• New government in Spain: An opportunity for cannabis legalization?

    Pedro Sanchez is the new and unexpected president of Spain. Among his supporters, some openly call for the legalization of cannabis. Is this really an opportunity for things to change?
    Martín Barriuso
    Friday, August 10, 2018

    spain legalizeOn June 1, Pedro Sanchez became Spain’s first president to be elected through a no-confidence motion. A few days after the Popular Party was condemned for corruption, the socialist candidate won the support of an unlikely confluence of theoretically incompatible groups. Will this unexpected change serve to unblock the debate on the regulation of cannabis? For years, a long list of corruption cases has been gradually damaging the image of the Popular Party (PP), an organization which until recently drew together almost all the conservative electorate in Spain.

  • More drugs, more deaths, more damage...

    U.N. drug report shows global drug trade grows despite draconian enforcement efforts
    Juan Fernandez Ochoa (IDPC)
    Tuesday, June 26, 2018

    In 2012, Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, referred to current drug control efforts as something akin to riding a stationary bicycle. "One keeps pedalling, pedalling and pedalling, and making great efforts,(...) only to find out one hasn’t really moved”. Today, as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) releases its latest figures on the drugs market, Santos’ words ring particularly true. In fact, the 2018 World Drug Report shows some countries are fruitlessly pedalling faster. Between 2012-2016, the amount of drugs seized by law enforcement authorities increased noticeably. By around 60% when it comes to cocaine, opioids and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS); and a whopping 150% when it comes to ‘new psychoactive substances’ (NPS). Cannabis, an outlier in this trend, showed a slight downtick of roughly 10%.

  • INCB should exert caution in presenting data on cannabis regulation

    The INCB has a duty to ensure its contribution to debates on drug control remains balanced and rigorous
    Ann Fordham (IDPC)
    Sunday, May 6, 2018

    At the recent 63rd Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organisation of American States, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) member who was present, Raúl Martin Del Campo Sánchez, spoke on a panel titled “The link between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Drug Policy: A focus on international organisations”. At the end of a wide-ranging presentation that addressed the drug policy related facets of SDGs 3, 5, 10 and 16, Mr Del Campo Sánchez moved to present several final slides on the “Negative Effects of Cannabis Legalization in the USA”. It was unclear as to how the concluding slides related to the earlier part of the presentation, however Mr Del Campo Sánchez seemed quite determined to make the point that cannabis regulation initiatives at the state-level in the USA had only resulted in negative outcomes.

  • 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

    Chrystia FreelandOn 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.”

  • “The drug market is thriving” while the Commission on Narcotic Drugs limps along

    The most tense and difficult negotiations revolved around the ‘modalities resolution’ for the preparations and procedure for the 2019 high-level “ministerial segment”
    Ann Fordham (IDPC)
    Sunday, April 8, 2018

    “The drug market is thriving” is one of the key messages in UNODC’s 2017 World Drug Report. This is an important admission from the UN’s lead agency for drugs given that it is now less than nine months away from 2019 – the current target date by which governments committed to “significantly reduce or eliminate” the global drug market within ten years. At last month’s annual gathering of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, the abysmal failure to be able to claim any progress whatsoever towards these so-called ‘drug-free’ targets was the backdrop to the latest round of tense negotiations on global drug control. 

  • The new Italian Parliament must act on drug policy reform

    The first and most important issue is the full revision of the current drug law
    Hassan Bassi (Forum Droghe)
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    After the March 4 general elections in Italy, the 18th Legislature is starting its session facing an array of urgent problems – including a national drug policy reform. At least this is the main goal of several groups that in mid-February introduced a seven-item platform detailing a series of actual changes to the current repressive approach. Indeed, even the new President of the House, Roberto Fico, underlined that the Parliament is an ideal setting for civil society proposals and direct democracy action, a place where “popular initiative” bills deserve broader acknowledgement and consideration.

  • UN Human Rights Council reaffirms role of human rights in international drug policy debate

    Despite the unequivocal link between the drug policy debates and human rights, the negotiations in Geneva held over several weeks were not easy
    Olivia Rope (Penal Reform International)
    Wednesday, March 28, 2018

    Last Friday evening, 23 March 2018, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council concluded its 3-week long session by voting to adopt a Resolution reaffirming that human rights must play a central role in the ongoing international debate on global drug policies. While there remain important challenges to overcome in the discussions on international drug policy, this resolution represents a key milestone for ensuring drug policies comply with human rights obligations.

  • Evaluating global drug control

    Reviewing our goals and how we measure progress against them
    Marie Nougier, Head of Research and Communications of IDPC
    Thursday, January 25, 2018

    In March 2017, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) adopted Resolution 60/1 in which it called on the UNODC to ‘strengthen and streamline its existing data-collection and analysis tools’. The key tool for collecting data on drug control is the Annual Report Questionnaire (ARQ), a long set of questions sent to all countries so that they can report back on progress made in addressing the illicit drug market. The responses received form the basis of the UNODC’s annual flagship publication – the World Drug Report. This begs the question – what data is UNODC actually collecting?

  • The end of cannabis tolerance in Spain

    The new decisions of the Constitutional Court
    Martín Barriuso
    Tuesday, January 2, 2018

    After decades of relative tolerance towards Cannabis in Spain, the Constitutional Court decides that cannabis clubs are criminal. Years of government criminalizing strategy pay off. The national parliamentary debate can no longer be postponed.  In Spain, the Constitutional Court has decided that Cannabis Social Clubs infringe the law and that their activities cannot be regulated by regional parliaments if the Penal Code is not modified. Fifty years of relative tolerance come to a closure and a new stage, where legal uncertainty and repression will be the keynote, is now open. A new national regulation is the only way to overcome the situation.

  • Coca and the Colombian Peace Accords

    A commentary on the pilot substitution project in Briceño
    Martin Jelsma & Coletta Youngers
    Friday, August 11, 2017

    Martin and Coletta in a meeting with community leadersGetting to the Briceño region in the heart of Antioquia requires an excellent vehicle, and a lot of time and luck. The week before our journey there in mid-July, heavy rains wiped out part of the road between Briceño and Pueblo Nuevo, stranding folks on one side or the other. We were lucky on the day of our journey – no rain. But it took a six-hour drive to get from Medellín to Briceño, and another three hours of sometimes harrowing curves to Pueblo Nuevo. The dirt-road drive itself was a stark reminder of the challenges Colombia faces as it seeks to eliminate 50,000 hectares of coca this year through the crop substitution program, Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito (National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops), known by the acronym PNIS.


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