7. Bewley-Taylor D., Jelsma M., Barrett D. Fatal Attraction:
Brownﬁeld’s ﬂexibility doctrine and global drug policy
reform. Huffpost, The Blog, 18 January 2015. Available at:
reform_b_6158144.html (accessed 1 December 2017)
(Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/6wB8pwVuW on
2 January 2018)
8. Graham L. Legalizing marijuana in the shadows of interna-
tional Law: the Uruguay, Colorado, and Washington models.
Wisconsin Int Law J 2015; 33:140–66.
9. Bennett W., Walsh J. Marijuana legalization is an opportunity
to modernize international drug treaties. October 2014.
Washington DC: Center for Effective Public Management at
Brookings. Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/wp-con-
1 December 2017) (Archived at http://www.webcitation.
org/6wB9716j1 on 2 January 2018).
10. United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. Report
of the International Narcotics Control Board for 2016. United
Nations: New York; 2017.
11. Lord Carlile of Berriew, CBE, QC, Clarke S. The UN drug
conventions: room for ﬂexibility, Legal Opinion commissioned
by UK All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform.
London, UK: UK Parliament; December 2013.
12. Bewley-Taylor D., Jelsma M., Rolles S., Walsh J. Cannabis
Regulation and the UN Drug Treaties. Strategies for Reform.
Transnational Institute et al., June 2016. Available at:
202016_web%20(1).pdf (accessed 1 December 2017)
(Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/6wB9EDmpe on 2
13. Boister N. Waltzing on the Vienna Consensus on drug control?
Tensions in the international system for the control of drugs.
Leiden J Int Law 2016; 29:389–409.
14. Arp B. Denunciation followed by re-accession with reserva-
tions to a treaty: a critical appraisal of contemporary state
practice. Netherlands Int Law Rev 2014; 91:141–65.
15. Hoffman S. J., Habibi R. International legal barriers to
Canada’s marijuana plans. Commentary. Can Med Assoc J,
16 May 2016. Available at: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/
early/2016/05/16/cmaj.160369 (accessed 1 December
2017) (Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/6wB9LnPki
on 2 January 2018).
16. Barrett D., Lines R. An Important Discussion at a key
Moment, but Hoffman and Habibi’s article is inaccurate.
Letter. Can Med Assoc J, 25 May 2016. Available at: http://
habibis-article-is-inaccurate (accessed 2 January 2018)
(Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/6wB9fMS5k on 2
17. Cain P. Legal pot next year means leaving UN treaties by July 1
—but the Liberals won’t say what their plan is. Global News,
11 May 2017. Available at: https://globalnews.ca/news/
1 December 2017) (Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/
6wB9plPFP on 2 January 2018).
18. Blickman T. Cannabis policy reform in Europe. Bottom up
rather than top down. Series on legislative Reform of
Drug Policies, no. 28. Amsterdam: Transnational Institute,
December 2014. Available at: http://www.druglawreform.
info/images/stories/documents/dlr28.pdf (accessed 1
December 2017) (Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/
6wB9wEIOM on 2 January 2018).
19. World Health Organizaion Expert Committee on Drug
Dependence. Available at: http://www.who.int/medicines/ac-
cess/controlled-substances/ecdd/en/ (accessed 1 December
2017) (Archived at http://www.webcitation.org/
6wBAKMTvM on 2 January 2018).
THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG CONVENTIONS
CONTINUE TO PROVIDE A FLEXIBLE
FRAMEWORK TO ADDRESS THE DRUG
The international drug conventions continue to provide a
ﬂexible framework to address the drug problem within an
approach based on the principle of shared responsibility.
The paper by Hall  outlines some major criticisms of
the international drug control treaties, particularly its
use in justifying draconian enforcement policies. Hall’s
analysis of a number of radical proposals for reform
concludes by identifying the challenges of treaty change
as a main obstacle to implementing some of these
The international drug control system is based on three
Conventions; the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of
1961, as amended by the 1972 protocol; the Convention
on Psychotropic Substances of 1971; and the United Na-
tions Convention against illicit trafﬁcinnarcoticdrugs
and psychotropic substances of 1988. The preambles of
all three Conventions underscore a common key driving
force, a concern for ‘the health and welfare of mankind’
 and the desire to make drugs (‘narcotics’ and ‘psycho-
tropic substances’ as per the Conventions) available for
medical and scientiﬁc purposes including for clinical trials,
while preventing their diversion and abuse. We may note
that the medical use of drugs in the Conventions is not con-
ﬁned to western medical practices, and also encompasses
other medical systems such as the Ayurvedic, Unani and
Tibbi systems [3,4]. In addition, as envisaged in the Con-
ventions, the meaning of the term ‘medical purposes’ may
change in accordance with the evolution of medical science
and would be based on the current scientiﬁc evidence .
The criticism that the Conventions provide a basis for
justifying draconian approaches to enforcement does not
hold water, considering that they do not impose an obliga-
tion on signatory countries to incarcerate drug users for
consuming drugs or committing minor offences. Rather,
they recognize that ‘drug addiction is often the result of
an unwholesome social atmosphere in which those who
are most exposed to the danger of drug abuse live’ . Fur-
ther, the use of drugs is not identiﬁed explicitly as a punish-
able offence, leaving it to each country to decide whether
© 2018 Society for the Study of Addiction Addiction, 113,1224–1230