• 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Ganja di Indonesia

    Pola konsumsi, produksi, dan kebijakan
    Dania Putri & Tom Blickman
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 44
    February 2017

    Penggunaan ganja tidak pernah menimbulkan masalah besar di Indonesia, namun kebijakan prohibitionist (pelarangan) tetap diberlakukan sampai sekarang. Meskipun prevalensi konsumsi ganja cukup tinggi, diskusi lokal atau nasional terkait kebijakan ganja jarang sekali dilakukan. Hal ini juga diperburuk oleh sikap anti-narkotika serta kegagalan institusi publik dalam merancang dan menerapkan kebijakan yang berbasis ilmiah. Karena perundang-undangan anti-narkotika yang berlaku saat ini, terdapat banyak hambatan dalam proses penelitian tentang ganja, baik dari segi medis maupun antropologi.

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  • The Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP)

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    October 2016

    The voices of affected communities involved in the cultivation of coca leaf, opium poppy and cannabis plants are lacking in the global debate on drug policy reform in general and were at risk of being excluded from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 on The World Drug Problem. In January 2016 the Transnational Institute (TNI) gathered a group of approximately 60 farmers and farmers’ representatives in the Netherlands for the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP), facilitating a discussion of their views on and experiences with illicit crop control 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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  • 'Found in the Dark'

    The Impact of Drug Law Enforcement Practices in Myanmar
    Ernestien Jensema & Nang Pann Ei Kham
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 47
    September 2016

    To address its serious drug use problems, Myanmar should change its drug policy towards a harm reduction approach. Instead of a repressive approach, voluntary and evidence-based treatment and public health services, including harm reduction, should be made available and become generally accepted by enforcement officials and by the community at large. Myanmar has very strict drug laws and policies, and its legal framework emphasises harsh sentences and the criminalisation of drug users rather than providing access to health and harm reduction services. This report highlights the impact of current drug law enforcement practices in Myanmar and illustrates why a change in drug legislation and policy is necessary.

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  • Paraguay: The cannabis breadbasket of the Southern Cone

    A focus on the largest cannabis producer in South America
    Guillermo Garat
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 46
    July 2016

    Paraguay is the principal producer of cannabis in South America, though nobody knows for certain how many hectares are planted with this crop, probably on account of its concealment and a prevalent climate of corruption. National authorities and international control agencies estimate an area between 6,000 and 7,000 hectares, with an annual production of 16,500 tonnes. At present, according to estimates of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Anti Drogas - SENAD), some 20,000 farmers are involved in cannabis cultivation, boosting the microeconomy of the north-eastern region of the country.

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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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