Cannabis and the Psychedelics: Reviewing the UN Drug Conventions

Book chapter in Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use, pp 189-210

Author: Amanda Feilding

Editors: Beatriz Caiuby Labate and Clancy Cavnar

Year: 2013


The current international prohibitionist approach to the regulation of psychoactive drugs causes serious harms. It creates an illicit market that is responsible for conflict and corruption; denies medication to the world’s poorest; and impedes scientific research into the potential benefits of psychoactive substances. Moreover, it undermines the personal and societal benefit of allowing people to do things that they value, so long as they do not harm others. At the heart of the problem lie the three UN Drug Conventions, which mandate a one-size-fits-all criminalizing approach on all parties. The work of the Beckley Foundation’s Global Cannabis Commission, and a new Beckley Foundation Report on reforming the UN Drug Conventions, spell out how countries—acting alone or, better, in concert with other like-minded nations—could work within the framework of international law in order to implement drug policies that better meet their own special needs and circumstances. Recent initiatives for reform, emanating mostly from the drug-producing and transit countries of Latin America, provide encouraging signs that progress is within our grasp.

You can purchase the whole book Prohibition, Religious Freedom, and Human Rights: Regulating Traditional Drug Use from Amazon, or a separate chapter from Springer.

Labate_Prohibition 2014