Wednesday, March 6, 2013

International Board says marijuana legalization runs counter to preventing substance abuse

Earlier this week, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent body made up of 13 members from different governments and the World Health Organization, released their Annual Report 2012.  In the Forward, the INCB President states:

"We note with concern, however, that in this debate, some declarations and initiatives have included proposals for the legalization and possession of drugs for non-medical and non-scientific use, that is, for "recreational" use, that would allow the cultivation and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes.  

Any such initiatives, if implemented, would violate the international drug control conventions and could undermine the noble objectives of the entire drug control system, which are to ensure the availability of drugs for medical purposes while preventing their abuse.  

Proponents of such initiatives ignore the commitment that all Governments have made to promote the health and well-being of their communities, and such initiatives run counter to the growing body of scientific evidence documenting the harm associated with drug abuse, including occasional use, particularly among young people during their formative years.  

Furthermore, such initiatives would create a false sense of security and would send a false message to the public, in particular children, regarding the health impact of abuse of drugs.  

Some have argued that these proposals would eliminate the illicit markets and organized crime associated with drugs of abuse.  Yet, even if such initiatives were implemented, organized criminal groups would get even more deeply involved, for instance by creating a black market for the illicit supply of newly legalized drugs to young people.  

To target the organized crime and violence associated with the illicit trade of drugs, the most effective tools is primary prevention of drug abuse, coupled with treatment and rehabilitation, and complemented by supply reduction measures, as provided for in the conventions."  

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