GDPO Quarterly News: January – April 2019
Early in February Khalid was busy attending a number of conferences and meetings, including Cannabis Europa in Paris and the 4th Brandenburg Forum on Drugs and Development Policies, in Liebenberg (Germany), as well as lecturing on the international drug control regime to a group of students from the state universities of Saint Petersburg and Moscow visiting Geneva as part of the programme of the Alexander Griboyedov Foundation. The beginning of the month also saw the first formal event organised by Cannabis Innovate, a new initiative built on a partnership between GDPO and Equinox International, with some activities undertaken in collaboration with the Transnational Institute. The Chatham House Rule workshop, ‘Fair Trade Options for the Cannabis Market’, was held in London 4-5th February and brought together about 25 academics and practitioners from the fields of international drug policy, fair trade and agrarian justice, and included colleagues from the Caribbean. From the equally tropical Swansea, the very successful and productive event was attended by Dave, Branwen Lloyd, our recently appointed project coordinator, and Martin Jelsma, GDPO Senior Research Associate and Director of the TNI Drugs and Democracy Programme. Later in the month, the focus of GDPO activity shifted to another important core project, Crypto Drug Markets. As part of the Department of Political and Cultural Studies seminar series, Martin Horton-Eddison presented ideas from his current research, ‘Regime Theory, Crypto-Drug Markets, & the ‘Post-State Concept: A Theoretical Discussion.’
As is normally the case, activities in March were dominated by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at the UN in Vienna, and this year, its High Level Ministerial Segment. The GDPO was active on several fronts. Along with the governments of Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, it co-organised a side-event on metrics: ‘Aligning Data Collection and the UNGASS Implementation and the Sustainable Development Goals: Recommendations for a Review of the Annual Report Questionnaire. Featuring speakers from the Governments of Switzerland, Canada and Mexico as well as the EMCDDA and IDPC, the well-attended event raised important and timely issues regarding the ARQ review process. As part of the Cannabis Innovate initiative, GDPO was also involved with a side-event organised by TNI and the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Including presentations from representatives from CARICOM and the government of Jamaica, the event saw Dave launch a new Cannabis Innovate Policy Report, Fair(er) Trade Options for the Cannabis Market, authored by Martin Jelsma, Sylvia Kay (TNI Agrarian and Environmental Justice project) and Dave. Meanwhile, Axel presented some of his own current research, ‘Tramadol: drug problem or medicrime’, at a side event titled ‘Researching Drugs and Development Policies: Understanding the Development Implications if Illicit Economies’ organised by the Government of Germany, the London School of Economics and Political Science, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit and the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage.
The panellists at the CARICOM Marijuana Commission and fair-trade options for the cannabis market side event.
The quarter was relatively busy in terms of publications, including newspaper OP-Eds of which Khalid authored three: Le Temps (Switzerland): Pour en finir avec la guerre contre les drogues, L’Economiste (Morocco): Cannabis: Le commerce international s’organise… sauf au Maroc, Der Standard (Austria): Zukunft internationaler Drogenpolitik: Koordination oder Irrelevanz?
Martin continued his association with Jane’s Intelligence Review, with his February article Response to Fentanyl Crisis Reflects Evolutions in Dark Web Policing (paywall) which highlighted an evolving law enforcment approach that increasingly prioritises intelligence-gathering and market management strategies.
Within the academic realm, Axel published, with Ernst Yorke, Folaju O. Oyebola and Samuel Anaja Otene, ‘Tramadol: a valuable treatment for pain in Ghana and Nigeria’, in Current Medical Research and Opinion and as sole author ‘Drug Problem or Medicrime? Distribution and Use of Falsified Tramadol Medication in Egypt and West Africa’ in the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development. The latter being the first edition of an excellent new open access journal from the LSE and guested edited by the GDPO’s Julia Buxton. In addition to the Fair(er) Trade Options for the Cannabis Market Policy Report mentioned above, the Observatory was also involved in the publication of a timely policy brief with WOLA and TNI, The WHO’s First-Ever Critical Review of Cannabis, as well as - with IDPC, SSRC, the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation and the International Peace Institute - the submission of a written contribution to the 50th session of the UN Statistical Commission.