The advent of regulated cannabis markets in Uruguay and some US states over the past few years has constituted a profound shock to the international drug control regime, with the differing views representing a fragmentation of the drug control regime. This has been largely met with a collective denial, not only in relation to cannabis but to Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS), the internet, access to essential medicines, the centrality of health and human rights in drug control, and the fast-approaching 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. The latter appears increasingly likely to provide a platform for confirming the existing system, and the opportunity for change it represents to be blocked by a bland, consensual validation of business as usual.

This position is largely reflected in the Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB or Board) for 2014. As always, the Report contains an impressive feat of data collection, synthesis and presentation, and is certainly to be commended on its new stance of opposition to the death penalty.

This IDPC report intends to offer an analysis of the INCB Annual Report for 2014, under four inter-related headings that examine the Presidents’ Foreword, the Board’s view on the ‘Implementation of a comprehensive, integrated and balanced approach to addressing the world drug problem’ as discussed in the thematic chapter, issues surrounding the Board’s position on human rights and its reaction to the continuing shifts in the policy landscape.

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