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Legalising Cannabis: Does not Decrease Crime Levels

The International Narcotics Control Council warned today that legalising cannabis for recreational use could lead to increased consumption, especially among young people, and will not reduce associated crime.

The warning came from the President of the International Council for Narcotics Control (INCB), Jagjit Pavadia, at the beginning of the agency’s annual report for 2022.

The study indicates that it analysed “in detail this trend among a small number of governments” and observed, “that the legalisation of cannabis can cause many negative effects on health, especially among young people.”

The agency points out that the non-medicinal use of the drug “violates the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,” which classifies it “as a highly addictive substance.”

According to the report, in jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalised for recreational use, there has been increased consumption of the substance, as well as an increase in effects against health and psychotic disorders and a negative impact on road safety.

“About 4% of the global population, around 209 million people, use cannabis (2020 data),” making it the “most widely used illicit drug in the world,” the report’s release statement said, adding that the cultivation of the plant has grown in the last decade and that the number of users has grown by 23%.

The use of the drug varies widely by region, but “it is predominately higher in North America, Oceania, and West Africa.”

The INCB also points out that legalisation results in a lower perception of the risk of its use and is particularly concerned about the expansion of the cannabis industry, which attractively markets drug-based products, especially to young people,” says Jagjit Pavadia.

On the other hand, the Council stresses that few reliable data are available on the impact of cannabis legalisation to draw meaningful conclusions and that the variety of models used makes it difficult to transfer datasets from one country to another and predictions about the successes or failures of possible legalisation.

It, therefore, recommends “a further study of the effects of cannabis use on individuals and societies before long-term binding decision-making.”

Samantha Gannon

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