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Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy
Canadian Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs
Volume 3 - Public Policy Options

Chapter 19 - The International Legal Environment



As we have seen in Chapters 5, 6 and 7, cannabis is widely used in every part of the world, does not have the harmful effects ascribed to it, and poses little risk to public health. Consequently, it in no way deserves to be included in the convention schedules that list what are supposed to be the most dangerous drugs. Cannabis even has therapeutic uses recognized by Canadian courts. For the above reasons, we recommend that Canada notify the international community of its intent to seek the declassification of cannabis as part of a public health approach that would include stringent monitoring and evaluation.


            The series of international agreements concluded since 1912 have failed to achieve their ostensible aim of reducing the supply of drugs.

            The international conventions constitute a two-tier system that regulates the synthetic substances produced by the North and prohibits the organic substances produced by the South, while ignoring the real danger which those substances represent to public health.

            When cannabis was included in the international conventions in 1925, there was no knowledge of its effects.

            The international classifications of drugs are arbitrary and do not reflect the level of danger those substances represent to health or to society.

            Canada should inform the international community of the conclusions of our report and officially request the declassification of cannabis and its derivatives.

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