World Drug Day 2019

Special newsletter on why we don’t need another world drug day
26 ဇွန်လ 2019

Today marks the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. Its origin can be traced back to the institutional architecture of the global drug control system which for the last five decades has served as a mechanism that regulates, controls, or prohibits the use and distribution of more than 300 psychoactive substances.

This is a republished version of one of TNI’s dedicated newsletters on drug policy issues, sent out to subscribers once a month. Click here if you wish to stay informed on TNI’s work on drugs and drug policy.

Nearly 800.000 Moroccans depend on (illicit) cannabis production for their livelihoods. / Photo credit Dania Putri

The initial decision to dedicate this day to the global fight against drug abuse and illicit trafficking was surely a well-intentioned one. But the foundation upon which this international day is commemorated each year remains distant from realities on the ground. Though much has improved in the past decades, there is more work to be done in order to make sure that such an international instrument is utilised to enhance, and not to undermine, the well-being of communities around the globe. The annual Support. Don’t Punish campaign leads the world in this regard.

Discover our highlights of the month below.

Classification of Psychoactive Substances: When Science was Left Behind

The manner in which substances are categorised and consequently put under international control is largely based on cultural and political ideologies, rather than on impartial scientific assessment of the substances’ potential harms for the people who consume them and for society as a whole. The “scheduling” system is the foundation of the repressive approach in drug control which has led to devastating consequences faced by communities of all ages, colours, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This ninth report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy analyses the history, procedures and inconsistencies of the current classification of psychoactive substances.

WHO Cannabis Review: Latest Update from the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Photo credit Social Butterfly from Pixabay

Two days ago, member states gathered in Vienna for the fourth intersessional meeting of the 62th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). A debate on the WHO cannabis related recommendations (published in January 2019) took place at the Commission. Learn more about it from the CND Blog.

Cannabis Summit in Toronto

Photo credit Martin Jelsma

Following a report on Fair Trade Cannabis released earlier this year, Drugs and Democracy Programme Director Martin Jelsma was invited to speak at The Economist Cannabis Summit on June 5th in Toronto. Read here some of the main points raised by a selected list of experts present at the summit.

Statement from the 7th Myanmar Opium Farmers’ Forum

Opium harvest in early 2019 in Pekhon Township, southern Shan State (TNI)
Opium harvest in early 2019 in Pekhon Township, southern Shan State (TNI) / Photo credit Transnational Institute

Each year since 2013, opium farmers from different parts of Myanmar participated in the annual meeting of the Myanmar Opium Farmers Forum. This year, the meeting took place between 8 and 10 May in Pekhon, Southern Shan State. Read the full statement here.

What else we're reading

Drugs expert barred from policy panel after criticising Home Office (The Guardian)

Global Drug Survey: Large Majority of Cocaine Users Would Pay More for Safer, “Fair Trade” Supply (Filter)

Why An Indonesian Rehab Center Doesn’t Insist On Abstinence (WAMU)

How to Legalize Every Drug (VICE)