• Balancing Treaty Stability and Change

    Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation
    Martin Jelsma, Neil Boister, David Bewley-Taylor, Malgosia Fitzmaurice & John Walsh
    Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) / Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) / Transnational Institute (TNI)
    March 2018

    Legal tensions are growing within the international drug control regime as increasing numbers of member states move towards or seriously consider legal regulation of the cannabis market for non-medical purposes. Amongst reform options not requiring consensus, inter se modification appears to be the most ‘elegant’ approach and one that provides a useful safety valve for collective action to adjust a treaty regime arguably frozen in time.

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  • Regulating Cannabis in Accord with International Law: Options to Explore

    CND side event on Friday, March 16, 2018: Conference Room M5, 13:10-14:00

    As a growing number of countries move towards legal regulation for non-medical cannabis, governments are pushing the boundaries of the three UN drug control treaties. At the 61st session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2018, TNI, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) organised a side event to explore the issue, addressing the various challenges and opportunities involved. At the event a groundbreaking report on the issue was presented: Balancing Treaty Stability and Change: Inter se modification of the UN drug control conventions to facilitate cannabis regulation.

  • What comes next?

    Post-UNGASS options for 2019/2020 – Version 4
    IDPC Advocacy Note
    January 2018

    The 2016 UNGASS on drugs was hailed as an opportunity ‘to conduct a wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options’. Although the UNGASS process had some challenges, it was nonetheless a critical moment for global drug policy reform. In June 2017, the UN Secretary General welcomed the UNGASS Outcome Document as a ‘forward-looking blueprint for action’ and called on governments to ‘honour the unanimous commitments’ made.

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  • Yes, legalizing marijuana breaks treaties. We can deal with that

    John Walsh Dave Bewley-Taylor Martin Jelsma Tom Blickman
    Ipolitics (Canada)
    Monday, December 11, 2017

    Buzzing in the background of Canada’s debate on cannabis legalization is the issue of the three UN drug control treaties, and what to do with them. The issue arose during the House of Commons’ consideration of Bill C-45, and may well come up again now that the bill is coming under Senate scrutiny. There is no doubt that legalizing and regulating cannabis markets for non-medical use will mean Canada is no longer in compliance with the obligation under the treaties to restrict cannabis to “medical and scientific” purposes. And Canada will need to address those treaties — in due time.

  • IDPC contribution for the pre-review of CBD and Tramadol at the 39th WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence

    Marie Nougier
    IDPC Advocacy Note
    November 2017

    The Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) of the World Health Organization (WHO) will hold its 39th meeting from 6th to 10th November 2017 in Geneva. The ECDD is mandated by the 1961 and 1971 UN drug conventions with the task of undertaking scientific reviews of substances and recommending their appropriate scheduling to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), taking into account both risks related to non-medical use and therapeutic usefulness.

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  • Edging forward

    How the UN’s language on drugs has advanced since 1990
    Jamie Bridge (IDPC), Christopher Hallam (IDPC), Marie Nougier (IDPC), Miguel Herrero Cangas (IDPC) Martin Jelsma (TNI), Tom Blickman (TNI) & David Bewley-Taylor (GDPO)
    IDPC Briefing Paper
    September 2017

    Diplomatic processes at the United Nations are notoriously slow and difficult, perhaps increasingly so in a modern world of multi-polar geopolitics and tensions. This is certainly no different for the highly charged and provocative issue of international drug control. After the latest high-level UN meeting on drug control – the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the ‘world drug problem’ in New York in April 2016 – many stakeholders came away with mixed feelings at best. Despite acknowledgements of the progress made in certain areas of the debate, and the rich content of some of the country and civil society statements, the UNGASS failed to deliver the ‘wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options’ that had been called for by the UN Secretary-General at the time, Ban Ki-Moon.

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  • Morocco and Cannabis

    Reduction, containment or acceptance
    Tom Blickman
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 49
    March 2017

    This policy briefing discusses whether or not the aim of reducing cannabis cultivation is realistic or beneficial for Morocco, what it would actually mean for the major production area the Rif – one of the poorest, most densely populated and environmentally fragile regions in the country – and what that could imply for meaningful sustainable development. The briefing will give some historical background, discuss developments in the cannabis market, and highlight environmental and social consequences as well as the recent debate about regulation in Morocco and about European policies.

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  • Cannabis in Latin America and the Caribbean

    From punishment to regulation
    Alejandro Corda and Mariano Fusero
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 48
    September 2016

    Cannabis (or marihuana) is one of the most widely consumed psychoactive substances in the world. According to the United Nations World Drug Report, 183 million people, or 3.8% of the world’s population, used cannabis in 2014. Its cultivation was also reported by 129 countries. Cannabis is subject to the United Nations System for International Control of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (hereafter “drugs”) and is the most widely consumed of all the drugs. According to that control system, cannabis is among the substances with the strictest legal status; they are the most prohibited, supposedly because of the harm they cause and their lack of medical usefulness.

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  • UNGASS 2016: A Broken or B-r-o-a-d Consensus?

    UN summit cannot hide a growing divergence in the global drug policy landscape
    Dave Bewley-Taylor Martin Jelsma
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr 45
    July 2016

    A special session of the General Assembly took place in April revealing a growing divergence in the global drug policy landscape. Difficult negotiations resulted in a disappointing outcome document, perpetuating a siloed approach to drugs at the UN level. There is a clear need to realign international drug policies with the overarching 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, embedding the drugs issue comprehensively within the UN’s three pillars: development, human rights, and peace and security. The UNGASS process has helped to set the stage for more substantial changes in the near future, towards the next UN review in 2019.

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  • Cannabis in Indonesia

    Patterns in consumption, production, and policies
    Dania Putri & Tom Blickman
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 44
    January 2016

    Cannabis use has never posed major problems in Indonesia, yet prohibitionist policies prevail. Despite the high prevalence of cannabis use, local or national discussions on cannabis policies are nearly non-existent, exacerbated by strong anti-drug views and public institutions' failure to design and implement comprehensive policies based on evidence. Because of the current anti-narcotics law – discussed in detail in this briefing – there have been many obstacles to research on cannabis, both in terms of medical and anthropological research.

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