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  • Silver linings

    U.S. State votes to legalize cannabis boost reform opportunities in the Americas
    John Walsh
    Thursday, November 10, 2016

    us-21-percent-recreationalOne of the most striking juxtapositions of the 2016 U.S. elections is that on the same day that the nation elected to the presidency a candidate who employed openly racist language and fueled his campaign by denigrating and stoking fear of Mexicans, four U.S. states – notably including California – continued to roll back cannabis prohibition. With over 20 percent of Americans now living in states that have voted to regulate rather than ban cannabis, the United States is in no position to slam the brakes on similar reform efforts abroad.

  • Found in the dark

    Myanmar's regressive drug policies must change
    Ernestien Jensema Nang Pann Ei Kham
    Friday, October 21, 2016

    Some 400 people were charged with being “found in the dark” in Yangon, Myanmar in the first five months of 2015 alone. The charge carries a prison term for “any person found between sunset and sunrise, within the precincts of any dwelling-house or other building whatsoever without being able to satisfactorily account for his presence therein”. Drug users are often charged with being “found in the dark” or “being notorious”, just one indication of the inadequacy of Myanmar's current response to its drug problem, according to Found in the Dark, a recent report by the Transnational Institute and the National Drug User Network in Myanmar.

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  • A lot has happened and a lot has not happened

    Demystifying the changes - Examination of the Jamaican experience
    Vicki Hanson
    Thursday, October 20, 2016

    Vicki HansonAt the recently concluded 6th Latin American and 1st Caribbean Conference on Drug Policy, held in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic, I started a discussion on the cannabis situation in Jamaica with a statement that “A lot has happened and a lot has not happened”, and this is the very same way I wish to start the engagement in this blog. Jamaica has in the last two (2) years has been thrust into the midst of the international discourse on drug policy reform, with specific emphasis on Cannabis reform.

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  • The human rights 'win' at the UNGASS on drugs that no one is talking about, and how we can use it

    A provision within the UNGASS resolution offers an opportunity for the two regimes to bridge the human rights gap
    Rick Lines and Damon Barret
    Monday, May 9, 2016

    ungass2016The April 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the world drug problem offered a unique opportunity to re-examine the approach of punitive suppression that underpins global drug control. As the first such meeting to be held since 1998, it was a chance to set a new course, leaving behind what the UN Office on Drugs and Crime has called the negative ‘unintended consequences’ of the ‘war on drugs’.

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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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  • Panama Papers demonstrate need to reopen UNGASS 2016 outcome document

    Recommendations to counter money laundering are inadequate
    Tom Blickman
    Friday, April 8, 2016

    panama-papersThe Panama Papers, a massive leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama that helped wealthy clients and money launderers for drug trafficking organisations set up anonymous shell companies in tax havens, should open the outcome document of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on the world drug problem, that will take place on April 19-21 in New York.

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  • Will UNGASS 2016 be the beginning of the end for the ‘war on drugs’?

    Held this April, will the United Nations General Assembly Special Session be the turning point for the international drug control system?
    Martin Jelsma Ann Fordham
    Thursday, March 17, 2016

    ungass2016_nyIn April 2016, the UN will dedicate, for the third time in its history, a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) to discuss global drug policy. The UNGASS has the potential to be a ground-breaking moment that could change the course of the international drug control system. However, political divisions and entrenched institutional dynamics have dampened hopes that it will go down in history as the beginning of the end of the war on drugs.

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  • 2015 the Year of Ganja in Jamaica

    Will 2016 be the year for Ganja internationally, as we move towards the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016?
    Vicki Hanson
    Friday, January 29, 2016

    jamaica-cannabis-leafThe issue of ganja played very prominently in Jamaica in 2015 with some advocates trumpeting the dawn of a “new green golden kingdom”, while some opponents predicting the doom of our youths to the “green demon”. However, a sober analysis of the situation will reveal that even though there were indeed some victories in relation to how we treat with ganja in Jamaica, there is still a lot more to achieve and pitfalls to be mindful of in relation to our policy on establishing a fully legally regulated ganja industry.

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  • Harsh sentences against the Pannagh cannabis club

    The Spanish Supreme Court effectively closes the grey legal loopholes that allowed Cannabis Social Clubs to operate
    Tom Blickman
    Wednesday, December 30, 2015

    yosoypannagh The Spanish Supreme Court has convicted the president, an administrator and two members of the Association of Cannabis Users "Pannagh" in Bilbao, for running a Cannabis Social Club. The penalty for the first two is 1 year and 8 months in prison, as well as a fine of € 250,000, and for the other two – which among other functions weighed and packaged cannabis – a penalty of 6 months in prison. The Supreme Court overturned the acquittal of the four by a Court in Bilbao in March 2015. Among the convicted is Martin Barriuso, one of the main promoters of Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain who wrote a briefing for TNI on the issue.

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  • As UNGASS approaches, yet another devastating UN critique of the drug war is published

    Steve Rolles (Transform)
    Tuesday, December 8, 2015

    A significant positive outcome has already emerged from next year’s UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs in the form of much more direct engagement in key drug policy issues from a range of UN agencies - beyond the prohibitionist silo of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Civil society organisations have, for years, been attempting to highlight the negative impacts of the international drug control system on issues relating to the core UN pillars of human rights, development, and peace and security.

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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.