• UN Common Position on drug policy

    Consolidating system-wide coherence
    Martin Jelsma
    Briefing paper
    December 2019

    In November 2018, the UN System CEB adopted the ‘UN system common position supporting the implementation of the international drug control policy through effective inter-agency collaboration’, expressing the shared drug policy principles of all UN organisations and committing them to speak with one voice. The CEB is the highest-level coordination forum of the UN system, convening biannual meetings of the heads of all UN agencies, programmes and related institutions, chaired by the UN Secretary General. 

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  • Regulating Drugs: Resolving Conflicts with the UN Drug Control Treaty System

    John Walsh & Martin Jelsma
    Journal of Illicit Economies and Development, 1(3), pp.266–271
    November 2019

    There are good reasons to legally regulate drugs markets, rather than persist with efforts to ban all non-medical uses of psychoactive substances. Regulated cannabis and coca markets are already a reality in several countries, with more likely to follow. But ignoring or denying that such policy shifts contravene certain obligations under the UN drug control treaties is untenable and risks undermining basic principles of international law. States enacting cannabis regulation must find a way to align their reforms with their international obligations.

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  • The Challenges of Medicinal Cannabis in Colombia

    A look at small - and medium - scale growers
    Nicolás Martínez Rivera
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 52
    September 2019

    In July 2016, the Colombian government enacted Law 1787, which regulates the use of medicinal cannabis and its trade in the country. With this decision and a series of subsequent resolutions, Colombia joined the more than a dozen countries that have put into practice different types of regulation to explore the advantages of this plant as an alternative pharmaceutical. Even though the law stipulates that 10 per cent of production should come from small- and medium- scale growers, the reality is that most of the business has been dominated by large local and foreign investors.

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  • Cannabis regulation and local authorities in Europe

    Bottom-up policy reform for cannabis regulation
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    March 2019

    Local and regional authorities across Europe are confronted with the negative consequences of a persisting illicit cannabis market. Increasingly, local and regional authorities, non-governmental pressure groups and grassroots movements are advocating a regulation of the recreational cannabis market. The Transnational Institute (TNI) analysed possible cannabis market regulation models (in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands) to allow local authorities to share best practices and improve the understanding of drug markets as a means to reduce the negative consequences of illicit drug markets on individuals and society.

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  • Fair(er) Trade Options for the Cannabis Market

    Martin Jelsma, Sylvia Kay & David Bewley-Taylor
    Cannabis Innovate
    Policy Report 1, March 2019

    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.

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  • The WHO’s First-Ever Critical Review of Cannabis

    A Mixture of Obvious Recommendations Deserving Support and Dubious Methods and Outcomes Requiring Scrutiny
    Transnational Institute (TNI), Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO-Swansea University) & Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
    March 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. Eagerly awaited, the ECDD recommendations contain some clearly positive points, such as acknowledging the medicinal usefulness of cannabis by removing it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs; clarifying that cannabidiol (CBD) is not under international control; and addressing some long-standing scheduling inconsistencies.

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  • A Distortion of Reality

    Drugs, Conflict and the UNODC’s 2018 Myanmar Opium Survey
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    Tuesday, March 5, 2019

    After decades of fighting between the central government and various ethnic armed organisations in Myanmar, the links between drugs and conflict have spiraled into a complex chain reaction. The roots of the conflict are political, but very few of the conflict parties in drugs-producing areas can claim to have clean hands when it comes to the narcotics trade. 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 and distorts, rather than reflects, the complex realities in Myanmar. A neutral and factual survey that promotes accuracy about the realities on the ground could bring peoples together and serve as a basis for discussion, understanding and national reconciliation. But a biased and one-sided survey will only create further divisions and greater obstacles for mutual cooperation in the future.

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  • Methamphetamine use in Myanmar, Thailand, and Southern China: assessing practices, reducing harms

    Renaud Cachia & Thura Myint Lwin
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 50
    February 2019

    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.

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  • Connecting the dots...

    Human rights, illicit cultivation and alternative development
    Martin Jelsma
    Transnational Institue (TN)
    October 2018

    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.

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  • Taking stock: A decade of drug policy

    A civil society shadow report
    International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    October 2018

    ‘Taking stock: A decade of drug policy’ evaluates the impacts of drug policies implemented across the world over the past decade, using data from the United Nations (UN), complemented with peer-reviewed academic research and grey literature reports from civil society. The important role of civil society in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of global drug policies is recognised in the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on drugs, as well as in the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. It is in this spirit that the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has produced this Shadow Report, to contribute constructively to high-level discussions on the next decade in global drug policy.

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