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13 items
  1. Has the US just called for unilateral interpretation of multilateral obligations?

    Rick Lines, Damon Barrett
    17 December 2014
    Opinion

    These are interesting times for drug law reform, which, as it gathers pace, is asking important questions of international law. A UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs is set for 2016 just as national reforms are challenging international treaties that form the bedrock of a global prohibition regime that has dominated since the turn of the twentieth century. States parties to the three UN drug control conventions must now confront the legal and political dilemmas this creates. This is the situation in which the US now finds itself following cannabis reforms in various states that are at odds with these treaties.

  2. Into the breach: Drugs, control, and violating bad laws in good ways

    Rick Lines
    27 November 2014
    Opinion

    An October statement on drug control from the US State Department has prompted much comment and speculation at home and abroad. Delivered by Ambassador William Brownfield, the ‘Brownfield Doctrine’, as it has been named by some commentators, lays out a four pillar approach the United States will follow in matters of international drug control.

  3. The ketamine controversy, continued

    Martin Jelsma
    06 March 2015
    Opinion

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna will decide next week between two opposite proposals by China and the WHO about international control of ketamine, an essential anaesthetic in human and veterinary medicine. China originally proposed bringing ketamine under the 1971 Convention’s most severe control regime of Schedule I, which would dramatically affect its availability for surgery in poor rural settings and emergency situations. The WHO Expert Committee reviewed all the evidence and advised against any international control of ketamine, arguing it would trigger a public health disaster.

  4. Paraguay: The cannabis breadbasket of the Southern Cone

    • Guillermo Garat
    03 October 2016
    Policy briefing

    Paraguay is the principal producer of cannabis in South America. Despite its importance as a supplier of cannabis in South America, there has been a surprising absence of serious studies of its impact on its own society, and on the play of offer and demand in neighbouring countries.

  5. Cannabis in Latin America and the Caribbean

    • Alejandro Corda , Mariano Fusero
    15 March 2017
    Policy briefing

    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.

  6. Cannabis in the City

    • Tom Blickman, Katie Sandwell
    20 March 2019
    Policy briefing

    In order to better understand the situation around, and possibilities for, local and regional cannabis regulation, a series of six country reports were developed. The country reports provide detailed information about the state of cannabis policy, and the possibilities for change, within each country. This briefing identifies some of the key findings and implications for policy makers and advocates from this research.

  7. A new ‘war on drugs’ is short sighted and naive

    Tom Blickman
    18 September 2019
    Opinion

    When the Dutch government liberalised cannabis policy in 1976, they understood that the legalisation and regulation of cannabis was actually the best solution, or at least the least bad one.

  8. INCB speaks out against death penalty

    Martin Jelsma
    05 March 2014
    Opinion

    UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) unprecedented condemnation of the use of death penalty for drug-related offences is welcome if long overdue. The bigger question is whether INCB’s consideration of human rights can be extended into a proper human rights and evidence-based examination of UN’s entire drug control regime.

  9. IDPC response to the 2010 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board

    31 July 2011
    Policy briefing

    The Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for 2010 reveals not only the INCB’s continuing habit of exceeding its mandate, but also an enthusiasm for censuring what it regards as moves towards the liberalization of policy practice while preferring to remain silent on other areas that are within its purview and merit attention. This IDPC report concludes that this year’s Report does reflect some positive changes in the INCB’s outlook, but these are still outweighed by familiar negative practices and positions.

  10. Balancing Treaty Stability and Change

    • Martin Jelsma, Neil Boister, David Bewley-Taylor, Malgosia Fitzmaurice, John Walsh
    15 March 2018
    Policy briefing

    Legal tensions are growing within the international drug control regime as increasing numbers of member states move towards or seriously consider legal regulation of the cannabis market for non-medical purposes. Amongst reform options not requiring consensus, inter se modification appears to be the most ‘elegant’ approach and one that provides a useful safety valve for collective action to adjust a treaty regime arguably frozen in time.

  11. AIDS 2012 – Time for courage if we are going to turn the tide

    Ann Fordham
    01 August 2012
    Opinion

    As a participant at last week’s 19th International HIV/AIDS Conference, I was reminded of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark’s call to arms earlier in July that there is a new prescription for the AIDS response: ‘courage is needed’.

  12. Yes, legalizing marijuana breaks treaties. We can deal with that.

    John Walsh, Tom Blickman, Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor
    10 January 2018
    Opinion

    Buzzing in the background of Canada’s debate on cannabis legalization is the issue of the three UN drug control treaties, and what to do with them.

  13. Will UNGASS 2016 be the beginning of the end for the ‘war on drugs’?

    Ann Fordham, Martin Jelsma
    17 March 2016
    Opinion

    Held this April, will the United Nations General Assembly Special Session be the turning point for the international drug control system?