In this article Tom Blickman and Martin Jelsma, who both work for TNI, answer some questions about the new TNI report, which is co-financed by the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum Amsterdam/Barcelona, one of the sister companies of Sensi Seeds. This report was presented during the 57th UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna.
Spain has been steadily relaxing its drug laws for many years, and has now become one of the most liberal countries in Europe, if not the world, with regards to drugs. Spain’s economy has suffered hugely throughout the global financial crisis and its aftershocks; as a result, the importance of cannabis has skyrocketed.
Algeria is a major transit point for drugs, particularly hashish produced in Morocco and destined for Europe. It is not a major producer or consumer of illicit drugs, although it appears that both production and consumption is on the increase. As well as hashish arriving from Morocco, increasing amounts of cannabis (and cocaine from South America) are trafficked into Algeria from West Africa. The bulk of the contraband leaving Algeria is destined to travel by sea to Europe, although a small proportion is also smuggled overland to Middle Eastern destinations.
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Astonishingly, cannabis has never been subjected to a scientific review by the World Health Organization using the criteria required for any psychoactive substance to be included in the United Nations schedules of controlled drugs.
The Tunisian Republic is ideally located for the purposes of trafficking cannabis and hashish. It is situated very near both to Morocco, the world’s largest producer of hashish, and the southern coast of Europe—the gateway to the world’s largest consumer market for drugs. In recent years, political instability has allowed trafficking to thrive.
Iraq’s ability to control its territory has been severely compromised in recent years, as the destabilising effects of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and subsequent insurgency intensify. A resultant spike in drug trafficking has been observed, and the embattled nation is struggling to bring its lawless regions back under control.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has a long history associated with cannabis use, and large swathes of the population continue to use cannabis in the traditional manner. However, the present regime has been severely clamping down on drug trafficking in recent years, in response to an increase in heroin and opium addiction rates.
Drug law is universal throughout the seven emirates—Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain—of the federation, but there are variations in the level to which each police force is equipped and organised. Dubai’s police force is comparatively well-organised and well-equipped, and thus arrests are more frequent there. Due to Dubai’s importance as a global city, many foreigners are arrested for drugs, even those who are simply passing through en route to other destinations.
Pakistan is one of the world's largest producers of hashish, much of which is trafficked via the Middle East and Central Asia to Europe, Africa and North America. Cannabis grows wild in many regions of the country; cultivation is widespread, and is believed to be increasing due to ongoing political and economic instability.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is situated in Asia Minor, and shares borders with Syria, Israel, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Jordan is a nation with strict and rigorously-enforced laws, although recent economic downtrends have seen social unrest and participation in illegal economic activity grow—including trafficking of cannabis.
GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution is a feature-length documentary that explores the world of medical cannabis consumers and activists. Spanning The USA, The Netherlands, Spain, USA and the UK; the new film from Dale Beaumont-Smith, director of 'vegas2venice', follows the trials and tribulations of a sub-culture trying to change the current cannabis laws in the United Kingdom.
In Part I of 'Cannabis in Liberia', Sensi Seeds discussed the history of cannabis in Liberia and how it developed into the present-day industry. In Part II, we will take a closer look at cannabis policy and how it is implemented, particularly the eradication and seizure efforts commenced in 2008.
The Republic of Liberia is a small West African nation with a population of around 3.7 million, of which around 70% is dependent on agriculture. Despite having enjoyed historic periods of stability and economic growth, the civil war (1989-2003) devastated the country’s infrastructure and economy, leaving millions impoverished.
Currently in the grip of a protracted and bloody civil war, Syria is a volatile area whose cannabis industry undergoes rapid and extreme changes in response to political events. Now that central control has been lost in certain key areas, particularly the Kurdish territories of the north-east, cannabis cultivation is increasing.
Turkey has a long history of cannabis use, dating back thousands of years, and it has a rich culture associated with it. However, since the beginning of the 20th century, political changes have meant that the leadership of the country has taken more decisive steps to limit and criminalise its use.
Kenya is a large country in East Africa, bordered by Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. Although not famed for cannabis, there is a thriving domestic market and a long tradition of cannabis cultivation in rural areas. In recent years, Kenya's significance in regional trafficking networks appears to have grown.
Swaziland is an impoverished country, and over 75% of its population makes a living from subsistence farming. Cannabis is a hugely valuable crop, and is usually exported straight to South Africa.
In the global process of cannabis legalization, everything seems to take place in slow motion. Some governments may be trying to gain enough time to change strategies in a way that best suits them. Some, perhaps, merely wish to distract their citizens so that procedures last as long possible or - even worse - are never completed.
The Republic of Zimbabwe in southern Africa has a population of around 13 million, a per capita GDP of just $837, and an 80% unemployment rate. Economic conditions have declined rapidly since 2000; 70% of the population is dependent on agriculture, and cannabis has begun to replace traditional crops due to its higher price.