The use of punishments such as incarceration for those involved in the illicit drug trade has long been relied upon a deterrent. However, it has resulted in the imposition of disproportionate sentencing (including the use of the death penalty) and overcrowded prisons, with high risks to health, social cohesion and human rights. Some countries and jurisdictions are now moving towards decriminalisation, alternatives to prison and the regulation of some markets.
This paper shows that arrests for drug use and drug possession for personal consumption actually amount to a very small margin of drug seizures although they represent more than one-third of recorded arrests.
The criminalisation of drug use disproportionately affects racial minorities and marginalised communities. A regulation framework for cannabis should take this into account to avoid recreating these same inequities.