International Narcotics Control Board expresses concern over the trend to legalize non-medical use of cannabis

International Narcotics Control Board expresses concern over the trend to legalize non-medical use of cannabis, which contravenes the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

In its 2022 Annual Report, the International Narcotics Control Board:

– notes that the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs classified cannabis as highly addictive and liable to abuse, and that any non-medical or non-scientific use of cannabis contravenes the Convention;

– expresses concern that this trend among a small number of governments is leading to higher consumption, negative health effects and psychotic disorders;

– notes with concern that the growing cannabis industry advertises products, particularly to young people, in ways that lower the perception of risk involved in using them;

– finds the impact of legalizing cannabis on society difficult to measure because legislative models vary from country to country and data is still limited;

– voices concern that many countries continue to have difficulties procuring enough controlled substances for medical treatment, including during emergency situations;

highlights the importance of timely emergency legislation to expedite access to controlled medicines during humanitarian emergencies.

In a supplementary report, “No Patient Left Behind: Progress in Ensuring Adequate Access to Internationally Controlled Substances for Medical and Scientific Purposes”, INCB makes a set of recommendations to Governments to improve the availability of these essential medicines.

INCB warns about surging illicit cocaine production and trafficking.

Larger quantities of cocaine with high levels of purity have become available at cheaper prices due to a surge in production and trafficking of cocaine. This is linked to changing criminal activity in locations where coca bush is grown. In addition, trafficking organizations are moving cocaine processing to Europe, which accounted for six of the 15 cocaine processing laboratories discovered globally.

Global action required to address trafficking in synthetic opioids and opioid overdose epidemic.

The opioid epidemic and drug overdose crisis in North America has worsened due to illicit manufacture of and trafficking in synthetic opioids. Trafficking in fentanyl and other dangerous opioids is expanding to Oceania. INCB’s Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme is building capacity and supporting cooperation among law enforcement authorities to prevent these and other dangerous substances from reaching consumer markets.

Precursors report

INCB is concerned about the increasing use of non-scheduled chemicals and designer precursors in illicit drug manufacture, with a high number of seizures reported in 67 countries on five continents. INCB warns Member States about increased trafficking of non-scheduled substances and the speed with which the illicit drug industry circumvents international controls. INCB calls for more precursor control to achieve more secure trade for the legitimate chemical industry.

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