Evolution in 1952 of National Legislations on Narcotics

Sections

1948 Protocol
1953 Protocol2

Details

Pages: 69 to 72
Creation Date: 1954/01/01

OFFICIAL

Evolution in 1952 of National Legislations on Narcotics

The Secretary-General regularly issues an Annual Summary of Laws and Regulations relating to the control of narcotic drugs. The last Summary (document E/NL.1952/Summary-November 1953) is based on texts of laws communicated by governments between 31 May 1952 and 1 August 1953.[1]

Much of the material is concerned with routine steps taken by governments to implement the provisions of the international conventions on narcotic drugs. The legislations show in general the same trends as could be observed in earlier years. Such factors as new synthetic developments and new international narcotic treaties continue to guide the course of governmental action and tend to create an increasing similarity of national legislation in this field. The points which seem to present a special interest are:

  1. The consolidation of legislation on narcotic drugs in eight countries and territories has resulted in enlarging the lists of controlled drugs and in tightening the machinery of control.

  2. The extension of national control to synthetic narcotic drugs, which have been brought under international control through the application of the 1948 Protocol, has continued to engage the attention of the legislative and executive branches of the governments in a number of States, including some which have not yet become parties to the 1948 Protocol.

While the summaries for 1949, 1950 and 1951 gave, respectively, 22, 32 and 26 countries as having subjected one or more of the synthetic narcotic drugs to national control, the present Summary gives 35 countries.

Of the 114 States and territories to which the 1948 Protocol applies, 10 have subjected to national control all the synthetic drugs covered by the international treaties and 80 have subjected to control one or more of these drugs; pethidine and methadone being controlled in the largest number of countries.

  1. Several laws show a medical approach to the problem of drug addiction. Drug addicts or habitual "drug users" are made subject to compulsory medical treatment. Procedure for commitment of the addicts to hospitals or institutions authorized for the treatment of "disease or inebriety of drug addiction" is outlined in detail in two of these laws.

  1. India and Pakistan have extended total prohibition of opium smoking to certain parts, while subjecting opium smoking to control in others. Opium smoking assemblies are prohibited in India, in Jammu and Kashmir and in Pakistan. In Malaya, opium smoking and the keeping and frequenting of opium dens are absolutely prohibited.

  2. A number of laws provide measures for preventing the escape of drugs into illicit channels on both the wholesale and retail levels by application of: (1) systems of licensing the transferring, storing and marketing of narcotics drugs, and (2) systems of reporting and recording, together with verification of medical prescriptions.

As far as new accessions to the narcotic treaties are concerned the following should be noted:

1948 Protocol

Instruments of acceptance were deposited with the Secretary-General on behalf of:

Greece
(29 July 1952),
Ireland
(11 August 1952),
Pakistan
(27 August 1952),
Luxembourg
(17 October 1952),
Switzerland
(18 March 1953).

1953 Protocol[2]

First, the Protocol has been signed by:

Cambodia
29 December 1953
Canada
23 December 1953
Chile
9 July 1953
China
18 September 1953
Costa Rica
16 October 1953
Denmark
23 June 1953
Dominican Republic
23 June 1953
Egypt
23 June 1953
Ecuador
23 June 1953
Federal Republic of Germany
23 June 1953
France
23 June 1953
Greece
23 June 1953
India
23 June 1953
Iran
15 December 1953
Iraq
29 December 1953
Israel
30 December 1953
Italy
23 June 1953
Japan
23 June 1953
Lebanon
11 November 1953
Liechtenstein
23 June 1953
Monaco
26 June 1953
Netherlands
30 December 1953
New Zealand
28 December 1953
Pakistan
3 December 1953
Panama
28 December 1953
Philippines
23 June 1953
Republic of Korea
23 June 1953
Spain
22 October 1953
Switzerland
23 June 1953
Turkey
28 December 1953
Union of South Africa
29 December 1953
United Kingdom and Northern Ireland
23 June 1953
United States of America
23 June 1953
Venezuela
30 December 1953
Viet-Nam
23 June 1953
Yugoslavia
24 June 1953

Second, the following countries have ratified the Protocol:

Canada
7 May 1954
China
25 May 1954
Denmark
20 July 1954
Egypt
8 March 1954
France
21 April 1954
India
30 April 1954
Japan
21 July 1954
Panama
13 April 1954

Two laws appear to be of special interest to the readers of the Bulletin and, therefore, will be presented here. The first is the Statute of the Drug Addict in the District of Columbia of the United States of America:

United States of America District of Columbia: The term "drug user" is defined as meaning a person who habitually uses any habit-forming narcotic drugs, so as to endanger the public morals, health, safety or welfare, or who is so far addicted to the use of such habit-forming narcotic drugs as to have lost the power of self-control with reference to his addiction. Whenever[3] it appears to the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia that a person within the District is a drug user, he may file with the clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia a statement in writing setting forth the facts tending to show that such a person is a drug user. Upon the filing of such a statement, the court is required to order that the patient[4] appear before it for an examination by physicians and for a hearing if required. The copy of the statement and order of the court shall be served personally upon the patient by the United States Marshal. A patient shall have the right to assistance of counsel at every stage of the judicial proceeding. Before the court appoints physicians, it is required to advise the patient of his right to counsel and to assign counsel to represent him if he is unable to obtain counsel.

When a statement has been filed, the court is required to appoint two qualified physicians, one of whom shall be a psychiatrist, to examine the patient. For the purpose of the examination, the court may order the patient committed for such reasonable period as the court may determine to a suitable hospital or other facility to be designated by the court. Each physician shall, within such periods as the court may direct, file a written report of the examination, which shall include a statement of his conclusion as to whether the patient is a drug user.

The counsel for the patient may inspect the reports of the examination. No such report and no evidence resulting from the personal examination of the patient or evidence offered by the patient shall be admissible against him in any judicial proceeding, except proceedings under the District of Columbia addiction legislation.

If, in a report filed, either of the examining physicians states that the patient is a drug user, or that he is unable to reach any conclusion by reason of the refusal of the patient to submit to thorough examination, the court is required to conduct a hearing. If, on the basis of the reports filed, the court is not required to conduct a hearing, it shall enter an order dismissing the proceeding. If a hearing is deemed necessary, then such notice of hearing is to be served personally upon the patient to afford him the opportunity to prepare for the hearing.

Upon the evidence introduced at a hearing held for that purpose, the court is required to determine whether the patient is a drug user. The hearing must be conducted without a jury unless, before the hearing and within fifteen days after that date on which the second report of the physicians is filed, a jury is demanded by the patient or the United States Attorney. The patient may, after appointment or employment of counsel, waive a hearing and be committed directly to a hospital designated by the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, or their designated agent. The rules of evidence applicable in judicial proceedings in the court are applicable to hearings, including the right of the patient to present evidence in his own behalf and to subpoena and cross-examine witnesses. If the court finds the patient to be a drug user, it may commit him to a hospital designated by the patient or the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, or their designated agent, and approved by the court, to be confined there for rehabilitation until released. The head of the hospital shall submit reports, within such periods as the court may direct, but no longer than six months after the commitment and for successive intervals of time thereafter, and state reasons why the patient has not been released.

When the head of the hospital to which the patient is committed finds that the patient appears to be no longer in need of rehabilitation, or has received maximum benefits, they shall give notice to the judge of the committing court. The patient is then to be delivered to the court for such further action as the court may deem necessary and proper. Upon petition of the patient after confinement for one year, the court is required to inquire into the refusal or failure of the head of the hospital to release him. If the court finds that the patient is no longer in need of care, treatment, guidance or rehabilitation, or has received maximum benefits, it shall order the patient released.

For the two years after his release, the patient shall report to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, or their designated agent, at such times and places as those officers, or officer, require, but not more frequently than once each month, for a physical examination to determine whether the patient has again become a drug user. If the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, or their designated agent, determine that the person examined is a drug user, they are required to notify the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia who may then file a statement with respect to the person examined.

Patients falling within the scope and definition of District of Columbia addiction legislation shall not be deemed criminals; commitment of any such patient shall not be deemed a conviction [1025].

The second is the Decree of 23 April 1953 prohibiting the Cultivation of Indian Hemp and the Use of Takruri[5] in Tunisia, transmitted by the French Government.

The cultivation, harvesting, preparation, processing, possession, offer, distribution, brokerage, purchase, sale, carriage, importing or exporting of Indian hemp or takruri or preparations containing the active constituents thereof shall be prohibited.

The consumption of Indian hemp or takruri or preparations containing them shall be prohibited.

For the time being, however, internal trade in and use of Indian hemp and its products shall be permitted for medical or veterinary purposes within the limits of the provisions of the aforementioned Decree of 1 August 1939 (14 Jumada II 1358) concerning the importing, purchase, sale, possession and use of toxic substances, until the stocks held by dispensing chemists, hospital dispensaries and establishments authorized to trade therein have been exhausted, and at the latest until 1 January 1955.

Any pharmacists stocking Indian hemp and its products for medical use who destroy their stocks shall record the fact in their narcotics' registers, stating the date of destruction and the quantities destroyed.

The prohibition and regulations on Indian hemp and takruri or kif in the aforementioned Decrees of 3 October 1884 (14 Dhulhijja 1301) and 1 August 1939 (14 Jumada II 1358) and in this Decree shall apply without distinction to all types of hemp excepting only hemp for textiles, the production of which shall be subject to the provisions of article 5.

The Director of Finance, upon the proposal of the Minister of Trade, may authorize the cultivation of hemp for textiles.

Authorized planters shall be liable to visits and inspections by the agents and inspectors of the financial administration in the manner set forth in article 10

of the Decree of 5 April 1922 (7 Shaaban 1340) on the cultivation of tobacco.

Hemp for textiles may be transported only with a permit issued by the Director of Finance, who shall prescribe by decree methods of destroying all those parts of the plants which may be used in the preparation of takruri, kif or any other product which may be smoked or consumed.

Any hemp grown for textiles without permission shall be destroyed by the cultivator or at his expense by the authority discovering the offence.

The offender shall in addition be sentenced to a fine computed at the rate of one thousand francs (1,000 francs) per 100 plants, any fraction of 100 counted as 100 plants, up to a total not exceeding 50,000 francs, but in no case less than 5,000 francs.

If the illicit hemp was grown on enclosed ground, the fine shall be doubled.

The number of plants shall be obtained by measuring the area under illicit cultivation by ordinary surveying methods, and reckoning ten plants to each square metre.

The possession of hemp grown without authorization shall be subject to a fine of 500 francs per kilogram or fraction of a kilogram for hemp on the stalk and of 2,000 francs for hemp flowers which may be used in the preparation of takruri, kif or other products containing the active constituents thereof, the total fine in no case to be less than 5,000 francs nor more than 70,000 francs.

The products seized shall be destroyed at the expense of the offender.

The internal carriage of hemp, whether in the form of plants, stalks or flowers, without a permit from the Director of Finance, shall render the offender liable to the same fine as that for illegal possession and, in addition, to the seizure and confiscation of the means of transport.

The same fine shall be imposed upon the person convicted of supplying the hemp.

Any person engaging in the house-to-house sale or peddling of hemp, takruri or kif or of preparations containing the active constituents thereof shall, without prejudice to the penalties provided for in chapter 4 of the Decree of 1 August 1939 (14 Jumada II 1358), be liable to the confiscation of the means of transport and in addition:

  1. if the offence is committed by less than three persons, to imprisonment for not less than three days and not more than one month;

  2. if the offence is committed by a group of three or more persons, to imprisonment for not less than one month and not more than one year;

  3. if the offence is committed by a group of three or more persons carrying weapons, to imprisonment for not less than three months and not more than three years.

If the offence is repeated, the fines set forth in this Decree shall be doubled. Any fresh infringement committed within the five Gregorian years following a sentence which has been confirmed shall be deemed a repetition of the offence.

For the time being and until the stocks held by the Administration are exhausted, or until 31 December 1954 at latest, the provisions of the Decree of 11 April 1927 (9 Shawwal 1345) on the manufacture, distribution, possession and sale of takruri shall remain in force.

The provisions of article 18 of the Decree of 11 April 1927 (9 Shawwal 1345) shall likewise remain in force for the time being and until stocks in possession of the monopolies service are exhausted, or until 31 December 1954 at latest.

1

For laws and regulations relating to the control of Narcotic Drugs in 1951, see Volume V, No. 1, of the Bulletin.

2

For the 1953 Protoco1 the list of signatures and ratifications, which is not complete in the Summary of Laws, has been brought up to date by the editors.

3

The United States Attorney may not file a statement with respect to a person who is charged with a criminal offence, whether by indictment or by information, or who is under sentence for a criminal offence, whether he is serving the sentence, or is on probation or parole, or has been released on bond pending appeal.

4

The term "patient" means a person with respect to whom there has been filed with the clerk of the United States District. Court for the District of Columbia a statement, as set out above.

5

Published in Journal Officiel Tunisien No. 34, of 28 April 1953.