug control officials have denounced Dutch drug policy as if it were the devil himself. One former U.S. Drug Czar said "you can't walk down the street in Amsterdam without tripping over junkies." In the Summer of 1998, however, one such denouncement turned into a small scandal. The first part of this chapter examines this incident as a window on the politics of drug policy. The second part offers a more general analysis of why U.S. drug control officials seem to be so threatened by the Dutch example.

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