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.
Millions of people have found a lifeline in the illicit cannabis economy in these past decades, but traditional cannabis farmers in the South are confronted with huge obstacles to participating in the emerging legal markets. The rapidly expanding legal cannabis markets for medical and adult use are increasingly captured by corporate businesses. Cultivation is more and more shifting from the South to the North, from small farmers to big companies, and from outdoor to indoor, with negative impacts on sustainable development goals. This first TNI Cannabis Policy Brief argues that it is vital that the socio-economic needs and rights of traditional cannabis producers are not overlooked and that ‘no-one is left behind’ in this historic transition.
Across the world, the state of environmental stress is unprecedented. As scholarship and activism on ‘environmental justice’ points out, poorer and marginalised communities face particular exposure to environmental harms. This holds particularly true for populations in the global South. The role of illicit drugs in relation to these environmental stresses is an underexplored terrain. Yet, as this report will argue, drugs, as well as the policy responses to them, are an environmental issue.
The Caribbean region’s Informal Drug Policy Dialogue that was held in Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG), in December 2021, at the initiative of Transnational Institute (TNI) in close collaboration with the Medicinal Cannabis Authority (MCA) of SVG highlighted several challenges to the establishment of a legal medical cannabis industry currently being faced by countries in the region. These issues include international banking restrictions; access to laboratory, research and testing facilities; complying with EU GACP and GMP to meet the standards for exports, the Seed-to-Sale System; securing access for patients and getting doctors to prescribe; the structure of the licensing system; guarantees for the Rastafari community for ceremonial ganja usage, and most importantly, how to envisage traditional cultivators inclusion in the regulatory framework and practice being developed. Around the table seven (7) countries were represented from the region: Barbados, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St Lucia and of course St Vincent and the Grenadines.
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.
Martin Jelsma, David Bewley-Taylor, Tom Blickman, John Walsh
29 ဧပြီလ 2022
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.
What’s the role and position of women in opium cultivation areas in Myanmar? What is life like for women who use drugs in Myanmar? This primer maps out the gendered dynamics of drug policy in Myanmar, drawing from on-the-ground conversations with women involved in the drugs market.
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.
A pre-review of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a tree native to Southeast Asia, and its two principal psychoactive alkaloids (mitragynine, 7-hydroxymitragynine), is on the agenda of the 44th WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) for their 11-15 October 2021 meeting. Kratom and its compounds have not previously been reviewed by WHO and are not currently under international control, but a number of Southeast Asian and European countries as well as Australia have varying levels of national controls in place. How did kratom get on the ECDD agenda? And what are the chances that this process will ultimately lead to kratom being put under international control?
Since 2013, a number of countries and local jurisdictions around the world have legalised and regulated their cannabis supply chains for non-medical use. Lawmakers, regulators, researchers, and advocates continue to design, enact, implement and revise regulatory frameworks for medical and recreational cannabis. And yet lessons from regulating other psychoactive substances, including tobacco products, are not always fully considered.
As a colonial construct, the global drug control regime has undermined the rights of indigenous peoples (including the right to self determination, and to practice and revitalize their cultural traditions and customs), obliging all states to abolish traditional uses of coca, cannabis and opium by means of crop eradication and drug law enforcement.
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.
Transnational Institute (TNI), Institute for Policy Studies
17 ဧပြီလ 2021
Between 12 - 16 April 2021, the 64th CND session took place. Here you can find the statement by the Institute for Policy Studies and the Transnational Institute on Inter-agency cooperation and coordination of efforts in addressing and countering the world drug problem (Agenda Item 7).
Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, Sylvia Kay, Pien Metaal, Nicolás Martínez Rivera, Dania Putri
14 ဧပြီလ 2021
Learn how lessening the barriers for small farmers while raising them for large companies can help to steer legal cannabis markets in a more sustainable and equitable direction based on principles of community empowerment, social justice, fair(er) trade and sustainable development.
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.
In a historic vote, the United Nations (UN) has finally recognised the medicinal value of cannabis.
A group of prominent drug policy organisations has welcomed the move, but also expressed disappointment that this reform does not go far enough, as cannabis remains categorised internationally alongside drugs like heroin and cocaine.
The review was revisiting cannabis scheduling decisions made in the 1950s, which were driven by prevailing racist and colonial attitudes, and not based on scientific evaluations. This has remained unchallenged.