• Willful Blindness: 
INCB can find nothing good to say on cannabis legalisation

    A response to the annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board
    Transnational Institute (TNI), Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) & Global Drug Policy Observatory (GDPO)

    In its Report for 2022, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the “independent, quasi-judicial expert body” that monitors the implementation of the UN drug control conventions, focuses on the legalisation of cannabis. Each year, in the first chapter of its annual report, the Board addresses a specific issue it deems important for drug policy discussions and the functioning of the international drug control system. This year, cannabis legalisation is the focus. The Board’s blinkered view completely ignores that in the 60 years since the adoption of the Single Convention, the global drug control regime that it so tenaciously defends has failed dismally.

  • Cannabis and Climate

    The carbon footprint and energy use of indoor cultivation
    Cannabis Policy Brief Nr. 2
    October 2022

    Environmental impacts are rarely taken into account in the cannabis regulation debate. The assumption is that legal regulation would automatically reduce the negative environmental consequences of the unregulated illegal market, because authorities would compel the industry to comply with basic environmental standards. Practices in North America and the direction of the emerging regulation debate in Germany and other European countries, however, reveal a disturbing trend towards indoor cannabis cultivation. The high carbon footprint of indoor grow facilities could jeopardize policy aims to reduce energy use and to meet climate goals.

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  • Prohibited Plants

    Environmental Justice in Drug Policy
    Sylvia Kay
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    June 2022

    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.

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  • A House of Cards

    ‘High compliance’: A legally indefensible and confusing distraction
    Martin Jelsma (TNI), David Bewley-Taylor (GDPO), Tom Blickman (TNI), and John Walsh (WOLA)
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    April 29, 2022

    In a recently published report, ‘High compliance, a lex lata legalization for the non-medical cannabis industry’, Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli claims to have discovered a new legal justification for regulating recreational cannabis in accordance with the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. A close reading quickly reveals the confused and legally indefensible nature of the paper’s proposed escape route. And while we consider the UN drug control treaties to be out of date and not fit for purpose, we strongly disagree with proposals that would seek to overcome the challenges on the basis of legally unsound and invalid arguments. The ‘High compliance’ paper constructs a legal house of cards that comes tumbling down when its core arguments are contested and taken out.

  • Women and Drugs in Myanmar

    A primer
    Dania Putri & Ernestien Jensema
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    March 2022

    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. When it comes to drugs and related policies, women and their experiences are often rendered invisible, or presented merely as an afterthought even though in many cases women tend to face harsher effects of punitive policies. This primer emphasises the need for a rights-based approach for these specific populations of women – women using drugs, women dealing drugs or couriering (sometimes to support personal use), and women engaging in the drugs market through opium cultivation.

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  • The shortcomings and side effects of substance scheduling

    Side Event at the 65th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 14-18 March 2022
    Thursday, March 17, 2022

    Substance scheduling is a central function of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and a longstanding pillar of international and national drug policies. Despite the continued reliance on scheduling, there is an ongoing debate as to whether scheduling substances is beneficial or determinantal in preventing drug-related harms. The observed displacement/replacement effect indicates that the scheduling of substances and resulting law enforcement involvement is routinely followed by the emergence of new substances often posing greater harms from consumption, as has been observed in the case of the steadily increasing rate of overdoses around the world caused by highly potent opioids in the unregulated drug market.

  • The green wave hits Europe: Recent cannabis regulation initiatives in Europe

    Side Event at the 65th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 14-18 March 2022
    Tuesday, March 15, 2022

    GreenWave600x400In the last few years several countries as well as numerous subnational jurisdictions in the Americas have adopted policies to regulate cannabis for non-medical use as an alternative to prohibition. The reform of cannabis policies is proceeding also in Europe: Malta has partially decriminalised personal consumption and cultivation of Cannabis; Luxembourg’s parliament is considering reforms; Germany’s new coalition government announced its intention to legally regulate cannabis for non-medical use. In Italy a referendum was proposed but not admitted by the Supreme Court, aimed at the depenalization of personal cultivation and depenalization of all cannabis-related conduct.

  • The War on Drugs and the denial of indigenous rights

    Opening remarks: David Choquehuanca Céspedes, Vice-President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia

    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. This webinar, which took place on the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2021, will shed light on the conflict between the drug control regime and Indigenous rights, and challenge prevailing narratives that these tensions are possible to reconcile while the UN retains the goal of a society free of drugs.

  • The Future of Cannabis in the Caribbean

    Side event at the 64th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
    Friday, April 16, 2021

    Two years after the presentation of the 2018 CARICOM report “Waiting to Exhale - Safeguarding our future through responsible socio-legal policy on Marijuana” at the CND, this years’ side event the organizers would like to share insights on progress made, regarding the public policies on cannabis and the development of a medical cannabis industry in the Caribbean region.

  • A Sustainable Future for Cannabis Farmers

    ‘Alternative Development’ Opportunities in the Legal Cannabis Market
    Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, Sylvia Kay, Pien Metaal, Nicolás Martínez Rivera & Dania Putri
    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    April 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.

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