• INCB hearing on the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes

    An inter se agreement on cannabis regulation would allow a group of countries to modify certain treaty provisions amongst themselves
    INCB Civil Society Hearing
    Monday, May 7, 2018

    The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) held a meeting with civil society representatives on the “the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes”. The meeting brought together a number of representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), selected by the Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC), and members of the Board. Transnational Institute associate fellow and director of the Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO) Prof. Dave Bewley-Taylor, delivered a statement on how states can reconcile treaty obligations with democratically mandated policy shifts at the national level to a legally regulated cannabis market, with due regard for international law, and what role can the Board play in this process?

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  • In bid to intimidate Canada on cannabis regulation, INCB is reckless and wrong

    Canada should reject the Board’s false claims and thinly veiled effort at intimidation
    John Walsh (WOLA) and Martin Jelsma (TNI)
    Friday, May 4, 2018

    On May 1, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland appeared before the Canadian Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (AEFA) to discuss the international dimensions of Bill C-45 to regulate cannabis. She acknowledged that regulating cannabis would entail “contravening certain obligations related to cannabis under the three UN drug conventions,” adding that, “we have to be honest about that.” Asked about the ‘inter se’ proposal, whereby like-minded nations can negotiate amongst themselves to contract out of certain provisions of the treaty, Minister Freeland replied that the government had discussed the ‘inter se’ concept and that it was worth thinking about: “We are definitely open to working with treaty partners to identify solutions that accommodate different approaches to cannabis within the international framework.”

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  • Hearing on Bill C-45 as it relates to Canada’s international obligations

    An inter se agreement on cannabis regulation would allow a group of countries to modify certain treaty provisions amongst themselves alone
    Standing Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade
    Meeting regarding Bill C-45 as it relates to Canada’s international obligations
    Thursday, April 19, 2018

    The international dimensions of Bill C-45 are of utmost importance not only for Canada itself but for many countries around the world that are moving in the direction of legally regulating the cannabis market. The position Canada will take vis-à-vis the UN drug control conventions could well be a crucial moment in the long and troubled history of international drug control. Inter se modification appears as a legitimate safety valve, and perhaps under current circumstances the most elegant way out for a group of countries to collectively derogate from certain cannabis provisions.

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  • Poppies, opium, and heroin

    Production in Colombia and Mexico
    Jorge Hernández Tinajero, Guillermo Andrés Ospina & Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    February 2018

    Poppy cultivation in Mexico and Colombia is part of a local economy geared almost exclusively toward the illegal market abroad: it is driven by demand for heroin, primarily in the United States. North America, including Canada, is currently experiencing a major humanitarian crisis related to this use and the opioids circulating on this market. To understand the dynamics of this market and to evaluate whether political responses to the phenomenon are appropriate and effective, we present this report on opium poppy cultivation in Mexico and Colombia, which, together with Guatemala, are the poppy-producing countries of Latin America.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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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    application pdfIDPC Statement at the 39th Meeting of the ECDD (PDF)

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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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