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|Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy|
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|Volume 3 - Public Policy Options|
Chapter 19 - The International Legal Environment
Even though the U.S. had chosen not to join the League of Nations, its influence in international drug control matters remained strong. Worried by the 1912 Hague Convention’s limited effect on the smuggling of opium and, increasingly, drugs manufactured in East Asia, the U.S. pressured the League to convene a new conference. The League feared that if it did not comply, the U.S. might act independently.
Between November 1924 and February 1925, two back-to-back conferences were held, and two separate treaties were concluded. The first Geneva Convention focused on opium-producing nations; signatories were permitted to sell opium only through government-run monopolies and were required to end the trade completely within 15 years.
The second Geneva Convention, the International Opium Convention (1925 Geneva Convention), was intended to impose global controls over a wider range of drugs, including, for the first time, cannabis, which was referred to as “Indian hemp” (marijuana) in Article 11 of the Convention. Articles 21 to 23 required Parties to provide annual statistics on drug stocks and consumption; the production of raw opium and coca; and the manufacture and distribution of heroin, morphine and cocaine. Chapter VI replaced the OCB with an eight-member Permanent Central Opium Board (PCOB). Chapter V of the second Convention set up a PCOB-monitored import certification system to control the international drug trade by limiting the amount that each country could legally import.
1912 Hague Convention had focused on domestic controls, the Geneva Conventions
were an attempt to improve transnational control. The U.S. had proposed strict
adherence to the principle that drugs should be used only for medical and
scientific purposes and that there should be stringent controls on drug production
at the source. When these proposals were flatly rejected at the second
conference, the U.S. delegation walked out of the conference and never signed
the treaties. The Chinese delegation withdrew as well, because no agreement
could be reached on the suppression of opium smoking. Instead, the two countries
concentrated on enforcing the 1912 Hague Convention.
McAllister (2000), page 50-51.
Agreement concerning the
Manufacture of, Internal Trade in, and Use of Prepared Opium, done 11
February 1925, in force 28 July 1926.
Done 19 February 1925; in force 25 September 1928.
The PCOB was intended to be impartial and politically disinterested, but
its operations remain extremely political to this day (it still exists). Since
its inception, its membership has always included a representative from
Britain, the U.S. and France. (McAllister (2000), page 83)
Bruun et al. (1975), page 14.
Schaffer Library of Drug Policy
Major Studies of Drug and Drug Policy
Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding - The Report of the US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
Licit and Illicit Drugs
Short History of the Marijuana Laws
The Drug Hang-Up
Congressional Transcripts of the Hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
Frequently Asked Questions About Drugs
Basic Facts About the Drug War
Charts and Graphs about Drugs
Information on Alcohol
Guide to Heroin - Frequently Asked Questions About Heroin
LSD, Mescaline, and Psychedelics
Drugs and Driving
Children and Drugs
Drug Abuse Treatment Resource List
American Society for Action on Pain
Let Us Pay Taxes
Marijuana Business News
Reefer Madness Collection
Medical Marijuana Throughout History
Drug Legalization Debate
Legal History of American Marijuana Prohibition
Marijuana, the First 12,000 Years
DEA Ruling on Medical Marijuana
Legal References on Drugs
GAO Documents on Drugs
Response to the Drug Enforcement Agency
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