IDPCThe UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs – held in New York in April 2016 – was hailed as an opportunity for the international community ‘to conduct a wide-ranging and open debate that considers all options’. Although the UNGASS was characterised by many shortcomings and disappointments, it was nonetheless a critical moment for global drug policy reform. Now that the dust has settled, one serious omission from the proces has become increasingly apparent – the fact that nothing was decided or proposed for the next important UN moment for drug policy in 2019. Download the advocacy note (PDF) READ MORE...
UN summit cannot hide a growing divergence in the global drug policy landscapeDave Bewley-Taylor Martin JelsmaDrug Policy Briefing Nr 45A special session of the General Assembly took place in April revealing a growing divergence in the global drug policy landscape. Difficult negotiations resulted in a disappointing outcome document, perpetuating a siloed approach to drugs at the UN level. There is a clear need to realign international drug policies with the overarching 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, embedding the drugs issue comprehensively within the UN’s three pillars: development, human rights, and peace and security. The UNGASS process has helped to set the stage for more substantial changes in the near future, towards the next UN review in 2019. Download the briefing (PDF) READ MORE...
Recent developments in cannabis regulation
Cannabis is the most widely produced and consumed illicit substance globally. A significant number of states have long engaged in soft defection from the UN drug control regime in relation to tolerant policies on the personal possession, cultivation and use of cannabis. Recently, there has been growing debate within political circles on the benefits of regulated cannabis markets. This has been driven by a number of factors, including the continuing illegality of supply, the associated and often violent involvement of criminal elements and the use of finite criminal justice resources. In this section you will find an overview of our most recent blogs on the issue. Latest: Silver linings: U.S. State votes to legalize cannabis boost reform opportunities in the Americas, John Walsh, November ...READ MORE...
Transnational Institute (TNI)
The voices of affected communities involved in the cultivation of coca leaf, opium poppy and cannabis plants are lacking in the global debate on drug policy reform in general and were at risk of being excluded from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 on The World Drug Problem. In January 2016 the Transnational Institute (TNI) gathered a group of approximately 60 farmers and farmers’ representatives in the Netherlands for the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP), facilitating a discussion of their views on and experiences with illicit crop control policies. Download the report (PDF)READ MORE...
The Impact of Drug Law Enforcement Practices in MyanmarErnestien Jensema & Nang Pann Ei KhamDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 47
To address its serious drug use problems, Myanmar should change its drug policy towards a harm reduction approach. Instead of a repressive approach, voluntary and evidence-based treatment and public health services, including harm reduction, should be made available and become generally accepted by enforcement officials and by the community at large. Myanmar has very strict drug laws and policies, and its legal framework emphasises harsh sentences and the criminalisation of drug users rather than providing access to health and harm reduction services. This report highlights the impact of current drug law enforcement practices in Myanmar and illustrates why a change in drug legislation and policy is necessary. Download the report (PDF)READ MORE...
A focus on the largest cannabis producer in South AmericaGuillermo GaratDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 46
Paraguay is the principal producer of cannabis in South America, though nobody knows for certain how many hectares are planted with this crop, probably on account of its concealment and a prevalent climate of corruption. National authorities and international control agencies estimate an area between 6,000 and 7,000 hectares, with an annual production of 16,500 tonnes. At present, according to estimates of the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Secretariat (Secretaría Nacional Anti Drogas - SENAD), some 20,000 farmers are involved in cannabis cultivation, boosting the microeconomy of the north-eastern region of the country. Download the briefing (PDF)READ MORE...
Strategies for ReformWOLA, GDPO, TDPF, TNI, ICHRDP & CDPC
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)READ MORE...
How cannabis was included in the UN drug control system and the defections that have brought the international treaties to breaking point
An analysis of the challenges associated with the globalisation of ayahuascaConstanza Sánchez & José Carlos BousoDrug Policy Briefing Nr. 43
Indigenous 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. Download the briefing (PDF)READ MORE...
Several countries have recently expressed support for the idea to use the mechanism of an expert advisory group again for the UNGASS in 2016Transnational Institute (TNI)
Significant 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. Download the memo (PDF)
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