Multinational Overview of Cannabis Production Regimes by Beau Kilmer, Kristy Kruithof, Mafalda Pardal, Jonathan P. Caulkins & Jennifer Rubin Cambridge, UK: RAND Corporation, 2013Document Number: RR-510-WODC, 80 pp. Online (grey literature). Price: Free: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR510.html
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2014
© 2014 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs
Drug and Alcohol Review
Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 111–112, January 2015
How to Cite
Shanahan, M. (2015), Multinational Overview of Cannabis Production Regimes by Beau Kilmer, Kristy Kruithof, Mafalda Pardal, Jonathan P. Caulkins & Jennifer Rubin Cambridge, UK: RAND Corporation, 2013Document Number: RR-510-WODC, 80 pp. Online (grey literature). Price: Free: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR510.html. Drug and Alcohol Review, 34: 111–112. doi: 10.1111/dar.12176
- Issue published online: 19 JAN 2015
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2014
The publication Multinational Overview of Cannabis Production Regimes from RAND Europe was commissioned by the Research and Documentation Centre of the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice and published in late 2013. This report was written by a several researchers from RAND with input from a wide range of individuals from relevant countries.
The report presents four-country case-studies of cannabis production for non-medical and non-scientific consumption and an overview of eight countries' cannabis production for medicinal and scientific purposes. One appeal of this report is that it can be read at two levels. For those who are interested in keeping up to date on the various international regimes for cannabis, this information is easily accessible. However, for those who are interested in such detail, a key strength of this report is the inclusion of references to the actual legal documents in the language of the country of interest. The details of legal statutes and regulations were translated and reported, making this report a useful historical source providing constitutional and legislative context for various cannabis production regimes.
The report is comprised of three chapters. The first chapter, the introduction, provides an overview of the relevant United Nations Conventions and documents the search strategy both for selecting the case-study countries and how relevant the information obtained was. The first chapter also includes definitions and descriptions of key concepts that are used throughout the report. Given the frequent conflation between terms such as depenalisation, decriminalisation and legalisation, clarifying these concepts is a necessity.
The second chapter describes cannabis production regimes for non-medical and non-scientific production in four case-study countries: Spain, Belgium, United States (Colorado and Washington) and Uruguay. Rich contextual, legal and constitutional information is provided for each. Two of these countries, Spain and Belgium, have Cannabis Social Clubs through which cannabis is grown for their members. In both countries, Cannabis Social Clubs have been the subject of criminal charges, and the debate continues in both countries as to whether they are strictly legal, but for the moment the clubs continue to exist. The US case study provides details on the federal policies and how they may affect those states that choose to legalise production. This is followed by a description of the regimes for the states of Colorado and Washington with a table providing highlights of the similarities and important differences between the two states, for example, Washington does not permit home production while in Colorado up to six plants can be grown for one's own consumption. Another interesting difference between the two states is whether or not local jurisdictions can choose to not allow cannabis retail, with Colorado allowing this and Washington state not doing so. Concluding this chapter is a description of the debate and context for the, at the time of writing the report, proposed laws for regulated production in Uruguay. The proposed legislation was quite restrictive in terms of who produces and the quantity that can be legally consumed per month.
Chapter three discusses cannabis production for medicinal or scientific purposes in eight countries (medical: Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, France and Israel; scientific: Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland) and where, if possible, this relates to the international treaties. What is clear from this section is that there is no single prototype for the production of medicinal cannabis and that the various countries appear to be addressing the issue of who can prescribe, obtain and produce cannabis according to their existing constitutional and legal frameworks.
In my view, it is the detailed contextual, legal and constitutional information that is provided that makes this review valuable. It is these details and their differences that illustrate, in part, how and why each country ended up with their respective regime and provide evidence as to why or why not such a regime may not work in another jurisdiction.
I have one small point of contention. It is understandable that the production in the Netherlands was not part of this review, as the report was commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice who presumably knows these details. However, for the wider audience, given the frequent citing of de facto legalisation of cannabis in the Netherlands, it would have been interesting to have a description of the existing production regimes in the Netherlands for non-medical and non-scientific purposes presented.
I would encourage all those who are interested in the legalisation of cannabis debate to read this report. For those who are interested in promoting legalisation, the presentation of the contextual, legal and constitutional milieu of each society are highly relevant and while there are lessons to learn from others, it is clear that all laws are not directly adoptable.