The Board notes the various measures undertaken and planned by the Government to monitor the implementation of cannabis-related regulations in certain states of the United States as they pertain to federal enforcement priorities, as well as to examine the public health impact of those developments. The Board reiterates its concern that action by the Government to date with regard to the legalization of the production, sale and distribution of cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes in the states of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington does not meet the requirements of the international drug control treaties.
The Supreme Court has taken very different approaches to the question whether individuals have a right to make autonomous medical treatment choices, depending on the context. For example, in cases concerning the right to choose “partial-birth” abortion and the right to use medical marijuana, the Supreme Court reached radically different results based on radically different reasoning.
In the midst of the drug controversy in the United States at this time stands the first report of the National Commission on Marihuana. The media, prominent politicians, educators, and religious leaders have interpreted this report as conveying the sense that marihuana is harmless. Careful reading of this 184-page summary, which I shall heretofore refer to as the report, clearly indicates that the commission does not recommend the legalization of marihuana but does recommend substantial changes in federal law. Nonprofit private use and distribution of marihuana would be tolerated and public possession of 1 oz. or less of the substance would not be punishable. However, cultivating, selling, or distributing for profit would remain felonies.
This UK Act creates three classes of controlled substances, A, B, and C, and ranges of penalties for illegal or unlicensed possession and possession with intent to supply are graded differently within each class. The lists of substances within each class can be amended by order, so the Home Secretary can list new drugs and upgrade, downgrade or delist previously controlled drugs with less of the bureaucracy and delay associated with passing an act through both Houses of Parliament.
Critics of the Act say that its classification is not based on how harmful or addictive the substances are, and that it is unscientific to omit substances like tobacco and alcohol.
The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally 'narcotic') drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research.
The Single Convention repeatedly affirms the importance of medical use of controlled substances. The Preamble notes that "the medical use of narcotic drugs continues to be indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering and that adequate provision must be made to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs for such purposes". Articles 1, 2, 4, 9, 12, 19, and 49 contain provisions relating to "medical and scientific" use of controlled substances.
The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) (formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international treaty to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by the then newly formed Council of Europe, the convention entered into force on 3 September 1953. All Council of Europe member states are party to the Convention and new members are expected to ratify the convention at the earliest opportunity.
The Convention established the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Any person who feels his or her rights have been violated under the Convention by a state party can take a case to the Court. Judgements finding violations are binding on the States concerned and they are obliged to execute them.
NOTE: The provisions of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, terminate and replace the provisions of this Convention.
For historical purposes, the original French/English text of the 1925 Convention has been published here.
This Convention banned exportation of Indian Hemp to countries that have prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes." It also required Parties to "exercise an effective control of such a nature as to prevent the illicit international traffic in Indian Hemp and especially in the resin." These restrictions still left considerable leeway for countries to allow production, internal trade, and use of Cannabis for recreational purposes.