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  1. Amendment against anti-coca chewing provisions

    Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal
    21 July 2009
    Article

    In March 2009, Evo Morales sent his formal request to the Secretary General Bang Ki Moon to delete articles 49(c) and 49(e) of the 1961 UN Single Convention that explicitly mention that "coca leaf chewing must be abolished with twenty-five years from the coming into force of this Convention" (which happened in December 1964). The request will be discussed on Thursday, 30 July, at the annual meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Putting this request on the ECOSOC agenda is a required procedure for amendment proposals. It is under Agenda item 14 (d), Narcotic drugs, General Segment (see the Note of Secretary General).

  2. Image of UN Flag

    Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.   

     

  3. Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.

  4. Bolivia’s Morales wants UN to lift ban on chewing coca leaves in 2012

    26 December 2011
    Other news

    Bolivian President Evo Morales believes that in 2012 the United Nations will finally agree that chewing of coca leaves is a legal ancient tradition of all people living in the Andes. Bolivia signed an agreement with the United Nations in 1961 that gave the country 25 years to eradicate the growing of coca. “I am convinced that next year we will win this international ‘fight’ for the recognition of chewing coca leaves as a tradition of peoples in Latin America, living in the Andes,” Morales said in an interview

  5. coca

    Abolishing Coca Leaf Consumption?

    Transnational Institute
    05 March 2008
    Press release

    The Transnational Institute condemns the decision by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in their 2007 annual report released today, which calls on countries to ‘abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea’.

  6. Aide-Memoire on the Bolivian Proposal To Amend Article 49 of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    Government of Bolivia
    13 January 2011
    Other news


    In 2009, the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, sent a letter to the General Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki Moon, in which the Government of Bolivia proposed to amend article 49 paragraphs 1 c) and 2 e) of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961. From Bolivia´s point of view, the international community holds in its hands a historic opportunity to correct a misconception regarding coca leaf chewing by eliminating  both paragraphs of the Single Convention.

  7. Chewing over Khat prohibition

    • Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal, Axel Klein
    10 January 2012

    In the context of a fast changing and well documented market in legal highs, the case of khat (Catha edulis) provides an interesting anomaly. It is first of all a plant-based substance that undergoes minimal transformation or processing in the journey from farm to market. Secondly, khat has been consumed for hundreds if not thousands of years in the highlands of Eastern Africa and Southern Arabia. In European countries, khat use was first observed during the 1980s, but has only attracted wider attention in recent years.

  8. 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.
  9. Dutch to classify super strong marijuana alongside heroin

    20 November 2012
    Other news

    The Dutch government is planning to classify strong strains of marijuana and cannabis as a Class A drug alongside heroin and cocaine. Coffee shops will only be able to offer cannabis with a THC level of below 15%. More details of the government's plans to drop the controversial membership scheme for coffee shops were also explained. While coffee shops will only be open to people with official documents which show they live in the Netherlands, it will be up to local authorities to decide how to introduce the new rules. (See also: Cannabis pass abolished? Not really)

  10. Prescribing Cannabis for Harm Reduction

    • Mark Collen
    05 January 2012

    Neuropathic pain affects between 5% and 10% of the US population and can be refractory to treatment. Opioids may be recommended as a second-line pharmacotherapy but have risks including overdose and death. Cannabis has been shown to be effective for treating nerve pain without the risk of fatal poisoning. The author suggests that physicians who treat neuropathic pain with opioids should evaluate their patients for a trial of cannabis and prescribe it when appropriate prior to using opioids. This harm reduction strategy may reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with prescription pain medications.

     

  11. Government proposes to scrap need for scientific advice on drugs policy

    05 December 2010
    Other news

    Ministers will not be required to seek the advice of scientists when making drug classification policy in future, under new government proposals. The police reform and social responsibility bill, published last week, contains an amendment to the constitution of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) that would remove the requirement on the home secretary to appoint at least six scientists to the committee.

  12. The war on ketamine

    08 March 2015
    Other news

    In a dispute that pits the war on drugs against global health needs — and one UN agency against another — a pair of Canadian researchers is spearheading a last-ditch bid to keep a widely used anesthetic from being declared an illicit narcotic.

  13. There's simply no case for banning khat

    30 March 2014
    Other news

    Khat is as potent as a strong cup of coffee and has no organised crime involvement – yet the government wants to spend £150m on a ban that would create far more severe problems. When the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the government's expert advisors, were asked to consider khat, they said that it would be "inappropriate and disproportionate" to ban it. The cross-party home affairs select committee, on which I serve, produced a unanimous report opposing a ban. And yet the home secretary plans to do it anyway.

  14. FDA to evaluate marijuana for potential reclassification as less dangerous drug

    23 June 2014
    Other news

    The US Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the medical evidence surrounding the safety and effectiveness of marijuana, a process that could lead to the agency downgrading the drug's current status as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous classification. "FDA conducts for Health and Human Services a scientific and medical analysis of the drug under consideration," FDA Press Officer Jeff Ventura said. "HHS then recommends to DEA that the drug be placed in a given schedule. DEA considers HHS’ analysis, conducts its own assessment, and makes a final scheduling proposal in the form of a proposed rule." (See also: Scheduling in the international drug control system)

  15. Ketamine control plan condemned as potential disaster for world's rural poor

    27 February 2015
    Other news

    A proposal that is about to come before the UN to restrict global access to ketamine, a drug abused in rich countries, would deprive millions of women of lifesaving surgery in poor countries, according to medicines campaigners.

  16. Proposals for banning drugs are more draconian than they seem

    Drevan Harris
    08 December 2010
    Other news

    The plan to remove the requirement for scientists or experts on the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) as proposed in the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill is controversial for the reasons set out on this blog yesterday. But further study of the bill reveals more cause for concern. Another shocking proposal in its pages seeks to shift the target of selective drugs prohibition from a duty to protect society from the harmful effects of drugs, to the goal of directly limiting the freedom of the individual.

  17. ketamine

    Ketamine: why not everyone wants a ban

    13 March 2015
    Other news

    China is proposing there should be a worldwide ban on ketamine - the drug that can lead to users needing to have their bladders removed. But ketamine is used as an anaesthetic drug in much of Africa, and there are fears further international controls could affect medical usage too. The Chinese say that they are requesting the lowest level of restriction - known as schedule four - which would not affect its use for medical purposes. But Dr Kabwe in Lusaka's main hospital says any restriction will create a level of bureaucracy that will prohibit its use.

  18. khat_axel_klein

    Khat ban rejected by UK drug advisers

    23 January 2013
    Other news

    The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) said there was "insufficient evidence" that khat caused health problems. The stimulant is traditionally used by members of the Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities. It has been outlawed by the US and Canada and in most European countries, most recently by the Netherlands. The review was commissioned by the Home Office. The ACMD said there was "no evidence" khat was directly linked with serious or organised crime. (See also: Chewing over Khat prohibition)

  19. TNI Expert Seminar on the Classification of Controlled Substances

    10 December 2009
    Report

    The classification of drugs has a profound impact on the lives and well-being of individuals across the world and where the classification is incorrect, people suffer unnecessarily. This is an issue that deserves greater public awareness and greater engagement with citizenry and that where such public awareness is in place it should be galvanised in order to work towards a new democratic answer to this difficult situation.

  20. 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.

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