International Opium Convention

The expression International Opium Convention refers either to the first International Opium Convention signed at The Hague in 1912, or to the second International Opium Convention signed at Geneva in 1925.

First International Opium Convention (1912)Edit

1912 Opium Convention
Hague Opium Convention
International Opium Convention signed at The Hague, January 23rd, 1912, and Protocols of cloture signed at The Hague on January 23rd, 1912; July 9th, 1913; and June 25th, 1914.
Signed23 January 1912[1]
LocationThe Hague
Effective28 June 1919[2]
Expiration13 December 1964[3]

In 1909, a 13-nation International Opium Commission was held in Shanghai, in response to increasing criticism of the opium trade and to the opium wars. A few years later, in 1912, the First International Opium Conference was convened in The Hague to continue the discussions initiated in Shanghai.

The International Opium Convention (or 1912 Opium Convention) which was signed at the end of the Hague Conference, on 23 January 1912, is considered as the first international drug control treaty. It was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on January 23, 1922.[4] The treaty was signed by Germany, the United States, China, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Persia, Portugal, Russia, and Siam. The Convention provided, "The contracting Powers shall use their best endeavours to control, or to cause to be controlled, all persons manufacturing, importing, selling, distributing, and exporting morphine, cocaine, and their respective salts, as well as the buildings in which these persons carry such an industry or trade."

The Convention was implemented in 1915 by the United States, Netherlands, China, Honduras, and Norway. It went into force globally in 1919, when it was incorporated into the Treaty of Versailles. The primary objective of the convention was to introduce restrictions on exports; it did not entail any prohibition or criminalisation of the uses and cultivation of opium poppy, the coca plant, or cannabis.

Second International Opium Convention (1925)Edit

1925 Opium Convention
Geneva Opium Convention
International Convention, Adopted by the Second Opium Conference (League of Nations), and Protocol relating thereto. Signed at Geneva, February j9, 1925.
Signed19 February 1925[5]
LocationThe Hague
Expiration13 December 1964[6]

In 1925, a Second International Opium Conference was convened in Geneva. On this occasion, a second International Opium Convention (the International Convention relating to Dangerous Drugs or 1925 Opium Convention) was signed at Geneva on 19 February 1925. It went into effect on 25 September 1928, and was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on the same day.[7][8] It introduced a statistical control system to be supervised by a Permanent Central Opium Board, a body partly linked to the League of Nations.

Permanent Central Opium BoardEdit

The 1925 Convention provided for the setting up of a Permanent Central Opium Board (PCOB). It started operating in 1928. Although a treaty-mandated body, theoretically independent from the League of Nations, it became partially-integrated into the structure of the League.[9][10]

The PCOB was first known as the Permanent Central Opium Board, then as the Permanent Central Narcotics Board. It is sometimes referred to as Permanent Central Board.[11]

In 1931 the Board was supplemented by the creation of another organ under the "Limitation Convention": the Drug Supervisory Body ("Organe de Contrôle") which, together with the PCOB, was eventually merged onto the International Narcotics Control Board in 1968.

Cannabis in the 1925 ConventionEdit

Egypt, with support from Italy and South Africa, recommended that measures of control be extended beyond opium and cocaine derivatives, to hashish. A sub-committee was created, and proposed the following text:

The use of Indian hemp and the preparations derived therefrom may only be authorized for medical and scientific purposes. The raw resin (charas), however, which is extracted from the female tops of the cannabis sativa L, together with the various preparations (hashish, chira, esrar, diamba, etc.) of which it forms the basis, not being at present utilized for medical purposes and only being susceptible of utilisation for harmful purposes, in the same manner as other narcotics, may not be produced, sold, traded in, etc., under any circumstances whatsoever.

India and other countries objected to this language, citing social and religious customs and the prevalence of wild-growing cannabis plants that would make it difficult to enforce. A compromise[12] was made that banned exportation of Indian hemp to countries that have prohibited its use, and requiring importing countries to issue certificates approving the importation and stating that the shipment was required "exclusively for medical or scientific purposes." It also required Parties to "exercise an effective control of such a nature as to prevent the illicit international traffic in Indian hemp and especially in the resin." These restrictions still left considerable leeway for countries to allow production, internal trade, and use of cannabis for recreational purposes.[13]

The Opium Conventions after Second World WarEdit

After the second world war, the two Opium Conventions were amended to transfer the mandates and functions of the League of Nations and the Office international d'hygiène publique to the United Nations and World Health Organization. Eventually, both the 1912 and the 1925 Conventions were superseded by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which merged the Permanent Central Opium Board and the Drug Supervisory Body onto the INCB.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection; CHAPTER VI, NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES; 2. International Opium Convention, The Hague, 23 January 1912". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  2. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection; CHAPTER VI, NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES; 2. International Opium Convention, The Hague, 23 January 1912". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  3. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection; CHAPTER VI, NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES; 15. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  4. ^ League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 8, pp. 188–239.
  5. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection; CHAPTER VI NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES 5. International Opium Convention Geneva, 19 February 1925". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  6. ^ "United Nations Treaty Collection; CHAPTER VI, NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES; 15. Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961". treaties.un.org. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
  7. ^ League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 81, pp. 318–358.
  8. ^ The beginnings of international drug control
  9. ^ McAllister, William B. (2000). Drug Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century – An international history. New-York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-17990-4.
  10. ^ Renborg, B. A. (1957). International Control of Narcotics. Law and Contemporary Problems, 22(1 Narcotics), 86–112. https://scholarship.law.duke.edu/lcp/vol22/iss1/7
  11. ^ UN (1999): "Evolution of international drug control, 1945-1995" Bulletin on Narcotics, Vol. LI, Nos. 1 and 2 Archived 2006-01-13 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ W.W. WILLOUGHBY: OPIUM AS AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM, BALTIMORE, THE JOHNS HOPKINS PRESS, 1925
  13. ^ The cannabis problem: A note on the problem and the history of international action Archived 2005-05-26 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit