In its 2022 Annual Report, the United Nations’ International Narcotics Board (INCB) criticized global cannabis legalization reforms, saying legalization “is leading to higher consumption, negative health effects and psychotic disorders.”
The report claims that cannabis legalization leads to higher use rates among teens and young adults and that “general availability of legalized cannabis products lowers the perception of risk and of the negative consequences involved in using them.”
“The expanding cannabis industry is marketing cannabis-related products to appeal to young people,” INCB President Jagjit Pavadia said in a statement, “and this is a major cause for concern as is the way the harms associated with using high-potency cannabis products are being played down.”
The INCB also claims that in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, cannabis-related health problems have increased. The report suggests that between 2000 and 2018, global medical admissions related to cannabis dependence and withdrawal increased eight-fold while admissions for cannabis-related psychotic disorders have quadrupled worldwide.
The body further claims that governments’ objectives in legalizing cannabis – to reduce criminal activities and increase public health and safety – have not been achieved, suggesting that in Canada, 40% of the market is illegal cannabis, 50% in Uruguay, and 75% in California.
The board notes that adult-use cannabis legalization violates drug conventions and suggests those conventions “offer significant flexibility” for “governments looking for alternative solutions regarding cannabis offenses.”
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