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  1. More U.N. states quietly say no to drug war

    06 December 2013
    Article

    An internal United Nations draft document leaked last weekend has offered outsiders a rare look at longstanding disagreements between member states over the course of U.N. drug policy. The document, first publicised by The Guardian and obtained by IPS, contains over 100 specific policy recommendations and proposals from member states, many at odds with the status quo on illicit drug eradication and prohibition.

  2. Blessing in disguise?

    Tom Blickman
    09 March 2008
    Article

    Yesterday, President Evo Morales of Bolivia sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon rejecting the recommendations of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to "abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea." Morales qualified the attitude of the INCB as colonial and accused the Board members of lacking the necessary scientific background.

  3. UNGASS ten years on

    01 March 2008
    Article

    Weaknesses in the United Nations drug control system have often been identified, related to the functioning of the key organs – the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) –, related to collaboration with the wider UN system – the World Health Organistaion (WHO), UNAIDS, UN Development Programme (UNDP), etc. – and related to the outdated character of several treaty provisions.

  4. New Report Offers Strategies for Regulating Cannabis in Ways that Uphold and Modernize International Law

    16 June 2016
    Press release

    As an increasing number of jurisdictions consider whether and how to legalize and regulate access to cannabis, tensions are growing between these initiatives and countries’ obligations under the UN drug control conventions. A groundbreaking new report produced by a coalition of legal and drug policy experts offers strategies for countries exploring regulatory approaches to cannabis to do so in ways that ensure that their domestic reforms align with their international legal obligations.

  5. 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.

  6. Canada moves closer to regulating cannabis for non-medical purposes

    Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    03 May 2018
    Article

    Canada is on track to become the second country and the first G7 member to legalize and regulate cannabis for non-medical purposes (Uruguay enacted cannabis regulation in 2013).

  7. Fatal Attraction: Brownfield's Flexibility Doctrine and Global Drug Policy Reform

    David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, Damon Barrett
    19 November 2014
    Article

    State-level cannabis reforms have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system. It is calls for a conversation the US federal government wishes to avoid. The result is a new official position on the UN drugs treaties that, despite its seductively progressive tone, serves only to sustain the status quo and may cause damage beyond drug policy.

  8. Fatal attraction: Brownfield's flexibility doctrine and global drug policy reform

    Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Damon Barrett
    18 November 2014
    Article

    State-level cannabis reforms, which gathered steam this month, have exposed the inability of the United States to abide by the terms of the legal bedrock of the global drug control system; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is something that should force a much-needed conversation about reform to long- standing international agreements. But while ostensibly 'welcoming' the international drug policy reform debate, it is a conversation the US federal government actually wishes to avoid.

  9. idpc-incb-2012

    Response of Bolivia to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)

    23 February 2012
    Other news

    In a letter to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) the Government of Bolivia rejects the judgments made by the independent agency of the United Nations after a visit in December 2011 and the conclusions of the Board on the decision to withdraw from the 1961 UN Single Convention and re-adhere with a reservation that would allow for the use of coca in its natural state within Bolivian territory an uphold the traditional practice of coca chewing. The Bolivian government says the INCB is overstepping its mandate. TNI publishes an unofficial translation of the original spanish version of the letter.

  10. obama-yes-we-cannabis

    The US incapacity to enforce federal drug laws - and the global consequences

    Francisco Thoumi
    31 October 2013
    Other news

    The US drug policy is changing, pitting states against federal law. This essay explores this inner friction of contradictory drug legislation, and what it may mean for the international drug control regime, itself a result of US drug policy. (4,400 words)

  11. About drug law reform in Costa Rica

    30 August 2014
    Primer

    This page was originally published in August 2014, and last updated in June 2016.

    In contrast to other Central American countries, the possession of drugs for immediate personal use is not a criminal offence in Costa Rica. In August 2013 the cultivation, manufacture, transport and trafficking of drugs have all been made a criminal offence under the same article, which provides for a prison sentence of between 8 and 15 years without making any distinction between the offences. The government of Costa Rica supports the launch of an open international debate on the issue, but has declared itself against decriminalisation.

  12. Coca, Cocaine and the International Conventions

    • Pien Metaal
    01 April 2003
    Policy briefing

    It is no understatement to claim that there are few plants subject to such tensions as the coca leaf, either in legal and political circuits, or in the medical and anthropological academic world. Before, during and after its inclusion in the number 1 list of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the controversy on whether the coca leaf is or is not to be considered a narcotic drug, worthy of control by the international institutions and mechanisms, reached apparent irreconcilable positions.

     

  13. cnd2013-plenary

    Drug policy reform is breaking through at the international level

    Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch
    24 March 2013
    Article

    Change is in the air ... But the pace could be quickened a bit. While the international policymaking body on drugs has long been stuck in neutral, there are signs that alternative voices are finally breaking through. This year's UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs featured some progress though its modest advances are only remarkable by comparison to a dismal past.

  14. Roadmaps for Reforming the UN Drug Conventions

    • Robin Room, Sarah MacKay
    30 December 2012
    Report

    The three UN Drug Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 currently impose a ‘one-size-fits-all’ prohibitionist approach to drug policy throughout the world. This new report explains in detail how the Conventions could be amended in order to give countries greater freedom to adopt drug policies better suited to their special needs.

  15. How International Aid for Drug Enforcement Fuels Human Rights Abuses

    Damon Barrett
    02 October 2012
    Article

    It is increasingly clear that there is a fundamental lack of oversight of how international aid – provided by the US, Europe and the United Nations to poorer countries – is used to pursue anti-drug efforts. In this article Damon Barrett highlights some of the systematic human rights abuses this aid is facilitating.

  16. 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?

  17. Human rights and drug policy

    • Ernestien Jensema
    18 June 2018
    Primer

    An accessible but comprehensive primer on why TNI believes that human rights must be at the heart of any debate on drug control.

  18. Opium harvest in early 2019 in Pekhon Township, southern Shan State (TNI)

    A Distortion of Reality: Drugs, Conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    05 March 2019
    Article

    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. This commentary explains how this further distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar.

  19. Rewriting history

    • Drugs and Democracy
    01 June 2008
    Policy briefing

    The 2008 UN World Drug Report tries to hide the failures of drug control policy behind a bad history lesson. Instead of a clear acknowledgement that the UN’s own 10-year targets have not been met, it offers a narrative of 100 years of success, fabricating a comparison with Chinese opium production and use at the turn of the 20th century.

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