Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate, analyzes cannabis policies around the world and lays out the advantages of a fully regulated legal market and how a country can overcome the international conventions in order to have policies that better suites its individual needs. Below is an excerpt from the book.
Cannabis is by far the most widely used illegal drug and therefore the mainstay of the ‘War on Drugs.’ It is used by an estimated 4% of the global adult population, that is, 166 million people out of an estimated population of 200 million illegal drug users’. It therefore constitutes roughly 80% of the ‘illegal drug market.’ However, cannabis has only ever held a relatively marginal position in international drug policy discussions. In response to its peripheral role in the global debate, I decided to convene a team of the world’s leading drug policy analysts to prepare an overview of the latest scientific evidence surrounding cannabis and the policies controlling its use. The report would both bring cannabis to the attention of policy-makers and also provide them with the relevant facts to better inform their future decisions, particularly in the context of the United Nations Strategic Drug Policy Review of 2009, and thereafter.
The historical context of the United Nations’ policy is critical here. In 1998, the international community agreed a 10-year program of activity for the control of illegal drug use and markets. These agreements were made at a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) held in New York in June of that year, and a commitment was made to reassess the situation at the end of the 10-year period. The nature of this program was epitomized by the slogan ‘A drug free world — we can do it!’ However, the reality is that since 1998 drugs have in general become cheaper and more readily available than ever before. We hope that this volume will help lead the way towards a more rational, effective and just approach to the control of cannabis.