• The WHO’s First-Ever Critical Review of Cannabis

    A Mixture of Obvious Recommendations Deserving Support and Dubious Methods and Outcomes Requiring Scrutiny
    Transnational Institute (TNI), Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO-Swansea University) & Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    March 2019

    The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD or Expert Committee) released in January 2019 the outcomes of the first-ever critical review of cannabis, recommending a series of changes in the current scheduling of cannabis-related substances under the UN drug control conventions. Eagerly awaited, the ECDD recommendations contain some clearly positive points, such as acknowledging the medicinal usefulness of cannabis by removing it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs; clarifying that cannabidiol (CBD) is not under international control; and addressing some long-standing scheduling inconsistencies.

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  • A Distortion of Reality

    Drugs, Conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    Tuesday, March 5, 2019

    After decades of fighting between the central government and various ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar, the links between drugs and conflict have spiraled into a complex chain reaction. The roots of the conflict are political, but very few of the conflict parties in drugs-producing areas can claim to have clean hands when it comes to the narcotics trade. The recently-released “Myanmar Opium Survey 2018” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) entails specific accusations against several of the conflict actors and distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar. A neutral and factual survey that promotes accuracy about the realities on the ground could bring peoples together and serve as a basis for discussion, understanding and national reconciliation. But a biased and one-sided survey will only create further divisions and greater obstacles for mutual cooperation in the future.

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  • Methamphetamine use in Myanmar, Thailand, and Southern China: assessing practices, reducing harms

    Renaud Cachia & Thura Myint Lwin
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 50
    February 2019

    Over the past decade, methamphetamine use has grown more popular in Myanmar, Thailand and Southern China. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with individuals who use methamphetamine, this briefing sheds light on the importance of promoting an environment that reinforces, rather than undermines, the ability of people who use methamphetamine to regulate their drug use, preserve their health and adopt safer practices.

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  • Connecting the dots...

    Human rights, illicit cultivation and alternative development
    Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institue (TN)
    October 2018

    How can we resolve the tensions between current drug control policies and states’ human rights obligations? The international human rights framework clearly establishes that, in the event of conflicts between obligations under the UN Charter and other international agreements, human rights obligations take precedence. As legally regulated cannabis markets start to grow, now is the time to secure a legitimate place for small farmers using alternative development, human rights and fair trade principles.

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  • Taking stock: A decade of drug policy

    A civil society shadow report
    International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    October 2018

    ‘Taking stock: A decade of drug policy’ evaluates the impacts of drug policies implemented across the world over the past decade, using data from the United Nations (UN), complemented with peer-reviewed academic research and grey literature reports from civil society. The important role of civil society in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of global drug policies is recognised in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on drugs, as well as in the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. It is in this spirit that the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has produced this Shadow Report, to contribute constructively to high-level discussions on the next decade in global drug policy.

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  • The elegant way to end global cannabis prohibition: Inter se modification

    Countries that embrace legal regulation find themselves in breach of international law. In this video, we explain a strategy to resolve those treaty tensions and to enable progressive and sustainable change at the global level.

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  • Seek drug reform within international law: Tom Blickman

    Stigmatisation and international laws that tilt towards prohibition of drugs make it difficult to find a common ground for a rational debate
    Delhi Post (india)
    Monday, October 1, 2018

    Dating back to the latter part of 1800s, precisely in 1894-95, the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission consisting of medical experts of Indian and British origin concluded that moderate use of cannabis was the rule in India, and produced practically no ill-effects. “What countries like Uruguay and Canada are doing now, India had already proposed 120 years ago,” says Tom Blickman from the Transnational Institute (TNI), an international policy think tank based in the Netherlands. “Had the wisdom of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission’s recommendations prevailed, we would have prevented a lot of misery by erroneous drug control policies,” he points out. (See also: A legal hallucination)

  • On the road towards the 2019 Ministerial Segment

    IDPC Advocacy Note
    September 2018

    UN member states have agreed to hold a Ministerial Segment immediately prior to the 62nd Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) ‘to take stock of the implementation of the commitments made to jointly address and counter the world drug problem, in particular in the light of the 2019 target date’ set out to eradicate or significantly reduce the overall scale of the illegal drug market. This advocacy note outlines the key issues for consideration by member states as they reflect on what has been achieved since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action, including in light of the implementation of the UNGASS Outcome Document, and the implications for the next phase of the international drug policy regime.

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  • Veneer of consensus masks deep disagreement on global drug policy

    Trump to host UN meeting on drug policy
    John Walsh, Ann Fordham, Martin Jelsma & Hannah Hetzer
    Saturday, September 22, 2018

    On September 24, President Trump will begin his appearance at the UN General Assembly by hosting an event on the “World Drug Problem.” Only delegates of those UN Member States that have signed a document circulated by the Trump administration – a “Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem” – will be invited to attend. At the event, delegates will have the opportunity to pose for a group photograph with President Trump before he, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and UN Secretary General António Guterres provide remarks.

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  • 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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