Every year, the United Nations’ (“UN”) drug division releases a drug report, offering policy recommendations regarding drug and drug use for its member nations. The 2021 World Drug Report, released by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (“UNODC”), has urged a global ban on cannabis advertising, promoting and sponsoring. According to the report, as more territories have legalized marijuana and THC potency has continually increased, the perception of the drug’s risks has reduced, especially among the youth.
A comprehensive ban on all forms of marijuana advertising is in the best interest of public health, the report states, and a ban would ensure that business interests follow guidelines to protect public health interests. Although such a proclamation would seem like a major blow to the young but swiftly growing cannabis industry, pundits say it is tacit recognition of the inevitability of legal cannabis by the prohibitionist body. Before the 2021 report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime’s standard policy on cannabis was that it should be prohibited, not regulated.
By giving its member nations tips on how to regulate the industry, which is one of the fastest-growing sectors in America, the UN is unofficially recognizing the popularity of cannabis reform and preparing for a future where legal cannabis markets will be the norm rather than the exception. As such, some players in the cannabis market feel that the UN’s recommendation to ban cannabis advertising is a positive development. According to UNODC, this ban would have to apply across “all jurisdictions,” and member nations would need to invest more in cannabis research.
Specifically, these funds would be used to research the negative effects of recreational cannabis use as well as the various medical conditions that are said to be treatable by cannabis. However, since the UN doesn’t have the authority to enforce a ban on cannabis advertising, the report’s recommendation is one that member nations are free to take up or ignore. The report compares such a ban to the provisions placed on tobacco by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
Steve Rolies, a senior policy analyst at Transforma Drug Policy Foundation, says the UN’s recommendation is an acknowledgement of the fact that cannabis legalization is inevitable. Comparing it to the ban on tobacco advertising shows that, although the division may not approve of the industry, it has accepted that there is no stopping the forward momentum and has decided to protect vulnerable individuals, especially the youth, from cannabis promotion.
Cannabis sector players from different jurisdictions, including Pac Roots Cannabis Corp. (CSE: PACR) (OTCQB: PACRF) (FSE: 4XM), are already operating under tight regulatory frameworks.
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