Plants, Psychoactive Substances and the International Narcotics Control Board: The Control of Nature and the Nature of Control

Human Rights and Drugs, Volume 2, No. 1, 2012

12 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2014

See all articles by Kenneth Tupper

Kenneth Tupper

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Beatriz Labate

Heidelberg University

Date Written: January 1, 2012

Abstract

This article reviews and critiques the International Narcotic Control Board’s (INCB) 2010 Annual Report’s recommendation about plant materials containing psychoactive substances. It first provides an overview of the United Nations drug control system, then contextualises the INCB’s role in the UN system. Through a reading of the text of the INCB’s 2010 Report and references to contemporary practices of ayahuasca drinking based in field work, the article shows how this Report fits into the international paradigm of the war on drugs and its conflicts with human rights. It is argued that the Board’s recommendation demonstrates an unwarranted attempt to extend the scope of its powers, conflates and thus misrepresents widely diverse plant materials and their effects, fails to distinguish between ‘use’ and ‘abuse’ of psychoactive substances and appears to assume that particular elements of culture — specifically, traditions involving psychoactive substance use — are, or should be, static, eternally frozen in time and place.

Keywords: drug control, ayahuasca, war on drugs, drug policy, human rights, psychoactive substances, cultural rights, indigenous peoples

Suggested Citation

Tupper, Kenneth and Labate, Beatriz, Plants, Psychoactive Substances and the International Narcotics Control Board: The Control of Nature and the Nature of Control (January 1, 2012). Human Rights and Drugs, Volume 2, No. 1, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2425126

Kenneth Tupper (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

Beatriz Labate

Heidelberg University ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

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