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 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.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF) | Bahasa Indonesia

  • Cannabis regulation in Colorado

    Early evidence defies the critics
    Steve Rolles
    October 2015

    The core argument made by opponents of legal regulation is that any regulated market for cannabis would inevitably fuel a significant rise in use and associated harms – particularly among young people. So inevitably, as the first jurisdiction in the world to implement a legally regulated market for non-medical cannabis use, Colorado is under intense scrutiny, with advocates keen to demonstrate its successes, and prohibitionists keen to highlight its failings.

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  • Perspective: Be clear about the real risks

    The assertion that cannabis use can cause schizophrenia is not borne out by the evidence
    Thursday, September 24, 2015

    The 1936 film Reefer Madness depicted cannabis as a drug that provoked uncontrollable insanity, leading to manslaughter, suicide and attempted rape. This was a ridiculous characterization of the effects of cannabis, but there is a long history of associating the drug with psychotic disorders. It is important to ensure we do not confuse correlation with causation and incite another Reefer Madness-style panic. By offering careful, evidence-based interpretations of the data, scientists can effectively contribute to policy decisions related to cannabis use and mental health.

  • Here’s why we hear so many false claims about cannabis

    Scientists often highlight the negative effects of drugs to justify their own source of funding
    David Nutt
    DrugScience (UK)
    Tuesday, September 8, 2015

    Research on substance use has taught me a major overarching lesson: we are much more likely to demonize drugs for their negative effects than consider their neutral or potentially positive impacts. Or – in scientific terms – there is a built-in bias in the scientific literature, textbooks, and the popular press towards highlighting the negative aspects of drug use. And more ink has been spilled about cannabis than any other drug, perhaps because it’s the most widely used illegal drug and the subject of intense debate concerning its regulation.

  • Surprising news about teens, marijuana, and health issues. It’s all good

    The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issues
    The Washington Post (US)
    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    With the widespread availability of marijuana in recent years thanks to its legalization in a growing number of states, there has been increasing concern about the long-term health consequences on teens who might be able to get easier access to it illegally. A study published by the American Psychological Association in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors should alleviate some of the worst fears. The researchers found no links to physical or mental health issues -- including depression, psychotic symptoms or asthma -- in any group, even those with very high use.

  • State of the Evidence: Cannabis Use and Regulation

    International Centre for Science in Drug Policy (ICSDP)
    August 2015

    As more and more jurisdictions reconsider their cannabis policies, the public discourse is filled with conflicting evidence about the impacts of cannabis use and regulation. Cannabis causes schizophrenia. Cannabis is as addictive as heroin. Cannabis regulation leads to increased traffic fatalities. We hear claims like these all the time – but are they based on science? In our latest reports, the ICSDP investigates and provides comprehensive evaluations of the evidence for and against each claim.

    Download the report (PDF) | Cannabis claims website

  • Smoking may be causal factor in developing schizophrenia: researchers

    It’s possible that nicotine exposure, by increasing the release of dopamine, causes psychosis to develop
    The Globe and Mail (Canada)
    Monday, July 13, 2015

    In research that turns on its head previous thinking about links between schizophrenia and smoking, scientists say cigarettes may be a causal factor in the development of psychosis. Previous studies have linked cannabis use to psychosis. But there is much debate about whether this is causal or whether there may be shared genes that predispose people to both cannabis use and schizophrenia. James MacCabe, a psychosis expert who co-led the research at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, said the new results suggest “it might even be possible that the real villain is tobacco, not cannabis” – since cannabis users often combine with tobacco.

  • Cultivating alternatives: Towards a regional cannabis model

    Kevin Edmonds
    Caribbean Journal of International Relations and Diplomacy
    Volume 3 Number 2, June 2015

    The decriminalization and regulation of cannabis has been occurring in many jurisdictions in the United States – but also closer to home and more significantly in Jamaica. While unable to directly compete with these long-established producers, the Windward Islands are home to their own significant, albeit illegal, cannabis economy. A pressing task facing the cash strapped governments of the Windward Islands, particularly St Vincent and St Lucia is to capitalize on the current climate of drug reform and adopt creative decriminalization policies which will ensure that they are able to transition the employment, income generation and value added opportunities from the ganja economy to the legal economy.

    Download the article (PDF)

  • In debate over legalizing marijuana, disagreement over drug’s dangers

    In their own words: Supporters and opponents of legalization
    Pew Research Center (US)
    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Public opinion about legalizing marijuana in the US, while little changed in the past few years, has undergone a dramatic long-term shift. A new survey finds that 53% favor the legal use of marijuana, while 44% are opposed. As recently as 2006, just 32% supported marijuana legalization, while nearly twice as many (60%) were opposed. Millennials (currently 18-34) have been in the forefront of this change: 68% favor legalizing marijuana use.

  • The Legal Landscape for Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain

    Amber Marks
    Observatorio Civil de Drogas
    February 2015

    This briefing is a preliminary sketch of the legal landscape for cannabis social clubs in Spain. Its author is presently conducting legal analysis and empirical research in Spain and her findings will be published in due course. The aim of this briefing is to provide an interim sketch of the relevant law for English speakers working in drug policy.

    Download the paper (PDF)


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