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Bouncing Back: Relapse in the Golden Triangle

ASEAN's 'drug free' strategy is failing and needs a new approach.

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Cannabis and the Conventions

The question facing the international community today is no longer whether or not there is a need to reassess the UN drug control system, but rather when and how ...

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Unscheduling the coca leaf

The coca leaf has been chewed for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to…

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  • Cannabis Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties

    Strategies for Reform
    WOLA, GDPO, TDPF, TNI, ICHRDP & CDPC
    June 2016

    As jurisdictions enact reforms creating legal access to cannabis for purposes other than exclusively “medical and scientific,” tensions surrounding the existing UN drug treaties and evolving law and practice in Member States continue to grow. These treaty tensions have become the “elephant in the room” in key high-level forums, including the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs — obviously present, but studiously ignored.

    Download the briefing (PDF) | Press release | Version française (PDF)

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  • UNGASS 2016: Watershed event or wasted opportunity?

    Drug policy changes collide with UN bureaucracy
    Martin Jelsma
    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    ungass2016_nyAt about two o'clock in the morning on March 23rd, after tense negotiations in Vienna, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) reached a disappointing compromise. The hard-bargained draft of the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs taking place in New York from 19-21 April was adopted by ‘consensus’. Although its key features are by no means a surprise the draft is disappointing nonetheless.

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  • The UNGASS outcome document: Diplomacy or denialism?

    Civil Society Statement

    ungass2016_nyDrug policy expertise and impacted communities from around the world express serious concerns about the preparations and already-drafted outcomes for the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the “world drug problem”. We call upon member states – especially those who have been shut out of the Vienna-based negotiations – to challenge the current draft of the UNGASS Outcome Document, to ensure the debate on its contents is not closed in Vienna, and to prepare statements expressing their disappointment and dissent at the UNGASS in April.

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  • The history of cannabis and international control

    How cannabis was included in the UN drug control system and the defections that have brought the international treaties to breaking point
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  • The Heemskerk Declaration

    Final declaration of the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants
    Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP)
    January 21, 2016

    Representative of Carribean Farmers speaking at the Growers Forum 2016 / Photo credit Floris LeeuwenbergIn a global meeting small scale farmers of cannabis, coca and opium from 14 countries discussed their contribution to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). The UNGASS will discuss all aspects of global drug control policies, including the worldwide ban on the cultivation of coca, poppy and cannabis, an issue the Global Farmers Forum demands that their voices be heard and taken into account.

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  • Cannabis in Indonesia

    Patterns in consumption, production, and policies
    Dania Putri Tom Blickman
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr 44
    January 2016

    Cannabis use has never posed major problems in Indonesia, yet prohibitionist policies prevail. Despite the high prevalence of cannabis use, local or national discussions on cannabis policies are nearly non-existent, exacerbated by strong anti-drug views and public institutions' failure to design and implement comprehensive policies based on evidence. Because of the current anti-narcotics law – discussed in detail in this briefing – there have been many obstacles to research on cannabis, both in terms of medical and anthropological research.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

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  • Ayahuasca: From the Amazon to the Global Village

    An analysis of the challenges associated with the globalisation of ayahuasca
    Constanza Sánchez & José Carlos Bouso
    Drug Policy Briefing Nr. 43
    December 2015

    dpb43Indigenous peoples in the Amazon have used ayahuasca for centuries as a remedy for physical and psychological health, and to ensure the life and wellbeing of their communities. In the past two decades, the use of this decoction has expanded beyond Amazon indigenous spheres. Globalisation, and with it the contact between populations, has facilitated cultural exchange between indigenous traditions and Western practices, which has led to a growing interest in the ritual, religious and therapeutic use of ayahuasca.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

  • UNGASS 2016: Background memo on the proposal to establish an expert advisory group

    Several countries have recently expressed support for the idea to use the mechanism of an expert advisory group again for the UNGASS in 2016
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    November 2015

    memo-expert-group-ungass-nov2015eSignificant changes in the global drug policy landscape are shaping up in the UNGASS 2016 preparations, in the direction of more humane and proportional responses based on health, human rights and development principles. But few countries are willing to openly acknowledge the existence of structural deficiencies with regard to UN system-wide coherence, the institutional architecture and the legal treaty framework. In spite of more and more cracks in the Vienna consensus and treaty breaches in the area of cannabis policies, questioning the basic principles of the international drug control system is still largely a political taboo.

    application-pdfDownload the memo (PDF)

  • The UN Drug Control Conventions

    A primer

    ungass_decadesFor more than ten years, TNI’s Drugs & Democracy programme has been studying the UN drug control conventions and the institutional architecture of the UN drug control regime. As we approach the 2016 UNGASS, this primer is a tool to better understand the role of these conventions, the scope and limits of their flexibility, the mandates they established for the CND, the INCB and the WHO, and the various options for treaty reform. (PDF version: Primer: The UN Drug Control Conventions)

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  • International Law and Drug Policy Reform

    Report of a GDPO/ICHRDP/TNI/WOLA Expert Seminar
    Final report of proceedings
    July 2015

    un-building-ny2-ildpfDrug policy reform is currently higher on the international agenda than it has been in recent memory. With a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs set for 19-21 April 2016, the prominence of this issue will further increase. Significant legal and policy reforms at the national level have taken place in recent years that pose considerable challenges to the international legal framework for drug control, and beg important questions regarding states’ international legal obligations.

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    Download the report (PDF)

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UN Drug Control

In 2011 the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs will be in place for 50 years. In 2012 the international drug control system will exist 100 years since the International Opium Convention was signed in 1912 in The Hague. Does it still serve its purpose or is a reform of the UN Drug Conventions needed? This site provides critical background.