The status of cannabis in the UN drug conventions is controversial. It is now scheduled among the most dangerous substances. How and why did cannabis in the conventions? Does it belong there? What are the options to review the status of cannabis according to current scientific data? Is making cannabis subject to a control regime similar to harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco a solution?
For the latest news on cannabis reform worldwide click here


  • Cannabis Regulation and Development

    Fair(er) Trade Options for Emerging Legal Markets
    David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, and Sylvia Kay
    Drug Policies and Development: Conflict and Coexistence
    12th volume of International Development Policy, August 2020

    Significant policy shifts have led to an unprecedented boom in medical cannabis markets, while a growing number of countries are moving towards the legal regulation of adult non-medical use. This trend is likely to bring a range of benefits. Yet there are growing concerns over the many for-profit cannabis companies from the global North that are aggressively competing to capture the licit spaces now opening in the multibillion-dollar global cannabis market. This threatens to push small-scale traditional farmers from the global South out of the emerging legal markets.

    Read the chapter

    READ MORE...
  • Cannabis rescheduling

    What could it mean for Africa?
    Dania Putri
    International Drug Policy Consortium / Transnational Institute
    Briefing Paper
    June 2020

    In January 2019 the World Health Organization issued a collection of formal recommendations to reschedule cannabis and cannabis-related substances, these present an opportunity for African governments and civil society to further decolonise drug control approaches on the continent, as well as to strengthen the international legal basis for emerging medicinal cannabis programmes in several African countries.

    application pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • Possession of cannabis for personal use

    International Drug Policy Consortium

    The legal status of cannabis for personal use is one of the most controversial policy issues in the European Union. Although cannabis is a classified narcotic drug placed under control by the United Nations and by all EU Member States, the measures adopted to control it at national level vary considerably, as shown in the table, click here to access the information country by country.

    READ MORE...
  • 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.

    application pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • 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.

    READ MORE...
  • 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.

    application pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • 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.

    application pdf

    Download the brief (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • Better to Ask Forgiveness Than Permission

    Spain’s Sub-national Approach to Drug Policy
    Constanza Sánchez & Michael Collins
    GDPO Policy Brief 12
    June 2018

    In recent years, the international debate on drug policy reform has intensified, and with it has come a productive exchange of information between academics, activists and advocates on the diverse models and approaches in different countries. Portugal’s decriminalization model is the subject of numerous reports and articles, the legalization of cannabis in a number of U.S. states and Uruguay is heavily studied. Heroin-Assisted Treatment (HAT) in Switzerland is often discussed, and the Czech Republic’s progressive drug policy has been much heralded. On the outside looking in is Spain, a country with a curious mix of cannabis clubs, decriminalization of drug possession for personal use, innovative harm reduction policies, drug checking, and more. It also occupies an interesting geographical position as a transit hub for drugs entering Europe from the Americas and North Africa. Yet in mainstream drug policy discussions, little is known of the Spanish approach to drug policy, with the possible exception of cannabis clubs.

    application pdfDownload the briefing (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • Medicinal cannabis policies and practices around the world

    Sofía Aguilar, Víctor Gutiérrez, Lisa Sánchez & Marie Nougier
    International Drug Policy Consortium
    April 2018

    Although cannabis remains a prohibited substance worldwide, in recent decades a series of political, legislative and judicial processes in various parts of the world have given rise to various forms of legal regulatory regimes for the medical and therapeutic use of the plant. This trend seems to be consolidating in the Americas, in particular in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the largest number of available experiences is concentrated, and where the regulatory changes are occurring successively, in a sort of domino effect.

    application pdf

    Download the briefing (PDF)

    READ MORE...
  • Want teens to smoke less pot? Legalize it

    Evolutionary psychology predicted it, data now confirms it
    Psychology Today
    Monday, February 5, 2018

    Those favoring strict drug laws believe that, as marijuana becomes more available and less stigmatized, teen drug use will go up. It's a straightforward and logical belief. The reality is that, to date, not one jurisdiction, either in the U.S. or elsewhere, has seen a marked increase in teen drug use following the relaxation of marijuana restrictions. Not one. Both Colorado and Washington, the pioneer states of marijuana legalization, have actually seen drops in teen marijuana use following legalization. The drop in Colorado was particularly dramatic. Despite the wave of legalization, nationwide, teen drug use is at a 20-year low.

Page 1 of 12