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  1. Opium Cultivation and Environmental Justice in Myanmar

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    15 July 2022
    Article

    Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ point out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms.

    This holds especially true for populations in the Global South, including Myanmar. The role of opium cultivation in relation to these environmental stresses is an underexplored terrain. Yet, as this new TNI report argues, drugs, as well as the policy responses to them, are an environmental crisis in Myanmar as well as other countries where opium poppy, coca bush and cannabis plants are cultivated.

  2. Land rights and wrongs

    Sophia Ostler
    10 May 2022
    Article

    This article focuses on the role that the Colombian state’s land titling programme has played in helping their communities substitute their illegal drug crops with legal alternatives. The author interviewed over 80 farmers in former coca leaf farming communities, in Putumayo, Caquetá, Cauca and Nariño, and carried out 30 elite interviews.

  3. A House of Cards

    Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Tom Blickman, John Walsh
    29 April 2022
    Article

    Cannabis policy developments have arrived at an important moment where the treaty issue needs to be confronted in an honest manner, and not by hypocritical denials or fantasy interpretations that undermine basic principles of international law and cannot stand the scrutiny of ‘good faith’ treaty interpretation.

  4. Checkpoint on The Bolivia Death Road

    If the MAS government is a coca growers’ government, why are the Yungas coca growers against it?

    Alison Spedding Pallet
    15 April 2022
    Article

    Why the majority of Yungas coca growers oppose the policies on coca implemented by the MAS with and without Evo Morales.

  5. Kratom plant grown in a fishing community in Mon State

    Kratom in Myanmar and southeast Asia: time for legal regulation?

    14 October 2021
    Article

    Commonly found in Southeast Asia including in Myanmar, leaves from the kratom tree have long been used as a traditional medicine to treat various health conditions, including diabetes, diarrhoea, fever and pain. Kratom is currently banned in Myanmar, and the WHO's Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) is discussing this week whether it should be placed under international drug control. Instead of criminalisation, however, this commentary argues that legal regulation of kratom could contribute to building safer communities, promoting development and supporting peace efforts in Myanmar and beyond. 

  6. Journal of Peasant Studies: Special Forum on Myanmar

    26 April 2021
    Article
    Myanmar is in a dangerous and uncertain moment following the military coup on 1 February 2021. The articles in this Special Forum provide timely contextual analysis. Written before the coup, the articles delve into the politics of agrarian transformation in the context of (what was then) an ongoing (but fragile) opening up of political space.
  7. ‘Treat us like human beings’ - Life story of a woman who uses drugs in Myanmar

    07 December 2020
    Article
    This commentary is part of the ten-day global campaign to end violence against women, in which the Drug Policy Advocacy Group – Myanmar (DPAG) also participates together with partners in Myanmar, including female sex workers, women living with HIV, and transgender people. DPAG’s campaign focuses on ending violence against women, including women who use drugs and other women facing intersecting inequalities. The campaign is coordinated by DPAG, and supported by the Sex Worker Network in Myanmar (SWIM), Myanmar Positive Women Network, Myanmar Youth Stars, and the Transnational Institute (TNI). For more information see DPAG’s Facebook page.
  8. Forced Eradication of Crops for Illicit Use and Human Rights

    Pedro Arenas, Ricardo Vargas
    20 July 2020
    Article

    According to UNODC figures as of December 31, 2019, 154,000 ha of coca were detected in Colombia, which means a reduction of 15,000 ha, that is, 9% less compared to the 169,000 ha detected in 2018. President Duque’s government set a goal of eradicating 130,000 hectares of coca leaf crops during 2020, 62.5 percent more than 2019, when the goal was set at 80,000 ha.

  9. A day in the life of a woman opium poppy farmer in Myanmar

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    15 July 2020
    Article

    There is genuine hope that by sharing her story as a woman who grows opium, Nang Kham could help encourage other women farmers to speak out, and encourage the wider community to realise the collective benefits of gender equality.

  10. 4 common myths about the smokable cocaine market

    17 April 2020
    Article

    From 2014 to 2018, our research partners in Latin American and Caribbean cities gathered information from people who use or sell smokable cocaine, in order to identify key patterns in the regional markets of smokable cocaine. The information and testimonials we gathered reveal a lack of policy responses beyond punitive measures. Meanwhile, myths and misunderstandings about smokable cocaine and its users prevail. Read on below as we attempt to debunk the four most common myths.

  11. The ‘deja vú’ of aerial crop spraying in Colombia

    Nicolás Martínez Rivera
    29 February 2020
    Article

    At the end of 2019 the government of Iván Duque presented a draft decree to resume the spraying of drug crops used for illicit purposes. It argued that spraying is the only instrument to curb the increase in coca crops.

  12. Conditionalities of the WHO cannabis recommendations

    Martin Jelsma
    29 January 2020
    Article
  13. Hojas de coca

    Migrants and traditional use

    Pien Metaal, Constanza Sánchez, Natalia Rebollo
    25 April 2019
    Article

    How to reconcile migrant communities’ right to the enjoyment of cultural life (including the use of traditional plants) with international drug control obligations.

  14. 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.

  15. Opium Farmers in Myanmar: The Lives of Producers of Prohibited Plants

    Sai Lone
    17 December 2018
    Article

    The problem of opium should not be perceived only as a simple, black-and-white, law enforcement problem. To address problems related to opium cultivation, substantial socio-economic development is required to provide meaningful alternatives for farmers, and to ensure that a humanitarian crisis will not occur as the consequence of repressive drug control policies.

  16. Cannabis in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: The Perspective of a Traditional Grower

    14 December 2018
    Article

    The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) recently introduced a set of bills decriminalising cannabis for medical and scientific purposes. Amid heated debates surrounding the future of cannabis policy in SVG and the wider region, traditional cannabis grower Junior Spirit Cottle shares his insights on the subject through the following opinion piece, which was published by a local newspaper The News on 7 December 2018. An active participant of both the Barcelona and Heemskerk Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants, Spirit has also been part of TNI’s Advocacy Fellowship for Farmers Leaders.

  17. Alternative development and human rights

    Martin Jelsma
    24 October 2018
    Article

    Around the world, millions of people depend on the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis for basic subsistence. The 1961 Convention introduced strict controls on the cultivation of these plants and banned centuries-old traditional medicinal, cultural and ceremonial uses. The 1988 Convention reinforced those provisions, obliging states to eradicate illicit cultivation and to impose criminal sanctions.

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