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Legalizing Cannabis Fails to Address Health Risks, UN Says

Legalizing Cannabis Fails to Address Health Risks: UN Says
Legalizing Cannabis Fails to Address Health Risks: UN Says. Credit: Dominic Milton Trott / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has warned about the negative health effects and psychotic disorders caused by the increased recreational use of cannabis. The INCB cited data indicating that in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, there has been an increase in cannabis-related health problems.

The trend also contravenes the UN 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and the analysis showed that between the years 2000 and 2018, there was an eightfold rise in the number of worldwide medical admissions attributable to cannabis dependency and withdrawal.

The number of people seeking treatment for psychotic illnesses linked to cannabis use has increased by a factor of four globally. The study also called attention to the rise in the manufacturing of cocaine and the trafficking of the drug.

Cannabis Industry’s Advertising Strategies Targeting Young People

The INCB also raised concern over the advertising strategies that the cannabis business uses to target young people. The survey underlined that the industry’s methods have led to a “trivialization” of the repercussions of cannabis usage, particularly among younger demographics.

The report noted that new cannabis-based products, including “edibles” and vaping products marketed in eye-catching packaging, have increased the trend.

Demand For Concentrated International Action

The President of the INCB, Jagjit Pavadia, has expressed his concern about the way in which the dangers associated with the use of high-potency cannabis products are being played down.

The study issues a demand for coordinated international action to combat the opioid overdose pandemic, and issues a warning that the distribution of fentanyl and other potentially lethal opioids is spreading to Oceania.

The research also notes the move toward more cocaine processing activities in Europe, highlighting the fact that six of the 15 cocaine processing facilities uncovered worldwide in 2017 were based in Europe.

“High levels of (cocaine) purity have become available at cheaper prices,” said the UN body.

Lookout For the Trafficking of Chemicals

INCB Member States have been warned to be on the lookout for an increase in the trafficking of precursor chemicals, which are substances that are used in the production of illicit narcotics.

The research documented a significant increase in the quantity of “precursor” chemicals being seized in 67 nations across five continents. These compounds are utilized in the manufacturing of illicit narcotics.

In accordance with the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which was adopted in Vienna on December 19, 1988, the report urges countries to implement measures to regulate and keep track of the legal trade in drug precursors in order to prevent the illegal use of these substances.

The INCB’s annual report highlights the need for global efforts to tackle the challenges posed by the illegal drug industry. It also draws attention to the inequalities between countries regarding access to opioid-based pain relief drugs, and calls for global action to address the opioid overdose epidemic.

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