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Why WHO Needs a Radical Rethink of Its Draconian Approach to Cannabis

Cannabis is hugely popular. 182m people use cannabis across the world and, with this level of exposure, the way cannabis is regulated matters. As does the evidence of risks and benefits to health which underpins regulation.

Sometimes saying nothing is as telling as saying something. Silence can suggest retaining the status quo. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has been silent about the international regulatory controls on cannabis since its inception in 1935. The past 80 years have brought dramatic advances in scientific knowledge about cannabis, so it is odd that it has not provided updated advice about its legal status. 

Indeed, cannabis continues to be scheduled in the same legal category as morphine – despite opiates such as morphine being more harmful, as recent drug fatality data reveals.

Non-compliance with drug treaties

It is not surprising that many countries such as Uruguay, Portugal and many states in America now don’t comply with...

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