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. Despite this, it is classified as one of the most dangerous psychoactive substances under international control, and officially considered to have no therapeutic value.
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. Despite this, it is classified as one of the most dangerous psychoactive substances under international control, and officially considered to have no therapeutic value. The untenable continuation of this official status, and the fallacies that it is based upon, are currently being placed under a powerful international spotlight with the publication of ‘The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition’, a report co-authored by Dave Bewley-Taylor, Tom Blickman and Martin Jelsma.
The inclusion of cannabis and its compounds in the strictest schedules of the conventions was a rejection of its usefulness for therapeutic purposes … Today, however, many countries have rejected this position… and have established legal regimes recognising the medicinal properties of cannabis.”
The new report is a joint effort between Amsterdam’s Transnational Institute and the Global Drug Policy Observatory, based at Swansea University in Wales. It was made possible by funding from one of the most famous of the Sensi Seeds sister companies, the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, and all at Sensi Seeds are extremely proud to have been able to contribute to this exciting and thought-provoking document. Additional funds were provided by the Open Society Foundations and the Drug Prevention and Information Programme of the European Union, but the position of the authors is perfectly clear: this is an unbiased, objective report based on two years of research. A test-drive of sorts took place at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota (Colombia) in May 2013, where the findings thus far were shared at the Seventh Annual Conference of the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy, and in October 2013 further discussion of the report took place during an expert cannabis regulation seminar in Amsterdam. This kind of comprehensive field-testing, and the gladly received feedback it generated, makes the final product a weighty document that calls for reassessment of the status of cannabis worldwide in no uncertain terms.
Detailing the history of cannabis restrictions and their varying degrees of ineffectiveness and failure, The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition clearly narrates how cannabis fell through the cracks of the systems that should have preserved it for medicinal use and instigated proper research into its properties. This essential research is only just beginning to get underway now, mostly thanks to the places that have effected “soft defections” from the UN Convention and adopted policies more sensible and tolerant than the prescribed position. According to the report, there have been three waves of soft defections – the stance of the Netherlands for the last 40 years; the “quiet revolution” of decriminalization and more lenient penalties for personal possession in many Latin American and European countries, and parts of Australia; and the increasing spread of medicinal cannabis in the US.
On the heels of these soft defections come what could be termed outright rejections of the various conventions in the form of Uruguay, Washington and Colorado. Their brave and laudable decisions to fully legalize recreational cannabis are not just stretching the interpretation of documents designed to keep this “most dangerous” drug away from the public, they are outright breaching them.
Indeed, while the fractures within the consensus around cannabis have been growing over recent years, policy shifts towards legally regulated markets … have resulted in treaty breach and created a policy environment in which serious discussion about revising the regime, or nation states’ relationship to it, can no longer be ignored.”
The report is presented for the first time at the 57th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, 13th – 21st March 2014. Sensi Seeds will continue to update readers on developments to this story.
Click here to read “The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition” in English.