High Compliance, a Lex Lata Legalization for the Non-Medical Cannabis Industry: How to Regulate Recreational Cannabis in Accordance with the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961
Riboulet-Zemouli K. (2022). High compliance, a lex lata legalization for the non-medical cannabis industry: How to regulate recreational cannabis in accordance with the Single Convention on narcotic drugs, 1961. Paris and Washington, DC: FAAAT editions. ISBN: 979-10-97087-23-4 (pdf). faaat.net/highc
142 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2022
Date Written: March 14, 2022
In the current legal landscape, it is possible to craft policy that combats drug abuse and drug harms, protects human rights, and complies with international drug control law in good faith, by regulating the recreational uses of cannabis products rather than outlawing them. This essay proposes exactly that solution. The international drug control Conventions establish the international legal regime for cannabis, but they are silent on “recreational” or “adult use.” However, they do include broad exemptions in the case of “other than medical and scientific uses in the context of industry.” They are not prohibition treaties, but Framework Conventions on the Control of Some Medicines within the Medical and Pharmaceutical Sectors. Shortcomings in the history of the drug control Conventions, and the current hegemony of one particular interpretation (articulated around prohibition), may have impacted our interpretive frames and discouraged legal scholarship from the study of these exemptions for non-medical uses, purposefully added in the treaty. Via an applicatory contestation of the Conventions reliant on classical methods of treaty interpretation, this essay underlines the relevance of these exemptions in the context of domestic “cannabis legalization” efforts. The legal scheme which applies to the Cannabis plant and its derivatives is two-fold: (1) activities related to medical and scientific purposes are under control, (2) activities for “other than medical and scientific purposes” are exempt from control, provided that two requirements are met: implement effective measures to avoid harms & provide reasonable statistical reporting to the INCB. This existing, good faith, legitimate international legal regime for adult-use cannabis opens an alternative pathway for decision-makers, appeasing rule tension and rerouting international relations on Cannabis matters onto less conflictual tracks.
Keywords: Cannabis, international law, treaty interpretation, drug control, 1961 Single Convention, recreational use, non-medical use, abuse, compliance, intertemporal rule, international relations
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation