MARCH 13, 2016

Topic: Cannabis

WFAD is alarmed by the current development of legalization of drugs in some areas of the world. This is being done in opposition to the Single convention on Narcotic Drugs from 1961 and is threatening the international cooperation in combatting the world drug problem.

We are also noting with great concern the movement for medical marijuana claiming that marijuana is a safe medicine. These claims conflict with current science and also with best practices of medicine. WFAD is also noting that states with medical marijuana dispensaries in the USA has a higher marijuana use by adolescents and lower perceptions of risk from use.

Reminding the state parties about the Health and Social effects of nonmedical use of drugs as described by the World Health Organization;

  • Cannabis is the most widely used drug, it is estimated that 181,8 million people used it in 2013;
  • Young people often use cannabis, with the mid-teens being the age of first use in many developed countries;
  • Growing evidence reveals that regular, heavy cannabis use during adolescence is associ- ated with more severe and persistent negative outcomes than use during adulthood.
  • Regular cannabis use can develop dependence on the drugs. The risk may be around
  • 1 in 10 among those who ever use cannabis, I in 6 among adolescent users and 1 in 3 among daily users;
  • There has been an upward trend in the THC content of confiscated cannabis in the USA and some European countries, but there is not enough knowledge on whether cannabis products with higher THC content affect the adverse health effects of cannabis;
  • There is a consistent dose-response relationship between cannabis use in adolescence and the risk of developing psychotic symptoms or schizophrenia.

WFAD calls on member states to secure that the use of components of the cannabis plant for medical use is done according to national legislative and regulatory frameworks on approval of new medicines.

We also request member states to ensure conformity with the three International Drug Conventions and reiterate the commitment to the conventions, also in connection with the debate around cannabis legal status. The use of cannabis for non-medical purposes is not a solution to the existing challenges.

WFAD reminds member states implement the obligations from the three Drug Conventions and the Action Plan on Drugs to implement effective prevention, treatment and rehabilitation measures, as well as the Convention on the Rights of the Child which requires the states to protect children from illcit drug use. Legalization is clearly not allowed under the Conventions. Countries should not be able to legalize without consequences if our Conventions are to have meaning and credibility.

We also remind the state parties about the consequences that this current trend of legalizing drugs will have on less developed countries. Rich countries are failing to find resources to meet to address their drug

problem and care for their children and their poor, how can we expect that less developed countries will find the resources. The world’s poorest communities are the most vulnerable to the harms of drug use and trade, they will not be able to regulate the marketing or collect taxes from drug sales, simply because there are no taxes to collect.

We want to emphasize prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery is the way forward. To deny the addictive potential of cannabis or negative mental health effects is to deny the overwhelming scientific evidence available today. And our experience tells us that we should not welcome with open arms a new industry – like Big Tobacco – which will focus on commercializing and increasing the use of a drug far more potent today than it has ever been.

We need to prevent drug use, not promote it.

About WFAD

The World Federation Against Drugs (WFAD) is dedicated to identifying and promoting effective and affordable laws, policies and programs consistent with modern culture and values that limit illegal drug use and illegal drug trafficking. These initiatives build on a century of international efforts to limit the use of illegal drugs, incorporated into three major treaties accepted by virtually every country in the world and managed by the United Nations. The treaties require coordinated international efforts that reject the use of drugs outside of controlled medical practice.

WFAD is the unified voice for civil society organizations working for a drug free vision.