I have spent quite a long time trying to get my head around the legislation that has led to cannabis prohibition & the reason why as 2014 draws to a close, it is still illegal here in Aotearoa/NZ to cultivate, possess or ingest the cannabis plant for either medicinal or recreational purposes..
To state it briefly (not being a trained legal ‘expert’) NZ is a signatory to the ‘UN single convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961’ & to further amendments in 1972 & 1988. BUT the opening preamble to the original 1961 convention does give clear exemption to MEDICINAL & Scientific uses. Further ‘hoops’ were added later ‘to jump through’, claiming that as it was in schedule 1, it had very little therapeutic or medicinal value, which attempted to tighten up medicinal use. BUT it is still legal & always has been (according to my research) to use it for genuine medicinal purposes.
Recreational use is harder to determine.. article 4 (general obligations) does talk about limiting it to Medicinal & Scientific purposes.. which seems to excluded all other options. Article 22 talks about ‘protecting public health & welfare’ but does not mention that the subsequent black-market (that resulted from it) is probably more harmful to the public & their welfare.
BUT I now look at the current situation with an increasing number of countries (excluding Zero-tolerance Aotearoa/NZ) that are openly defying the hardline of the conventions & allowing ‘coffeeshops’ (Holland) & pubic dispensaries (USA & others in EU & Sth America), Smoking clubs & collectives & even regulated cultivation & marketing (as in Colorado & Washington USA) to other levels of decriminalisation : Australian states, medicinal use in 23 USA States etc. & now Portugal that has effectively decriminalised all drugs & Uruguay that has introduced a fully regulated LEGAL market for cannabis. There are other countries that still drive the hardest of zero-tolerance & even still use the death penalty for dealing in Opiates & Amphetamines (class A).. but its obvious that public opinion in many nations is moving away from this.. including several USA presidents that seem to advocate for varying levels of law reform too.
So I wonder is it time to invoke article 46 of the convention (DENUNCIATION).. is it time to fully denounce it & start again.. with a rational more up-to-date version that gives countries a wider scope of options than just ‘Prohibition’ ?
I read that in the days leading up to the convention.. many nations were confused about why cannabis was even being included as a ‘Narcotic Drug’. Many (including UK) did not see the ‘apparent effects’ of : Insanity, violence, gateway to ‘hard drugs’ etc. that other countries in the middle east BUT especially USA (under Harry Anslinger) were fervently pushing/claiming !
I read that there is to be an UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session) to review the convention in 2016.. but I think many fear it will just result in ‘more of the same !’
I think that globally.. ALL activists need to start rattling the ‘political cages’ & demanding their Govts. do NOT say ‘Yes’ to the status quo !!!