From 15 to 18 November 2018, the Transnational Institute (TNI) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) jointly organised the 10th Asian Informal Drug Policy Dialogue (IDPD). It was organised in collaboration with the Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control (CCDAC) of Myanmar and held at Inle Lake, Southern Shan State, Myanmar.
Heino Stöver, Ingo Ilja Michels, Bernd Werse, Tim Pfeiffer-Gerschel
29 Marzo 2019
While medical cannabis is well accepted in Germany and small-scale possession is officially decriminalized, many cities are struggling with high levels of street dealing. A number of cities are pushing for different kinds of public "experiments" in legal distribution that would allow them to better control cannabis in their jurisdictions. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of German cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
An official policy of giving a low law enforcement priority to small-scale possession or production of cannabis for personal use led to the emergence of Cannabis Social Clubs around Belgium. However, the attitude to cannabis can vary widely at the local level, and the future of these organised user groups is unclear. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Belgian cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
In the 1990s Switzerland was one of the leaders of a movement towards harm reduction for heroin users. Today, the country is also re-thinking its cannabis policy, with municipalities pushing for experiments in more progressive models of regulation, and citizens pushing for legislative reform. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Swiss cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
The Netherlands has long been considered a leader of progressive drug policy, but it is increasingly being left behind by policy innovations outside Europe. Nonetheless Dutch cities are leading the way towards more progressive and locally adapted cannabis policies. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Dutch cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
After decades of tolerance, cannabis policy in Denmark has seen increasing crackdowns, driven by fears about violence and illegal drug markets. However, some activists and politicians argue that another way is possible. Produced as part of a the "New Approaches in Harm Reduction Policies and Practices" project, this Country Report seeks to understand the drivers of Danish cannabis policy today, and the possibilities for its future.
John Walsh, Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, David Bewley-Taylor
19 Marzo 2019
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD or Expert Committee) released in January 2019 the outcomes of the first-ever critical review of cannabis, recommending a series of changes in the current scheduling of cannabis-related substances under the UN drug control conventions.
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.
Policy changes over the past five years or so have dramatically reshaped the global cannabis market. Not only has there been an unprecedented boom in medical markets, but following policy shifts in several jurisdictions a growing number of countries are also preparing for legal regulation of non-medical use. Such moves look set to bring a clear range of benefits in terms of health and human rights. As this groundbreaking Report, highlights, however, there are also serious concerns about the unfolding market dynamics.
Over the past decade, methamphetamine use has grown more popular in Myanmar, Thailand and Southern China. Based on in-depth interviews conducted with individuals who use methamphetamine, this briefing sheds light on the importance of promoting an environment that reinforces, rather than undermines, the ability of people who use methamphetamine to regulate their drug use, preserve their health and adopt safer practices.
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.
For most farmers and their families, opium cultivation is a means of survival, especially in the context poverty, insecurity, and repression. This film sensitively portrays the lives of two opium farming families in Myanmar and sheds light on their plight.
The government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) recently introduced a set of bills decriminalising cannabisfor 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.
The voice of communities involved in illicit cultivation had long been excluded from policymaking platforms. However, thanks to growing networks such as the Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum, more and more farmers have gained more space to provide input to drug policy discussions at the UN level.
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.
How can we resolve the tensions between current drug control policies and states’ human rights obligations? The international human rights framework clearly establishes that, in the event of conflicts between obligations under the UN Charter and other international agreements, human rights obligations take precedence. As legally regulated cannabis markets start to grow, now is the time to secure a legitimate place for small farmers using alternative development, human rights and fair trade principles.