Fields Of Green For All would like to give thanks for our membership and ECOSOC status to the NY and NGO committees as well as our affiliation with the IDPC. We always get invited to observe their events and reports, and so we tuned in on 28 June 2022 to see the release of the 2022 World Drug Report.
According to the UN the report provides an in-depth analysis of global drug markets and examines the connection between drugs and the environment within the bigger picture of the Sustainable Development Goals, climate change and environmental sustainability. It is aimed not only at fostering greater international cooperation to counter the impact of the world drug problem on health, governance and security, but also, with its special insights, at assisting Member States in anticipating and address-ing threats from drug markets and mitigating their consequences.
The United Nations Office On Drugs And Crime (UNODOC) hosted this global event to launch the report, of which all five parts are downloadable here.
It quickly became clear which countries had done their homework on the science and evidence behind drugs, and which countries are going on prohibitionist notions such as perceived harm, dogma and outdated beliefs that have been proven false.
Cannabis was mentioned more than any other substance. Canada and Uruguay reported in their interventions that although it is early days, their legalisation models have so far not resulted in any noticeable uptick in negative consequences, but instead listed all the positive social and economic results they achieved. In contrast, countries like Turkey, Russia and Egypt displayed outdated ideas, gross ignorance, ulterior motives and bad preparation for their interventions.
Overall the report indicates that post pandemic indoor cultivation is on the increase, which is bad for the environment. This should not concern South Africa which has so much sunshine that we really would remain better off focusing on outdoor and green house cultivation. Trafficking trends (which is a terrible term to use for a domestic product like Cannabis!) in Africa was hard to establish since we are not a first world country.
Decriminalisation is defined by INCB as “the process through which an offence is reclassified from “criminal” to “non-criminal” through legislative action”; while the behaviour remains an offence, it may be addressed through other means than criminal law.iii” – Clearly Dagga is NOT decriminalised and is still illegal in South Africa (except for in private spaces, an increasingly unenforceable and pointless rule).
Although the report tries to at least be honest and truthful, it still contains phrases like “As more people use cannabis, the likelihood of their suffering medical and health consequences also increases”, which is the same as saying more rain will result in more water on the ground, while ignoring the fact that rain will always be there and brings lots of positive effects with it also. What about the benefits of Cannabis? Not much of that is mentioned.
Although the general misguided interventions of most countries do not concern us, we have to look at the overall global picture, and that is that wherever Cannabis regulations are eased and the public are given legal access, the sky does not fall. It simply gets higher.