We are calling for applications from those working in sectors related to drug policy in order to increase their understanding of international drug policy reform issues, to improve their advocacy skills, and to enhance their capacity in working with the media on drug policy.
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.
The Economist - In much of the Middle East and north Africa, where the law often lumps pot in with harder drugs, possession of a single joint can lead to jail. But some governments are acknowledging the harmful effects of their policies and thinking about reform.
Myanmar is better known for its serious drug problems - including large-scale illicit drugs production and trafficking and high rates of heroin use - than for implementing progressive drug policies that prioritise the health of its population. However, this could change in the near future.
A draft bill amending Myanmar 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law was published in newspapers in March 2017 for public consultation. It was subsequently discussed in the upper house of Parliament (Amyothar Hluttaw) on 16 August 2017.
Between 10 and 25 June 2017, the Transnational Institute organised a Southeast Asian advocacy fellowship programme on drug policy reform, attended by seven participants from Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar. One of the participants, Viona Wijaya from Indonesia, shares her experiences in this article.