• Prohibited Plants

    Environmental Justice in Drug Policy
    Sylvia Kay
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    June 2022

    Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ points out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms. This holds particularly true for populations in the global South. The role of illicit drugs in relation to these environmental stresses is an underexplored terrain. Yet, as this report will argue, drugs, as well as the policy responses to them, are an environmental issue.

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  • A House of Cards

    ‘High compliance’: A legally indefensible and confusing distraction
    Martin Jelsma (TNI), David Bewley-Taylor (GDPO), Tom Blickman (TNI), and John Walsh (WOLA)
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    April 29, 2022

    In a recently published report, ‘High compliance, a lex lata legalization for the non-medical cannabis industry’, Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli claims to have discovered a new legal justification for regulating recreational cannabis in accordance with the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. A close reading quickly reveals the confused and legally indefensible nature of the paper’s proposed escape route. And while we consider the UN drug control treaties to be out of date and not fit for purpose, we strongly disagree with proposals that would seek to overcome the challenges on the basis of legally unsound and invalid arguments. The ‘High compliance’ paper constructs a legal house of cards that comes tumbling down when its core arguments are contested and taken out.

  • Women and Drugs in Myanmar

    A primer
    Dania Putri & Ernestien Jensema
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    March 2022

    What’s the role and position of women in opium cultivation areas in Myanmar? What is life like for women who use drugs in Myanmar? This primer maps out the gendered dynamics of drug policy in Myanmar, drawing from on-the-ground conversations with women involved in the drugs market. When it comes to drugs and related policies, women and their experiences are often rendered invisible, or presented merely as an afterthought even though in many cases women tend to face harsher effects of punitive policies. This primer emphasises the need for a rights-based approach for these specific populations of women – women using drugs, women dealing drugs or couriering (sometimes to support personal use), and women engaging in the drugs market through opium cultivation.

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  • The shortcomings and side effects of substance scheduling

    Side Event at the 65th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 14-18 March 2022
    Thursday, March 17, 2022

    Substance scheduling is a central function of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and a longstanding pillar of international and national drug policies. Despite the continued reliance on scheduling, there is an ongoing debate as to whether scheduling substances is beneficial or determinantal in preventing drug-related harms. The observed displacement/replacement effect indicates that the scheduling of substances and resulting law enforcement involvement is routinely followed by the emergence of new substances often posing greater harms from consumption, as has been observed in the case of the steadily increasing rate of overdoses around the world caused by highly potent opioids in the unregulated drug market.

  • The green wave hits Europe: Recent cannabis regulation initiatives in Europe

    Side Event at the 65th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 14-18 March 2022
    Tuesday, March 15, 2022

    GreenWave600x400In the last few years several countries as well as numerous subnational jurisdictions in the Americas have adopted policies to regulate cannabis for non-medical use as an alternative to prohibition. The reform of cannabis policies is proceeding also in Europe: Malta has partially decriminalised personal consumption and cultivation of Cannabis; Luxembourg’s parliament is considering reforms; Germany’s new coalition government announced its intention to legally regulate cannabis for non-medical use. In Italy a referendum was proposed but not admitted by the Supreme Court, aimed at the depenalization of personal cultivation and depenalization of all cannabis-related conduct.

  • The War on Drugs and the denial of indigenous rights

    Opening remarks: David Choquehuanca Céspedes, Vice-President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

    As a colonial construct, the global drug control regime has undermined the rights of indigenous peoples (including the right to self determination, and to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs), obliging all states to abolish traditional uses of coca, cannabis and opium by means of crop eradication and drug law enforcement. This webinar, which took place on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2021, will shed light on the conflict between the drug control regime and Indigenous rights, and challenge prevailing narratives that these tensions are possible to reconcile while the UN retains the goal of a society free of drugs.

  • The Future of Cannabis in the Caribbean

    Side event at the 64th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
    Friday, April 16, 2021

    Two years after the presentation of the 2018 CARICOM report “Waiting to Exhale - Safeguarding our future through responsible socio-legal policy on Marijuana” at the CND, this years’ side event the organizers would like to share insights on progress made, regarding the public policies on cannabis and the development of a medical cannabis industry in the Caribbean region.

  • A Sustainable Future for Cannabis Farmers

    ‘Alternative Development’ Opportunities in the Legal Cannabis Market
    Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, Sylvia Kay, Pien Metaal, Nicolás Martínez Rivera & Dania Putri
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    April 2021

    Learn how lessening the barriers for small farmers while raising them for large companies can help to steer legal cannabis markets in a more sustainable and equitable direction based on principles of community empowerment, social justice, fair(er) trade and sustainable development.

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  • Position Paper of the Fair Trade Cannabis Working Group in the Caribbean

    The Position Paper "For inclusive business models, well designed laws and fair(er) trade options for small-scale traditional cannabis farmers” produced by The Fair(er) Trade Cannabis Working Group aims to contribute to the debate on finding sustainable and realistic solutions to the challenges posed by the developing cannabis industry, with a special focus on traditional and small scale farmers.

  • Rescheduling cannabis at the UN level

    Here’s all you need to know about the WHO’s recommendations to reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances
    Thursday, October 15, 2020

    Following its first-ever critical review of cannabis, in January 2019 the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) issued recommendations to reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances. The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) are set to vote on these recommendations in December 2020. Eagerly awaited, the ECDD recommendations contain some positive points, such as acknowledging the medicinal usefulness of cannabis by removing it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs and clarifying that cannabidiol (CBD) is not under international control. But the ECDD recommendations also reveal problematic underlying evaluation methods and scheduling procedures along with a very questionable rationale for keeping cannabis in Schedule I. Read more ...

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