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32 items
  1. The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition

    • David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman
    07 March 2014
    Report

    Cannabis was condemned by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as a psychoactive drug with “particularly dangerous properties” and hardly any therapeutic value. Ever since, an increasing number of countries have shown discomfort with the treaty regime’s strictures through soft defections, stretching its legal flexibility to sometimes questionable limits.

  2. Time for a Wake-up Call: An historical and ethnographic approach to the Regulation of Plant-based Stimulants

    • Pien Metaal, Anthony Henman
    20 December 2014
    Policy briefing

    The chemically-based frame of reference adopted by the UN Single Convention is mistaken in the culturally loaded and falsely “scientific” manner in which it was applied to different plants.

  3. How marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington is making the world a better place

    Christopher Ingraham
    20 October 2014
    In the media

    It's time to explore a multilateral reworking of the drug control treaties to better reflect current realities.

  4. Cannabis regulation in Uruguay

    Martin Jelsma, John Walsh
    17 July 2012
    Article

    Uruguay may be poised to become the first country to opt for a state controlled and legally regulated cannabis market for medical as well as recreational purposes, including cultivation and distribution.

  5. Reforming the global drug-control system: The stakes for Washington

    Martin Jelsma
    11 July 2014
    Article

    Washington's new narrative defends the integrity of the UN drug control conventions, while allowing more flexible interpretations

  6. The 2016 UNGASS: Challenges and Opportunities

    09 March 2015
    Article

    The UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs is fast approaching 2016 and is an important opportunity to conduct a thorough and objective assessment of the international drug control system. This session will discuss remaining challenges, as well as opportunities for the way forward – in particular towards rebalancing current drug policies towards the core UN values of public health, human rights and development

  7. Right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

    • Anand Grover, UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories
    06 August 2010

    The current international system of drug control has focused on creating a drug-free world, almost exclusively through use of law enforcement policies and criminal sanctions. Mounting evidence, however, suggests this approach has failed, primarily because it does not acknowledge the realities of drug use and dependence. While drugs may have a pernicious effect on individual lives and society, this excessively punitive regime has not achieved its stated public health goals, and has resulted in countless human rights violations.

     

  8. Global Commission on Drug Policy Report

    02 June 2011

    The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and 40 years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.

     

  9. The changing use and misuse of khat

    • Michael Odenwald, Nasir Warfa, Axel Klein (eds.)
    07 May 2010
    Within the last decade the hitherto little known psychoactive substance of khat has emerged as a regional and international issue. In the Horn of Africa khat production has spurred an economic boom, but dramatic increases in consumption have raised public health concerns. Given the complexity of the topic spanning multiple academic disciplines and fields of professional practice, the need for a systematic overview is urgent.
  10. A good chew or good riddance

    • Pien Metaal, Axel Klein
    15 July 2010
    The article reviews the status of khat, the most recent plant based psychoactive substance to reach a global market, and considers policy making processes in general and the framework of drug control in particular. The risk assessment and classification of psychoactive drugs is a contested arena where political, economic and moral agendas collide, leaving countries that have banned khat, with significant social costs. To best manage the risks arising from the increasing availability of khat it is therefore suggested to draft a regulatory framework with clear objectives and guiding principles.
  11. khat_axel_klein

    Regulating khat

    • Axel Klein, Susan Beckerleg, Degol Hailu
    01 November 2009

    The regulation of khat, one of the most recent psychoactive drugs to become a globally traded commodity, remains hotly contested within different producer and consumer countries. As regimes vary, it has been possible to compare khat policies in Africa, Europe and North America from different disciplinary perspectives. The research established the significance of khat for rural producers, regional economies, as a tax base and source of foreign exchange. At the same time, khat as a psychoactive substance is associated with health and public safety problems that in turn are met with often ill-informed legislative responses. Bans have in turn lead to the criminalisation of users and sellers and illegal drug markets.

    Download the publication (PDF)

  12. 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.

  13. idpc-latin-america

    The drug policy reform agenda in the Americas

    • Coletta Youngers
    30 April 2013

    Latin America has emerged at the vanguard of efforts to promote debate on drug policy reform. For decades, Latin American governments largely followed the drug control policies and programs of Washington’s so-called war on drugs. Yet two parallel trends have resulted in a dramatic change in course: the emergence of left-wing governments that have challenged Washington’s historic patterns of unilateralism and interventionism and growing frustration with the failure of the prohibitionist drug control model put forward by the US government.

  14. coverreport

    Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work

    09 September 2014

    The upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016 is an unprecedented opportunity to review and re-direct national drug control policies and the future of the global drug control regime. As diplomats sit down to rethink international and domestic drug policy, they would do well to recall the mandate of the United Nations, not least to ensure security, human rights and development.

  15. Improving global drug policy: Comparative perspectives and UNGASS 2016

    • Vanda Felbab-Brown, Harold Trinkunas (eds)
    28 April 2015

    As the world prepares for the 2016 Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS 2016), an increasing number of countries around the world now find the regime’s emphasis on punitive approaches to illicit drugs to be problematic and are asking for reform. In this moment of global disagreement, the Brookings project on Improving Global Drug Policy provides a unique comparative evaluation of the effectiveness and costs of international counternarcotics policies and best approaches to reform.

  16. Cannabis regulation in Uruguay: "Someone has to be first ..."

    John Walsh, Martin Jelsma
    17 July 2012
    Article

    Uruguay may be poised to become the first country to opt for a state controlled and legally regulated cannabis market for medical as well as recreational purposes, including cultivation and distribution. Announced on June 20, Uruguay’s brave proposal might indeed become the historical breakthrough in the drug policy stalemate that many around the world have been waiting and hoping for. As Uruguayan President José Mujica aptly put it, “someone has to be first.”

  17. americans-legalisation

    The great experiment

    23 February 2013
    Other news

    A whiff of change is in the air regarding drug control policy. Officials in two American states, Colorado and Washington, are pondering how to implement their voters’ decisions last November to legalise cannabis. One immediate consequence is that the United States will be in breach of the UN Convention. Good. It should now join Latin American governments in an effort to reform that outdated document to allow signatories room to experiment. Imposing a failed policy on everybody benefits nobody.

  18. De wankele 'Weense consensus' over drugsbeleid

    31 March 2013
    Other news

    Nederland is met zijn drugsbeleid in de achterhoede terecht gekomen, zo stelt Martin Jelsma. Zo zijn Uruguay en de Amerikaanse staten Washington en Colorado met hun besluit om de cannabismarkt van teelt tot gebruik te legaliseren, Nederland voorbijgestreefd. Ze schenden daarbij de VN-verdragen en lijken daarmee hervorming van het wereldwijde drugsbeleid af te dwingen. Ook vanuit het door drugsgeweld geteisterde Latijns-Amerika wordt de roep om legalisering van de drugsmarkt steeds groter.

     

    De PDF van dit artikel is met toestemming van de redactie overgenomen uit de Internationale Spectator, maandblad voor internationale politiek, uitgegeven door de Koninklijke Van Gorcum te Assen namens het Nederlands Instituut voor Internationale Betrekkingen ‘Clingendael’ te Den Haag.

  19. 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)

  20. kofi-annan

    Kofi Annan: Stop 'war on drugs'

    Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations, Fernando Henrique Cardoso
    05 November 2013
    Other news

    Each year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world die from preventable drug-related disease and violence. Millions of users are arrested and thrown in jail. Globally, communities are blighted by drug-related crime. Citizens see huge amounts of their taxes spent on harsh policies that are not working. But despite this clear evidence of failure, there is a damaging reluctance worldwide to consider a fresh approach. The Global Commission on Drug Policy is determined to help break this century-old taboo. See IDPC Press Release.

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