New book on controlling cannabis use
January 21, 2010
Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Benedikt Fischer is one of five co-authors of a new book that aims to provide policy makers with an all-they-need-to-know guide on effective and public-health oriented regulation of cannabis use in a global perspective.
As well as reviewing the health and psychological effects of marijuana use and evaluating the effectiveness of current prohibition systems, Cannabis Policy: Moving beyond Stalemate assesses current and proposed alternative options for controlling cannabis use in select jurisdictions.
Oxford University Press will publish the book on Thursday, Jan. 21.
The book evaluates:
- The health hazards of cannabis, also relative to other drugs.
- Patterns and trends in cannabis use, the size and character of illicit markets, and the administration of current policies, including arrests and diversion to treatment, under current global regimes.
- The experiences of several countries that have tried reforming their cannabis control regimes by “softening” prohibition use or personal supply.
- Changes in penalties for possession and trafficking of cannabis, including evaluating the success of depenalization, decriminalization, medical control and different types of legalization.
- The drawbacks of current legal measures for controlling cannabis use.
Fischer is a widely published professor and CIHR/PHAC Research Chair in Applied Public Health who also directs SFU’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA).
He says, “We’re presenting a comprehensive and up-to-date review of relevant evidence including not readily available information. The book offers essential data regarding cannabis use, health and control to decision makers who are seeking to align policy approaches to cannabis use with principles of public health and do so on the basis of scientific evidence.
“For Canada, this book has particular and acute relevance, as we have some of the highest cannabis use rates in the world and current prohibition laws appear to be both ineffective and counterproductive.”
Other co-authors of the book are four pre-eminent public health, addiction and criminology scholars from Australia and the U.S. The book project was coordinated and supported by the Beckley Foundation, London (U.K.). Funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Canada’s agency for health research, in part supported Professor Fischer’s contribution to the book.