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Neil Boister

The UN Drug Conventions - the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Psychotropic Convention, the 1972 Protocol to the Single Convention and the 1988 UN Drug Trafficking Convention - regulate the global suppression of illicit drugs. This volume examines the provisions of these conventions that require states to adopt penal measures against drugs in their domestic law. Its introductory chapters explore the controversial application of drug prohibition by international society and the historical development of this policy through the penal provisions of the drug conventions. The substantive chapters investigate the various facets of the illicit drug control system created by these penal provisions: crimes and penalties; jurisdiction and extradition; general and specific forms of drug law enforcement co-operation; and the supervision of the system by the UN drug control organs. The conclusion offers a general critique of the system and makes suggestions about its future development.

Robin Geiß and Daniel Wisehart

The contribution analyses whether the un Drug Conventions still serve their original purpose, namely the furtherance of the health and welfare of mankind in the 21st century. To this end the contribution begins with an outline of how the un Drug Conventions aim to protect mankind’s health and welfare. On this basis it is inquired whether un Drug Conventions are somehow irreversibly imbued with a zero-tolerance approach that undermines the health and welfare of vulnerable groups on both ends of the supply chain respectively. Thus, with respect to the supply side the question is pursued whether the un Drug Conventions provisions on crop cultivation imperil the livelihoods of rural communities. With regard to the demand side it is examined whether the un Drug Conventions forestall the adoption of more liberal, i.e. non-punitive and health-oriented approaches towards illicit drug users. In a next step, the analysis turns to a long-standing and currently particularly prevalent criticism according to which the international drug control regime puts disproportionate pressure on so-called drug producing and drug transit States, while turning a blind eye on the so-called drug consuming States. In concluding, the contribution turns to the question how the international drug control system could be enhanced to better meet its proper goals of protecting mankind’s health and welfare.


Edited by Frauke Lachenmann, Tilmann J. Röder and Rüdiger Wolfrum

The Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (UNYB), founded in 1997, appears under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law. It has a three-tier structure: The first part, ‘The Law and Practice of the United Nations’, concentrates on the legal fundamentals of the UN, its Specialized Agencies and Programmes. The second part, ‘Legal Issues Related to the Goals of the United Nations’, analyzes achievements with regard to fulfilling the main objectives of the UN. The third part consists of an overview of the key developments at the UN for the reporting year. The UNYB addresses both scholars and practitioners, giving them insights into the workings, challenges and evolution of the UN.
The Yearbook is now available online. Learn more about the electronic product here:

Contributors: Yasser Abdelrehim, Pia Acconci, Lance Bartholomeusz, Hermann-Josef Blanke, Shane Chalmers, Benjamin Davy, Ulrike Davy, Eric De Brabandere, Georgios Dimitropoulos, Juan Camilo Fandiño-Bravo, Jeremy Farrall, Sophie Fink, Elisa Freiburg, Brian E. Frenkel, Robin Geiss, Ezequiel Heffes, Ronald Janse, Marcos D. Kotlik, Frauke Lachenmann, Lutz Leisering, Frédérique Lozanorios, Fruzsina Molnár-Gábor, Jessica Pressler, Tilmann J. Röder, Maximilian Spohr, Mindia Vashakmadze, Martin Wählisch, Edith Wagner, Astrid Wiik, Daniel Wisehart.

The Evolution and Modernisation of Treaty Regimes

The Contrasting Cases of International Drug Control and Environmental Regulation

David R. Bewley-Taylor and Malgosia Fitzmaurice

government to openly admit that moves by the Trudeau administration to establish a regulated for market the drug will result in the country ‘being in contravention of certain obligations related to cannabis under the UN drug conventions’ 69 seems likely to do much to influence the choices of other states

Fabio Spadi

article”. The Convention (hereinafter the 1988 UN Drug Convention) entered into force on 11 November 1990 and had, as of November 2005, 178 parties. For a commentary of Article 17 see United Nations, Commentary on the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Pyschotropic

Rick Lines and Damon Barrett

legalisation and the UN drug conventions, a refocusing on the principles of legal interpretation in treaty law could provide a common framework for interested parties to engage on questions of treaty evolution and reform. 1 International Opium Commission, ‘Report of the International Opium Commission


Kamal-Deen Ali

In Maritime Security Cooperation in the Guinea: Prospects and Challenges, Kamal-Deen Ali provides ground-breaking analyses of the maritime security situation in the Gulf of Guinea and its implications for shipping, energy security, sustainable fisheries as well as national and regional security. The book juxtaposes the growing strategic importance of the Gulf of Guinea against the rising insecurity in the maritime domain, especially from piracy. Ali points out key gaps in prevailing regional and international approaches to maritime security cooperation in the Gulf of Guinea and sets out several suggestions for combating piracy as well as other maritime security threats while effectively enhancing maritime security cooperation in the region.


Anne Imobersteg Harvey

Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988 UN Drug Convention or Vienna Convention). It was thought that if heads of criminal organisations could not be prosecuted for their involvement in illegal trafficking, corruption and murders, they could at least be charged for tax offences, as Al

Inter se Modification of the UN Drug Control Conventions

An Exploration of its Applicability to Legitimise the Legal Regulation of Cannabis Markets

Neil Boister and Martin Jelsma

Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, in May 2018, indeed acknowledged that Bill C-45 to regulate cannabis ‘will result in Canada contravening certain obligations related to cannabis under the three UN drug convention’. 8 ‘I think we need to be open about that’, she said, adding that the Canadian

Principled Noncompliance

Paving the Way for Cannabis Regulation under the International Drug Control Regime

Heather J Haase

obligations related to cannabis under the three UN drug conventions.” She added, “we have to be honest about that,” but stated that the bill was moving forward regardless. 103 On October 17, 2018, Canada became the first G7 country and the first major market to permit the use and sale of cannabis for