Limitation and control of natural narcotics raw materials


Control of raw materials in earlier conventions


Author: B. A. RENBORG
Pages: 13 to 26
Creation Date: 1963/01/01

Limitation and control of natural narcotics raw materials

Schemes of the League of Nations and the United Nations

B. A. RENBORG Former Chief of the Drug Control Service of the League of Nations.


It is generally recognized in competent circles that as long as the natural raw materials for narcotic drugs - and more specially raw opium and coca leaf - are produced in quantities in excess of world requirements for medical, scientific and other (temporary) legitimate purposes, the surplus will sooner or later find its way into the illicit traffic. For ultimate success in the campaign against drug addiction and the illicit traffic, effective limitation and control of the raw materials in the producing countries are indispensable. The purpose of this article is to give an account of the various schemes to this end which were elaborated by the League of Nations Opium Advisory Committee and by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs of the United Nations and culminated in the provisions of the Single Convention of 1961. In the nature of things, the three groups of raw materials (opium, the coca leaf and cannabis) have to be dealt with separately. They were dealt with separately both by the League and by the United Nations, the reason being that - although they are all products of agriculture - they present very different aspects affecting the possibilities of limitation and also of control. Raw opium can be produced only by the cultivation of the opium poppy, and it is an intense and precarious cultivation, requiring ample and cheap supply of labour; besides, inclement weather at the time of the harvest may destroy the whole crop. The coca bush grows wild and is cultivated. The same applies to the cannabis plant. There is this difference between the two: the coca leaf has only two limited licit uses - the extraction of cocaine and of flavouring substances for certain beverages - whereas the cannabis plant is cultivated extensively for its fibres and seeds. Similarily, the opium poppy is cultivated for purposes other than the production of opium - viz., for its seeds and oil. The three raw materials have all this in common: they are abused on account of their narcotic properties (i.e., for non-medical purposes).

Control of raw materials in earlier conventions

Control of the raw materials was already provided for at the outset in international action. Thus, The Hague Convention obliges parties to have effective laws or regulations for the control of the production and distribution of raw opium (article 1). Here and also in the Geneva Convention of 1925 raw opium was the only raw material the production of which was made the subject of international obligations. There were, however, no provisions for international supervision as to how parties fulfilled these obligations. The 1925 Convention of course carries through strict control of international trade in all the raw materials, including certain prohibitions in regard to the resin of cannabis and of its preparations.

Earlier Proposals

The first active steps towards a limitation of the production of the raw materials were taken by the American delegation at the 1924-1925 Geneva Conference, which submitted proposals aiming at a control of the production and distribution of raw opium and coca leaves in order that no excess would be available for purposes other than the strictly medical or scientific. Reservations would be permitted by certain governments in regard to raw opium for the manufacture of prepared opium (smoking opium). When it became clear that the conference was not inclined to adopt provisions to that end, the American delegation withdrew from the conference. The United States has ever since persistently refused to ratify the 1925 Convention. A new impulse, which at last led to positive action, was taken in 1930 by the Commission of Enquiry into the control of opium-smoking in the Far East. In its report to the Council of the League of Nations (document C.635.M.254.1930.XI, Vol. I) the Commission formulated one of its recommendations under the following heading: "Limitation and Control of Poppy Cultivation by International Action" (pp. 138-139), and stated, inter alia, as follows:

"As long as poppy cultivation is not under control there will always be illicit traffic in opium .... Steps should be taken to secure international co-operation for the gradual limitation and control of poppy cultivation in all countries where it is possible for governments to enforce such control .... The League of Nations should invite governments concerned to meet in conference to investigate the possibilities of limitation and control of poppy cultivation."

The recommendation made thirty-two years ago foreshadowed not only financial help to replace the poppy by other crops, but also a nucleus of technical assistance. From a historical point of view and in the light of later developments, this recommendation assumes such an importance that it seems opportune to quote it in full. 1 In this connexion it is well to recollect that


Limitation and Control of Poppy Cultivation by International Action

As long as poppy cultivation is not under control there will always be illicit traffic in opium. The efforts to control poppy cultivation in one country should not depend on conditions in another, as it is reasonable to expect that no country will abstain long from international co-operation in this field.

Control of poppy cultivation is indispensable not only on account of the smoking or eating of opium but also on account of the widespread addiction to such narcotic drugs as morphine and heroin, which are derivatives of opium. This is a more serious menace to the whole world than the smoking or eating in the Far East.

It would be grave mistake if in the campaing against opium-smoking limitation and control of poppy cultivation were not carried out on a sufficiently international scale. Isolated efforts in one country would lead to increased cultivation in another, as was the case when the Government of India from 1927 enforced reduced exports of opium. The step in the right direction taken by India did not accomplish the expected result, namely, the reduction of the quantities of raw opium available in the international markets. It resulted instead in extended poppy cultivation in other countries which had less possibility of controlling opium exports.

Steps should be taken to secure international co-operation for the gradual limitation and control of poppy cultivation in all countries where it is possible for the governments to enforce such control. Plans to this end should take into account the possibilities of replacing poppy cultivation by other agricultural production which would place the economic life of these countries on a sounder basis. Limitation of poppy cultivation and its replacement by other production might in some countries require extraordinary measures, including financial assistance on an international basis.

The League of Nations should invite the governments concerned to meet in conference to investigate the possibilities of limitation and control of poppy cultivation.

In view of the influence that the provisioning of raw opium to the government opium monopolies has on the demand for raw opium and on poppy cultivation, the purchases of raw opium by governments should be made by the monopolies in co-operation with each other even before limitation and control of poppy cultivation has been instituted. This would avoid the demand for raw opium affecting measures taken for the limitation and control of poppy cultivation.

Doubts as to whether it will be feasible, within a short or long period, to carry out control and limitation of poppy cultivation should not be allowed to prevent or defer the taking of positive steps against the opium-smoking habit. But these steps should be based on the limitation and control of poppy cultivation which alone will assure the total suppression of opium-smoking.

the Commission in another recommendation (No. 18: p. 145) suggested that the League should establish in the Far East, as part of the opium section of the secretariat, a central bureau for the opium-smoking problem. 2

Action by League Council and Opium Advisory Committee

The Council, in January 1931, already requested the Opium Advisory Committee to study the proposals of the Commission, and the League Assembly at its 12th session (1931) adopted a resolution on the subject, the operative paragraph of which read as follows:

"The Assembly... asks the Advisory Committee on Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs and the competent sections of the Secretariat of the League of Nations to undertake, as soon as possible, the collection of all material that may serve as a basis for the discussions of a conference on the limitation of the production of opium and the cultivation and harvesting of the coca leaf, and for that purpose send a questionnaire to the governments members and non-members of the League."

The League secretariat and the Opium Advisory Committee at once undertook the collection, with the aid of governments, of the information which was considered indispensable to framing schemes for the limitation of the production of opium and coca leaves. An attempt to limit opium production through an arrangement between the then principal opium producing and exporting countries (Iran, Turkey and Yugoslavia) pending the elaboration of an international treaty failed. The Opium Advisory Committee found that it was impossible to reconcile their divergent interests. At the time (1933-1934) there had-following a decline in demand for opium - been a collapse in the market prices


League of Nations Central Bureau in the Far-East for Opium-smoking Affairs

The governments of the Far-Eastern territories are already in touch with each other on certain points referring to the control of opium-smoking and principally in regard to information about illicit traffic. Control of opium-smoking would be more successful and would more quickly lead to total suppression if the co-operation between governments were systematic and covered the whole problem. This would be facilitated by the organization of a central bureau to serve as an information centre to the governments and as a special organ for the work of the League of Nations in connexion with the control of opium-smoking. Such a Bureau would ensure contact of the League of Nations with the governments concerned and with institutions and individuals engaged or interested in the campaign against the opium-smoking habit. It would, moreover, serve as a link in this field between the League of Nations and the Far-East.

The League of Nations should establish in the Far East, as a part of the opium section of the secretariat, a central bureau for the opium-smoking problem. This bureau should distribute information from the League of Nations, receive and distribute information from the governments on all opium-smoking questions including education, propaganda, scientific research and illicit traffic, facilitate co-operation between governments, the opium monopolies, other departments and officials, and arrange meetings of representatives of the governments concerned for the purpose of exchanging views, discussing suggestions and reaching agreements on further control measures.

for raw opium, which had fallen to one-quarter of what they had been a few years earlier. The Opium Advisory Committee considered that the crisis in the raw opium market made the limitation of its production an economic necessity for the producing countries themselves, but even so it proved impossible to make any headway on a voluntary basis.

As information came in and the secretariat studies progressed, it became evident that limitation of opium and coca leaves presented themselves under very different aspects and had different economic characteristics. Consequently the Opium Advisory Committee decided to dissociate the two questions from each other and to proceed as quickly as possible with the preparations for a conference on the limitation and control of raw opium. The reasons were given in a resolution adopted by the Opium Advisory Committee at the 21st session (1936) as being that on one hand limitation of raw opium was urgently needed, while on the other hand control of the cultivation and harvesting of the coca leaf was "unlikely to become applicable in the near future on account of the special circumstances connected with its production" Among these special circumstances were the fact that the coca bush grows wild, that the economic and social aspects of the habit of chewing the coca leaf had never been investigated and clarified and that the information from the main producing countries in South America was lacking or at the best too scanty and unreliable to allow the drawing-up of plans for limitation and control. Furthermore, it seemed doubtful to the Opium Advisory Committee - although it was not said in so many words - that an agreement for limitation and control had in the then prevailing circumstances any chance of effective application.

It may be of interest to mention the methods used by the secretariat and the Opium Advisory Committee in the preparatory work. The bulk of the studies and drafting was done by the secretariat, which on special problems had the aid of outside experts. In order to expedite and facilitate the work, the Opium Advisory Committee formed itself into a preparatory committee, the agenda of which dealt exclusively with the opium limitation problem. A number of special studies were submitted by the secretariat and considered by the Opium Advisory Committee. At its 23rd session (1938), the Committee had been able to examine a secretariat document on the essential principles which might serve as a basis for a future convention. Governments were asked for their observations in regard to these principles. In May-June 1939 (24th session) the secretariat placed before the Opium Advisory Committee, in the form of a draft convention, a document containing the principal articles which might be embodied in the planned convention. Governments were asked to communicate their observations not later than 1 March 1940. In addition, a number of countries were invited through the League Council to nominate legal experts to serve on a special committee to put the draft articles into proper juridical form. At its 25th and last session (May-June 1940), the Opium Advisory Committee was forced to recognize that as the Second World War had broken out no further progress could be made on this matter, but thought that the secretariat might, as far as its resources permitted, continue its studies on a number of points which had been left pending ( inter alia, and mainly, poppy straw and regulation of prices for raw opium). The Committee would then be able to resume its work as soon as circumstances permitted. This was never to be, as the League of Nations was dissolved after the end of hostilities and its tasks, including the international control of narcotics, taken over by the United Nations.

Summary of the Opium Advisory Committee's Principal Articles

Limitation was to be based on binding government estimates of requirements for purposes recognized in the convention- i.e., medical and scientific needs, including those for the manufacture of narcotics, and under certain conditions for so-called non-medical consumption on a temporary basis. The estimates system was largely modelled on that of the 1931 Convention with such adaptations as were considered necessary for limitation of an agricultural product- e.g., in regard to dates for submission. The central part of the international machinery was to be a five-member Controlling Authority, consisting of the Chairman of the Drug Supervisory Body as ex officio chairman. The other four members were to be appointed by the Council of the League; two chosen from nationals of the producing-exporting countries and two from importing countries, parties to the proposed convention. The Controlling Authority had very important functions. It had to examine estimates, frame them for countries, whether parties or not, which failed to furnish them themselves, to fix totals of estimates for each country and territory and the totals of approved world requirements. In regard to estimates, including supplementaries, it had powers similar to those of the Drug Supervisory Body. The Controlling Authority was, however, also to be concerned with the allocation both of quantities to be produced and to be exported annually. For the allocation of, annual production, the draft contained two alternative proposals on which the Opium Advisory Committee did not reach definitive conclusions. One was the quota system, under which quotas were to be allotted to each producing/exporting country in an annex to the convention. Importing countries then had to indicate in their estimates their preferences as to the suppliers. If by such preferences an exporter's quota would be exceeded, the Controlling Authority had to allocate the excess to other exporters pro rata in relation to the estimated quantities. Under the quota system importing countries were not assured of getting their whole supplies from the preferred exporters. The advantage of the quota system was that it would lead to a certain stability in production for producing countries and guarantee to them a part of the market in return for the sacrifice entailed by limitation. Under the other - the free order system - the estimates should state the country or countries whose opium the importing country desired to obtain, with the amounts to be obtained from each. The advantage of this system was that it left freedom of choice to importing countries and maintained the free play of commercial competition. A disadvantage was that it might completely eliminate a producing country from the market. Parties in whose territories production of opium did not exist up to 1 January 1939 or had been prohibited by that date had to undertake not to allow the cultivation of the opium poppy for the production of raw opium. The effect of this provision was to limit the right to produce opium, whether for export or not, to those countries where opium was produced on 1 January 1939. A further suggested provision was an undertaking from parties not to import opium from non-parties. Purchases from non-producing countries were made possible provided details were given in the estimates and provided the supplying country was notified in time to include such opium in its own estimates.

The allotment of fixed quantities for the annual production necessitated guaranteed for the producing countries that they would be able to sell and export those quantities. There was thus an obligation on importing countries to purchase and import the quantities indicated in their estimates and to do this during the year to which the estimates referred. Similarly, each producing country was required to undertake an obligation to supply in any year the quantity of raw opium allotted to it for export to importing countries.

It is of interest to note that estimates were to be given in terms of anhydrous opium of 10% morphine content except when intended for non-medical consumption, when the estimates were to state the consistency (water content) of the opium required.

The draft provided the basis for limitation of opium production in accordance with the contemplated convention. Producing countries undertook not to permit in any year a greater area to be sown with opium poppy for the production of opium than was expected to yield on certain calculations and considerations the amount of opium which they were authorized to produce. If the result over a term of years was a production substantially in excess of the amounts authorized, the Controlling

Authority was to draw the attention of the producing country to this, and the producing country must then, with the approval of the Controlling Authority, fix a new basis for the calculation of the area to be sown.

Opium production is subject to great variations in yield for climatic and other reasons, and this may involve total crop failure. The objectives of the Opium Advisory Committee in the preparation of the draft had therefore to be not only limitation and regulation of production and trade, but also the provision of machinery to guarantee that there would be sufficient quantities of opium available for the approved purposes under all circumstances. This machinery consisted of the various stocks. There were government and emergency stocks, and in addition the special so-called regulating stocks, the establishment and maintenance of which were to be obligations for every producing country. The term was defined as follows: "The term regulating stock shall denote the stock of raw opium, maintained by a producing country, in order to enable it to meet the legitimate demands for its raw opium." The amount of this stock was to be decided by the party and the Controlling Authority in agreement. It might be revised from time to time in the same manner. The amount or level was to be determined taking into account, inter alia, the fluctuating yield from year to year and provision to meet the demand before the harvest became available. In cases of excesses or deficits in the regulating stock, the producing country had to deduct from or increase the amounts to be produced. This was to be done in consultation with the Controlling Authority over a term of years or in the first possible year in case of a deficit. Regulating stocks were a necessity, but represented on the other hand an excess over normal world requirements. This was the reason why the draft gave such extensive powers to the Controlling Authority in this connexion.

The Controlling Authority had each year, before 1 July, to inform each producing country of the quantities allotted to it for production in the following year. At the time, opium was produced only in countries in the northern hemisphere, where the poppy is sown in the autumn. It further had to issue an annual statement, showing world requirements, the estimates for each country, and total permitted world production, as well as the quantity which each producing country was authorized to produce, the quantities allotted for export and the destinations of the exports. The draft also contained the mechanisms for dealing with additional requirements on account of supplementary estimates.

Provisions regarding Internal Control in Producing Countries

This was based on state monopolies with exclusive rights to license the cultivators, collect and purchase the crop, sell opium, export and import it, keep it in warehouses and standardize it. Countries which were allotted an annual production of not more than 10 tons in terms of anhydrous opium of 10% morphine content could, instead of the state monopoly, set up a special organization under state supervision. Cultivation was to be based on annual individual licences indicating the areas to be put under poppy. The monopoly had to collect the crop directly from the cultivators and organize a system of official inspection to ensure the prevention of unlicensed cultivation and the delivery of the whole licensed crop to itself.

Questions Left in Abeyance

There were three main problems which the Opium Advisory Committee had to leave aside for the future. These were control of the poppy straw, international regulation of prices for raw opium, and the system and mechanism for the international supervision of the application of the proposed convention. There is no reason to discuss these problems in detail here except in regard to the regulation of prices. The League secretariat had drawn the attention of the Opium Advisory Committee to the fact that limitation and control of production was bound to affect regular commercial relations and the play of normal competition. The Opium Advisory Committee agreed, and found that regulation was necessary in the interests of both producing and consuming countries. Under the quota system, producers had a sort of monopoly on sale and might hold out for very high prices, while under the free order system they might underbid each other in order to obtain contracts. It was the considered view of the Opium Advisory Committee that producers, who were asked to make sacrifices in the interest of humanity, should be assured of stable and reasonably remunerative prices. It is interesting to note that the Opium Advisory Committee draft paid special attention to the questions of consistency and morphine content, which during all these years have vexed the Permanent Central Opium Board in its statistical accounting. Estimates were to indicate either morphine content (in the case of opium for manufacture)or consistency (in the case of opium for smoking). Further, the Controlling Authority had to indicate as regards allotments for both production and export either morphine content or consistency. There is no doubt that the Opium Advisory Committee had the intention of. enforcing the same requirements in the statistical reporting.

The Opium Advisory Committee's articles now belong to history. Their particular interest lies perhaps today in the bold approach to the problem, the extensive powers proposed for the international organs which the Opium Advisory Committee considered would at the time be acceptable to states. In fact, governments' observations revealed no serious objections in these respects.

The United Nations takes over

First Attempts by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The Commission did not tarry. Already at its 1st session (1946) it broached the subject, deciding to obtain further and up-to-date information through questionnaires to be sent to governments, both in regard to raw opium and coca leaves. The question of a single convention to replace all previous international instruments in the narcotic drugs field soon came up, and the Commission decided that the single convention should be drafted to contain also provisions for the limitation and control of raw opium and the coca leaf. Pending the conclusion and coming into force of the single convention, which necessarily would take some years, the Commission thought it might be possible to achieve a limitation of opium production by means of an interim agreement amongst the principal producing and consuming countries. In order to ascertain the possibilities of an interim agreement and arrive at its main principles, the Commission organized an ad hoc committee of the principal opium-producing countries in Ankara in November-December 1949, followed by a meeting of representatives of the drug manufacturing countries in Geneva in August 1950, and by a joint committee of both groups held in Geneva late in August of the same year and continued in New York in November 1950. The essential elements in the scheme resulting from these meetings were an agreed allocation among the producing countries of the shares of world output and the creation of an international opium monopoly under the auspices of the United Nations, which would have the exclusive right to export and import opium. Neither the joint committee nor the Commission had, however, been able to find solutions to the following problems: prices at which the Opium Monopoly should conduct its transactions; the precise form of measures of control; competition from exports of opium alkaloids from producing countries; and competition from exports of alkaloids made from poppy straw. At the same time (5th session, 1950) the Commission heard a suggestion for the creation of an international alkaloid monopoly. When the Commission returned to that matter at its 6th session (1951) it found itself unable to come to an agreed solution on any of the above-mentioned four problems. It also became clear that many governments entertained serious misgivings about entrusting full control of a strategic material such as opium to an international, body. The Commission realized that it had reached a deadlock, and decided not to resume discussion of the international opium monopoly during the session.

It was in this dramatic situation that the late Mr. Gaston Bourgois, one of the pioneers in the field of narcotics control and successively representative of France on the Opium Advisory Committee of the League of Nations from its inception in 1920 and on the Commission, put forward an outline of a scheme based to a large extent on the principles of the 1931 Convention. At the request of the Commission, Mr. Bourgois introduced a "draft protocol to adapt the provisions of the 1931 Convention to opium", which the Commission discussed at length during the session. It will be recalled that Mr. Bourgois in another critical situation had stepped in with a solution. This was at the 1931 conference, when the conference refused to take the draft convention prepared by the Opium Advisory Committee as a basis for its work. Mr. Bourgois then outlined a scheme which, in fact, in its main ideas was incorporated in the Convention of 1931.

The Commission considered the draft protocol full detail and approved in general the principles of the draft, which was subsequently submitted to a conference held in New York in May-June 1953, and became the 1953 Protocol for limiting and regulating the cultivation of the poppy plant, the production of, international and wholesale trade in, and use of opium.

The 1953 Protocol

The Protocol came into force on 8 march 1963. The main features of the 1953 Protocol are the following: The use of opium must be limited to medical and scientific needs. However, the non-medical or quasimedical use may still be permitted for a limited period to those parties which make a reservation to that effect at the time of signature or formal acceptance of the Protocol. These so-called transitional measures can be made by states only where such use of opium was permitted on 1 January 1950, and the state must at the same time undertake to abolish such use within a specified period which must not extend beyond fifteen years after the coming into force of the Protocol. The Single Convention has corresponding provisions on this subject.

State Monopolies

The control of poppy cultivation for opium production, and the production of opium, must be in the hands of one or more (preferably one) government agencies with the exclusive right to license cultivators, to collect and purchase the crop, to import, export and engage in wholesale trade and maintain stocks other than those held by manufacturers of opium alkaloids. Only licensed cultivators may be permitted to produce opium, and they must deliver the total crop to the agency. Production may take place only in specially designated areas on plots of land fixed by the agency in the licence.

Monopoly on Supplies for International Trade

Production of opium for export purposes is limited to seven countries listed by name in the Protocol - namely, Bulgaria, Greece, India, Iran, Turkey, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Yugoslavia. They are in fact mostly the traditional producing/exporting countries, although production has now been prohibited in Iran. This monopoly on the export trade for a few countries, which was weakened in the 1961 treaty, is implemented by the obligation of the parties not to permit import and export of opium other than opium produced in one of the seven states, provided that it has become a party to the Protocol. A consequence of this provision is that all exports and imports should be accompanied by certificates showing that the opium had been produced in one of the seven states even if it is exported from another country (transit trade is thus permitted). There is one exception from the rule - viz., that a party may authorize, exclusively for its domestic consumption, the import and export between its territories of opium produced in any of the territories, but not exceeding its own needs for one year. This provision is losing its importance as time goes along, as most territoires now have become (or are becoming) independent states. It has disappeared from the Single Convention, which, however, in the same way as the 1953 Protocol, permits a party to produce opium sufficient for its own requirements. Under the 1953 Protocol it would not be permissible for the United Kingdom to import opium produced, say, in Pakistan, which is an independent state, although a member of the British Commonwealth.

Quantitative Limitation of the Stocks

The Protocol does not enforce a direct limitation of opium production to the world's medical, scientific or temporarily permitted non-medical needs (see below regarding the Single Convention transitional reservations). There is, however, a limitation of the amounts of stocks which a party may hold in its territories. These are determined in relation to the quantities used for different purposes in a certain number of years, which are different for producing, manufacturing and purely consuming countries.

The Protocol does not state who will be responsible for calculating the maximum stocks. The Central Board will have to do so in any case, since it is responsible for supervising the application of the instrument. In fact, it appears that the maximum stocks allowed under the Protocol are very liberal and in regard to most countries - producing/exporting, alkaloid manufacturing and consuming countries - would by far exceed the normal stocks actually held in the various countries. This is shown by the calculations which were made by the

Limitation and control of natural narcotics raw materials 19


Maximum stock at 31 Dec. 1952
Actual stock at 31 Dec. 1952
20689 7529 736
7 7 139
1227050 718386 277240
555252 141584 185093
597873 430901 463589
262675 151853 6329
58770 31943 10083
2722316 1432203 943209

Board in 1954, based on the different provisions of the Protocol and on the statistics referring to the year 1952. Table 1, taken from PCOB document E/OB.W.253, dated 15 June 1954, indicates the position in the seven producing/exporting countries.

A study et these figures reveals the fact that the Protocol allows much higher stocks than are normally kept by the countries in the different groups. If opium is produced to permit the accumulation of these high stocks, the result would be an over-production, which has always been considered a danger. However, past experiences show that production is fairly well adapted to world requirements. The crucial point is obviously the producing countries, and these have no interest in planning a production far above the possibilities of legitimate disposal on the world markets. In any case, the provisions of the Protocol and also of the Single Convention concerning the control of cultivation, production, etc., by government monopolies should if honestly and effectively applied go far to prevent escapes into the illicit traffic.

It is to be noted that there are two very different figures for the permitted maximum stocks. The higher quantities are the result of the most favourable calculations and the lower the minimum stocks which may be permitted, taking into account the rules for the calculations laid down in the Protocol.

In table 2, figures are given for the different groups of countries.

World Production of Opium

The figures for 1960 as published by the Permanent Central Opium Board show a production in that year of 1,498 tons, an increase of not less than 36% over 1959. The details are given in table 3.

There is a legal production in the Shan State of Burma, but no information of the quantities produced there is available. The situation on the mainland of


Maximum stock at 31 Dec. 1952
Actual stock at 31Dec. 1952
A. Producing states
2722316a 1482203b 943209
B. States other than the producing states which permit the manufacture of alkaloids
940190 727493 351005
C. Other states or territories
185680c 38791c 62843c
3848186c 2248487c 1357057c

Highest maximum stock which the states in question can request.


Lowest maximum stock which the states in question can request.



China is unknown, and the Permanent Central Opium Board makes no comment in this regard, presumably because it has no official information. According to the Board, world production during the years 1954 to 1958 was lower than the legitimate demand, in 1959 they were about equal. The excess of production over demand in 1960 resulted in a large increase of stocks, which at the end of 1960 had risen to 1,270 tons from 860 tons in 1959. Stocks in producing countries increased from 500 tons in 1959 to 900 tons in 1960. World stocks at the end of 1960 corresponded to about 16 months' requirements. It is clear from these figures that the increased production in 1960 remained in stock in the producing countries. In 1960, 964 tons were utilized for legitimate purposes, an increase of 7% over 1959 as well as over the average during 1956-1959. The statistics published by the Permanent Central Opium Board are decisive for determining the maximum permitted stocks of producing and consuming countries, whereas the Board itself determines these maxima for drug manufacturing countries (normal requirements for two years). These parties have to furnish to the Board the


Producing country
Average 1958-1959
563 763 914
163 168 365
Soviet Union
119 132 169
22 26 40
Other countries (Pakistan, Japan, Bulgaria and, up to 1957, Afghanistan)
16 9 10
883 1098 1498

elements for determining the maximum quantities which may be held in stock in accordance with the detailed provisions for each category of country, and the Board should annually before 16 December notify each party of its calculations or decisions as to the permitted amount of stocks as the case may be. These notifications concern stocks allowed for the following year. There is a general obligation for parties to limit opium, and it is expressed in article 5 in the following terms: "With a view to limiting to medical and scientific needs the quantity of opium produced in the world, the parties shall regulate the production, export and import of opium in such a way as to ensure that the stocks held by any party shall not, on 31 December of any year, exceed (the maximum stocks permitted under the Protocol). To be able to live up to this general obligation, parties naturally have to know the world requirements of opium as well as the available stocks in the different countries. This information is obtained through the estimate system, modeled on that of the Limitation Convention of 1931 and through the statistical reports of the PCOB."

Estimates of Opium Requirements

All parties have to forward to the PCOB, for examination by the Supervisory Body, annual estimates of their requirements of opium. In addition, those parties which permit the production of opium have to submit estimates of the extent of the area (in hectares), stated as exactly as possible, each separately for each cultivation region, on which they propose to cultivate the opium poppy for the harvesting of opium. Further, they have to estimate as accurately as practicable the amount of opium to be harvested. On account of the large fluctuations in the size of the opium crop, which are a consequence of climatic conditions, it is not an easy task to make this estimate. The Protocol states that the estimate of the production shall be based on the average yield per hectare in the preceding five years. The Supervisory Body has the same functions and powers in regard to the estimates under the Protocol as it has under the limitation convention of 1931. This includes the duty to establish as far as practicable estimates for countries and territories in respect of which they are not furnished by their governments at the determined time. This rule applies to consuming as well as producing countries.

After examination, the Supervisory Body will establish the totals of the estimates and also the world requirements and issue its annual and supplementary statements of world requirements of narcotic drugs, including opium. The PCOB determines the date by which the estimates shall reach the Board. It is to be presumed that the Board will fix these dates and they may vary for importing countries and for producing countries and, in regard to the latter, in accordance with whether they are located in the northern or southern hemisphere, in such a manner that the producing countries may take into account world requirements in planning the extent of their poppy cultivation for the coming year.

The estimates of opium requirements, whether furnished by governments or established by the Supervisory Body, are binding on governments, and may not be exceeded unless and until they have been modified by supplementary estimates. On the other hand, the estimates of producing countries concerning areas to be cultivated and the production are not binding.

Statistical Records

Parties have to provide the Board with complete statistics concerning opium used for consumption, manufacture of opium alkaloids and opium preparations; concerning opium seized in the illicit traffic, amounts disposed of and the method of disposal; and concerning the stocks held on 31 December of each year. Producing countries shall in addition furnish statistics of the area under cultivation for the production of opium and of the amount of opium harvested. The old problems which have faced the Board for all these years, in regard to the consistency (moisture content) and morphine content of opium, did not find a solution at the 1953 opium conference, which, however, made an attempt to facilitate the Board's statistical tasks by adopting the following resolution in the final act (resolution VII).

The Conference,

Considering that international supervision over opium production and trade based on statistics supplied by parties to the Protocol is an essential element of the limitation and regulation of opium as provided in the Protocol,

Declaresthat the Permanent Central Opium Board, which, under articles 8 and 9 of the Protocol, has the duty of prescribing the forms in accordance with which estimates and statistics are to be furnished, has thus the authority to require that estimates and statistics be furnished with an indication of the moisture content of the opium referred to.

Functions of the PCOB

In order to supervise the application of the Protocol, the Board was given extensive functions and powers, which in fact go far beyond the competence of the Board under the 1925 and 1931 conventions. Some of the measures which the Board is entitled to take are considered by many states as too far-reaching and interfering with the sovereignty of states. They are no doubt responsible for the refusal of a number of states to ratify the Protocol or accede to it. The 1961 conference, which drew up the Single Convention, eliminated those far-reaching provisions which were considered objectionable and did not reintroduce them in that instrument.

In spite of this and in view of the fact that the 1953 Protocol may yet come into force, it is necessary to give a short account of these provisions in the Protocol. They are found in articles i1 and 12 under the titles: "Administrative" and "Enforcement Measures ", respectively.

The administrative measures which the Board can take in connexion with its supervision of the operation of the Protocol are the following:

  1. Confidential request for information regarding the implementation of the Protocol and appropriate suggestions. These measures are not conditioned on any special unsatisfactory situation in the country concerned.

  2. Requests for explanations. The Board may ask for confidential explanations if it is of the opinion that any important provision of the Protocol on the opium situation in any country or territory requires elucidation.

  3. Proposal of remedial measures. The Board can take this action if a government has failed to carry out substantially any important provision of the Protocol or if there is a gravely unsatisfactory opium situation in any country or territory. The Board's action consists in confidentially drawing the government's attention to these facts and in calling upon the government to study the possibility of adopting such remedial measures as the situation may require.

  4. Local inquiry. If the Board considers that a local inquiry would contribute to the elucidation of the situation it may undertake such an inquiry with the consent of the government concerned, but the inquiry shall be made in collaboration with officials designated by the government. If no reply to the proposal is received within four months, the proposal is considered as having been refused.

The enforcement measures which the Board may take are as follows, on condition that the Board finds that the failure of a party to carry out the provisions of the Protocol is seriously impeding the control of narcotics there or in any other state.

  1. Public notification. The Board may call the attention of all parties and of the Economic and Social Council to the matter.

  2. Public statements. If such notification in the Board's view has not had the desired results, the Board may expose the situation in public statements, but must include the views of the government concerned if it has been requested to do so.

The Board can further issue a recommendation of an embargo or a mandatory embargo. Such actions may be taken if the Board, from a study of the estimates and statistics, finds that a party has failed substantially to carry out its obligations under the Protocol or that any other state is seriously impeding the effective administration of the Protocol, or if it finds, in the light of the information at its disposal, that excessive quantities of opium are accumulating in any country or territory, or that there is a danger of any country or territory becoming a centre of illicit traffic. Under these circumstances, the Board may recommend to parties an embargo on the import or export of opium or both from or to the country concerned either for a specific period or until the Board is satisfied as to the opium situation in the country in question. The state concerned may bring the matter before the Council. It is to be observed that a recommendation of an embargo may be applied whether the state involved is a party to the Protocol or not.

The Board may go even farther on the basis of the findings mentioned in the preceding paragraph and issue a mandatory embargo, which obliges parties not to export or import opium, or both, from or to the country concerned. This action must, however, be preceded by an announcement by the Board of its intention to impose the embargo. The state involved may appeal against the mandatory embargo to a special Appeals Committee, which, on the coming into force of the Protocol, is to be appointed by the President of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, or failing this by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The decision of the Board may be affirmed, varied or reversed by the Appeals Committee, the decision of which is final and binding. The embargo enters into force 60 days after the Board's decision is taken, unless an appeal is made. In that case, the embargo goes into effect thirty days after the pronouncement of the Appeals Committee. The Protocol states emphatically that the parties shall comply with the terms of the embargo.

There are special safeguards prescribed in the Protocol in regard to any decision of the Board described under the title "Enforcement measures ". Thus, the Board's decisions must be taken by a majority of the whole number of the Board. As the present Board has eight members, the required majority is five, whether or not all members are present or taking part in the vote on the decision. The views of any minority must be indicated. The State concerned has a right to be heard by the Board before any of the enforcement measures are decided upon. If the government concerned so requests, the Board must include its views in any publication of the Board's decisions.

Control of the Poppy Plant and. Poppy Straw

As the opium poppy is grown widely for purposes other than the production of opium, the 1953 conference inserted in the Protocol special measures to prevent unlawful production of opium in such cases. Article 4 requires parties to enact such laws and regulations as may be necessary to ensure that opium is not produced from this cultivation, and further to ensure that the manufacture of narcotic substances from poppy straw is adequately controlled. These provisions apply also to parties in whose countries the poppy is cultivated for the production of opium. Finally, parties have to furnish annually to the Board statistics of all imports and exports of poppy straw. The Protocol does not submit international trade in poppy straw to the import certificate or export authorization system under chapter V of the 1925 Convention. This requirement was introduced in the Single Convention. Poppy straw is defined as meaning "all parts of the poppy after mowing (except the seeds) from which narcotics can be extracted ". The importance of poppy straw as a narcotic raw material is evidenced by the fact that today between 20% and 25 % of all morphine manufactured in the world is obtained through the treatment of poppy straw.

A special article (art. 13 - Universal application) states that the Board may, if possible, take the administrative and enforcement measures in respect of states which are not parties to the Protocol and in respect of territories to which it may not apply.

Through this provision, the Board is empowered to recommend or impose sanctions in respect of states which flagrantly violate the provisions of the Protocol or show extreme neglect in fulfilling their assumed obligations, or in the case of non-parties which by neglect or otherwise endanger the international control of opium.

The Protocol contains the usual provision in narcotics treaties that parties undertake to adopt all legislative and administrative measures necessary to make fully effective the provisions of the Protocol.

Non-medical and Quasi-medical Use of Opium

The principle of the Protocol is that the use of opium shall be limited exclusively to medical and scientific purposes. There exists, however, in some Asiatic countries an authorized or tolerated non-medical or quasi-medical consumption of opium (eating and smoking). As these habits, which are forms of narcotic addiction, cannot be abolished overnight, the Protocol allows their continuation for a limited period under certain conditions. In order to take advantage of this possibility, a state has to make reservations to that effect at the time of signature or ratification of the Protocol. A condition is that these kinds of consumption were traditional and permitted on 1 January 1950. Smokers may continue their habit if they were registered as such by the authorities at the latest on 30 September 1953 and were then not less than twenty-one years old. In consequence, the permitted smoking of opium will cease entirely with the death of the last smoker who had been registered not later than the above date. As regards eating of opium, the parties undertake to abolish the habit within a specified time, which may not exceed fifteen years from the coming into force of the Protocol. The provisions regarding quasi- or non-medical use of opium are approximately the same in the Protocol and the Single Convention.

List of Parties

At the time of writing (December 1962), the following states had become parties to the Protocol: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroun, Canada, Central African Republic, Ceylon, Chile, China, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Leopoldville), Cuba, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Republic of Korea, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Republic and United States of America (44 countries). The conditions for the entry into force have been fulfilled with the ratification on 6 February 1963 of a third producing/exporting country: Greece, in addition to India and Iran. The Protocol will be terminated as between parties to the new Single Convention as were the other previous treaties.

The Single Convention of 1961

The Convention aims at limitation and control of all narcotic raw materials to medical and scientific uses. There are certain general provisions which are common for all the raw materials - viz., opium, coca leaves and cannabis and their mother plants, the opium poppy, the coca bush and the cannabis plant. Then there are specific rules for the different raw materials. The provisions which apply to all raw materials are the following.

Prohibition of Cultivation

Article 22 states that a party shall prohibit cultivation under certain conditions- namely, whenever the prevailing conditions in the country concerned render the prohibition on cultivation in the opinion of the party the most suitable measure for protecting the public health and welfare and preventing the diversion of drugs [read: all narcotic drugs covered by the Convention] into the illicit traffic. This requirement of prohibition will, however, not be very effective, as the decision depends on the appreciation by the government of the party concerned whether prohibition would be the most suitable measure in the circumstances. It is doubtful whether any of the international control organs would feel authorized to draw the attention of a party to a situation which might call for prohibition. The qualifications in regard to protection of public health and welfare and prevention of diversion into the illicit traffic are not specific to the country concerned, but may be considered to refer to situations in other countries - for instance, neighbouring countries. In flagrant cases the Narcotics Commission might use its authority under article 8 to draw the attention of the Board to the matter or itself make recommendations to the party. The Board, acting under article 14, might ask for explanations and suggest remedial measures. The Board is itself responsible for the interpretation of its authority under the Convention, but may hesitate to take action in a case of this kind under article 14. The Narcotics Commission has other means at its disposal, such as discussions at its sessions, invitations to a government to attend the discussions by an observer for the purpose of elucidating an unsatisfactory situation. Public ventilation would no doubt, as in the past, have a salutary effect.

National Monopolies

Any party which permits the cultivation of any of the narcotic mother plants for the production of opium, harvesting of coca leaves or production of cannabis or its resin is under obligation to establish for this purpose one or more government agencies. The functions of the agency are described in article 23 for opium, but are on the whole the same for the coca bush (art. 26) and for the cannabis plant (article 28). The difference will be accounted for below under the appropriate headings.

The Poppy Plant, Opium and Poppy Straw

The functions of the Opium Monopoly under the Single Convention are practically the same as under the 1953 Protocol (see above, under "State Monopolies "), with the following exceptions and allowing for a somewhat different wording. Whereas under the Protocol certain of the control measures were to be in the hands of the monopoly or other competent authorities, the Single Convention requires the agency (monopoly) to assume all the functions described in article 23. The monopoly has to purchase and take delivery of the opium crop as soon as possible, but not later than four months after the end of the harvest. The Protocol did not have this limitation in time, but only that the crop should be taken over as soon as possible. Under the Single Convention parties may exempt medicinal opium and opium preparations from the exclusive rights of the monopoly. The Protocol does not have corresponding provision. Both the Protocol and the Single Convention require that the governmental functions under the relevant article shall be discharged by a single government agency if the constitution of the party permits it.

Future Legitimate Demands for Opium

An estimate of the future demands for opium can only be guesswork, but some guidance may be obtained from the trends of the last twenty years or so. According to statements of the Board, almost the whole legal production of opium is used for the manufacture of morphine, which in its turn is for the largest part converted into codeine. Quasi-medical use accounts nowadays for not more than 1% of the total amount of opium used. Permitted non-medical consumption exists only in the Shan State of Burma, but no statistics are available. Consumption of opium for medical purposes, in the form of medicinal preparations, amounted to about 30 tons in 1960. The total utilization of opium in 1960 reached 964 tons, an increase of about 7% over 1959 and over the average for 1956-1959.

Table 4 shows world production and world utilization of opium during the last ten years.


World production and utilization, in tons

1951 1034 1137
1953 1295 674
1955 821 863
1957 714 924
1959 1098 1029
1960 1498 1030

NOTES. - Neither production nor utilization figures are calculated at a standard consistency, because the basic information is not always given in official statistics supplied to the Central Board. For some years the figures are incomplete. "Utilization" signifies quantities used in the producing countries themselves for different purposes and quantities exported by producing countries, also for different purposes. The figures can, however, be considered sufficiently accurate to show the world trend.

Production shows considerable variations from one year to another. The explanation may be favourable or unfavourable climatic conditions. The year 1960 was probably an exceptionally good crop year. Turkey then more than doubled its production, and all producing countries had bigger crops than in the preceding year. The average production in the years 1956-1959 was 883 tons, and thus 1960 showed an increase of over 50%. On the utilization side, there are fluctuations, but the world figures seem to be about 1,000 tons annually.

In estimating future demands for opium it is, however, necessary to take into account world manufacture of morphine from opium and from poppy straw, and also world manufacture of synthetic narcotics. Poppy straw has become a serious competitor of opium as raw material for the manufacture of morphine; and the increasing use of synthetic narcotics naturally influences the consumption of morphine and thus affects the needs for opium as a raw material. Reference is made to tables 5 and 6 below.


World manufacture of morphine

(Rounded figures)

From opium
From poppy straw
1951 61.5 83.4 12 16.4 74
1953 54 73.5 20 26.4 74
1955 70 79.5 17 19.4 88
1957 92 84.5 17 15.5 109
1959 87 80.5 21 19.5 108
1960 89 74.6 30 25.4 120


World manufacture of synthetic drugs

(In tons; rounded figures)

1951 13 1957 18
1953 11 1959 17
1955 15 1960 18

If any conclusions could be drawn from these statistics, it would be that the quantities of opium required for the manufacture of morphine may be more or less stabilized, but that on the other hand poppy straw is increasing in importance as a raw material and that synthetics are making large inroads on the uses of the natural narcotics. As regards the future there is, however, an unknown factor - viz.: the rising need for narcotics in connexion with improved health and medical services in the world at large and in the developing countries in particular. There is no lack of opium or of poppy straw, or of the raw materials for the synthetics. Whether the increasing need for narcotics will favour opium, poppy straw or synthetics is anybody's guess. Further, the developing of health and medical services in the developing countries will most likely be a very slow process.

If the Protocol and the Single Convention are simultaneously in force, the provisions of the Protocol will be terminated only as between parties to the Convention (article 44 of the Single Convention). As long as there is a single state which is a party to the Protocol but not to the Single Convention, parties to both treaties will be bound to continue implementing the Protocol until this treaty is terminated in accordance with its own terms (article 24). Although the obligations under the Protocol are in some respects more far-reaching than the corresponding duties under the Single Convention, both groups of undertakings can be carried out by governments without conflict of law.

Under the Protocol, parties are under obligation to keep stocks up to a maximum quantity, which are to be calculated in accordance with rules laid down in the Protocol. Parties to the Single Convention are not required to limit their stocks to a maximum. The Protocol requires parties to regulate production of opium in such a way as to ensure that the stocks held by any party shall not exceed the permitted maxima. In this somewhat difficult task, producing countries are guided by the annual and supplementary statements by the Supervisory Body of world requirements of opium and narcotics.

The Single Convention puts on the parties the obligation not to start production or to increase existing production so as to result in an over-production in the world, being guided by the world needs in accordance with the estimates published by the International Narcotics Control Board. A party to the Protocol may import only opium which has been produced in one of the seven producing/exporting states listed in article 6, provided it is a party. Only three of these states - Greece, India and Iran - have so far formally accepted the Protocol. The remaining four - Bulgaria, Turkey, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia - do not seem inclined to accept the Protocol. Iran has prohibited opium production, and Greece for all practical purposes has ceased production. In these circumstances a party to the Protocol could rely only on India for its supplies. A large manufacturing country might find this embarrassing, even if India were able to supply large quantities. In such a situation it may be that the other large producing/exporting country - Turkey - may find it desirable to become a party to the Protocol.

Under the Protocol the Permanent Central Opium Board is empowered, under certain conditions, to take a series of administrative and enforcement measures (see page 21 above), some of which were eliminated in the Single Convention. Article 45 of the Convention says that the International Narcotics Control Board shall undertake the functions of the Permanent Central Opium Board and the Supervisory Body in respect of states which are not parties to the Convention. The International Narcotics Control Board will most probably find it inconvenient to adopt different standards of treatment for parties to the Protocol and parties to the Convention. The provisions regarding the disposal of seized narcotics are different in the two instruments, and more restrictive in the Protocol.

The Coca Bush and Coca Leaves

Cultivation and harvesting. - A party which permits the cultivation of the coca bush shall apply to it and to coca leaves the system of control provided in article 23 in regard to the opium poppy. However, the time limit of four months for the national opium monopoly to take

physical possession of the crop is not prescribed for the coca leaf monopoly, which is bound to take possession of the crop only as soon as possible after the end of the harvest.

Special provisions. - There are, however, some special provisions regarding the coca bush and coca leaves. The parties shall so far as possible enforce the uprooting of all coca bushes which grow wild, and destroy such bushes as are cultivated illegally. As an exception to the rule that coca leaves may be used only for medical and scientific purposes, article 27 permits the use of the leaves for the preparation of a flavouring agent, which may not contain any alkaloids. Parties may for this purpose allow the production, international and national trade and possession of coca leaves, but shall furnish separately estimates and statistical information as required by the Convention in respect of coca leaves used for this purpose, unless the same leaves are used for extraction both of alkaloids and of the flavouring agent. This must then be explained both in estimates and statistics. If the coca bush should be grown exclusively for extraction of the flavouring agent, the cultivation and production must still be under a monopoly, but this is not likely to happen. It follows from these and other provisions of the Convention that parties have to control in detail the use of coca leaves for the flavouring agent, so that the alkaloids, which may be extracted at the same time, are fully accounted for as other narcotics in schedule I.

Present producing countries. - According to statistics submitted to the Permanent Central Opium Board, coca leaves are produced only in a few countries in South America - viz.: Bolivia, Colombia and Peru - and in very small quantities in Indonesia and China (Formosa). In fact, Formosa produced no coca leaves in 1959 and 1960, as against a ton or so in earlier years. The biggest producer is Peru, with an average quantity of between 9,000 and 10,000 tons. Over 90% of the leaves harvested are consumed locally by chewing. Bolivia's annual crops run to an approximate average of some 2,500 tons, most of which seems to be consumed by chewing, in the country itself, while between 100 to 150 tons are exported annually for chewing purposes. The recipient countries are Argentina, Chile and, presumably, also Brazil and Ecuador, where there is some chewing among the population in districts bordering on Bolivia. Production in Colombia is estimated at about 100 to 150 tons per year. No leaves are exported from Colombia, and most of the leaves are chewed. In Indonesia, the harvest amounted to some 17 tons in 1956, and has since decreased to only 150 kg in 1958 and 700 kg in 1960. There were no exports in the last three years, but earlier practically the whole crop was exported for the manufacture of cocaine. Peru itself manufactures raw cocaine and exports annually some 150 tons of leaves for the manufacture of cocaine and for the extraction of the flavouring agent. According to the Permanent Central Opium Board the world consumption of coca leaves for medical purposes is minute (less than 3%) in comparison with the quantities used non-medically - i.e., by chewing. In signing the Single Convention, Argentina and Peru made reservations under article 49 regarding the right to continue using coca leaves for chewing purposes. Chile and Brazil made no such reservations, but can still make them if and when they ratify it. Colombia has as yet neither signed nor acceded to the Convention.

U.S.A. proposal, 1961. - At the 1961 conference, the United States delegation, considering that a government monopoly would be too cumbersome, proposed that the United Nations General Assembly, after consultations with the coca leaf producing countries, should adopt suitable regulations for the control of the cultivation of the coca bush and the production of the leaves. This proposal, which seems to have constituted a some-what new departure in international law, was accepted by the ad hoc committee which dealt with the question of coca leaves, but was later defeated in plenary session.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs' proposals in third draft. - The draft convention prepared by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs had proposed that the right to export coca leaves and crude cocaine should be limited to three states - namely, Bolivia, Indonesia and Peru - which would thus have a monopoly on exports in the international trade. A similar proposal was contained in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs' draft convention in regard to opium, and would have limited the export trade to opium produced by the seven countries, which had the same position in the 1953 Protocol, plus Afghanistan. Both these proposals proved unacceptable by the majority of the delegations at the conference, which opposed such closed lists as being an encroachment of state sovereignty and the right of each state to make the best use of its national resources.


The provisions regarding the control of the cultivation of the cannabis plant are found in article 28. Parties which permit the cultivation of the cannabis plant for the production of cannabis or cannabis resin are required to establish the same systems of control as for the opium poppy - i.e., a state monopoly, fully in accordance with article 23 (see above, paragraph 49). "The cannabis plant" means "any plant of the genus cannabis ". Cultivators must be licensed, and the monopoly must collect from them the whole crop. The question arises of what constitutes the crop. Cannabis is defined as being "the flowering or fruiting tops of the cannabis plant (excluding the seeds and leaves when not accom- panied by the tops) from which the resin has not been extracted, by whatever name they may be designated ". "Cannabis resin" means "the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from the cannabis plant ". Cannabis, the resin and its extracts and tinctures are all "drugs" in the sense of the Convention, as they are included in schedule I and thus subject to all the control provisions. Cannabis and the resin are also listed in schedule IV as particularly dangerous. The crop to be collected by the monopoly would thus be the flowering and fruiting tops, including the resin. Would the monopoly be under an obligation to collect the whole plant, including the leaves, which contain the active principles of cannabis, although in relatively small quantities ? Cannabis leaves are not included in any of the schedules and thus are not "drugs ". On the other hand article 28, paragraph 3, requires parties to adopt such measures as may be necessary to prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, the leaves. It would therefore seem necessary for the monopoly to collect the whole plant from the cultivators and to destroy the leaves, or otherwise establish strict control of them.

The cannabis plant is grown extensively in many parts of the world for industrial purposes - viz., the fibres and the seeds. Article 28 says expressly that the Convention does not apply to the cultivation for these purposes or for horticultural purposes. Legal cultivation for production of cannabis and its resin exists today only in Pakistan and India, where the non-medical use of cannabis is temporarily permitted, and most probably also in Nepal. A complication is that the plant easily grows wild. Some years ago it was found in the UnitedStates that the plant was growing wild as a result of droppings of birds which had been fed cannabis seeds. The Convention does not, as in the case of the coca bush, expressly oblige parties to destroy wild-growing cannabis plants, which would be almost a practical impossibility. It is worth noting here that the dangerous resin is produced in appreciable quantities only in hot and humid climates. It seems to serve as a protection for the development and fruiting of the female flowers.


The main provisions regarding the control of cultivation and production of the natural narcotic raw materials have been given in the present article. Their success would seem to depend to a very large extent on the acceptation of the Single Convention by all producing countries and its effective application. The position is very different for opium on the one hand and for coca leaves and cannabis on the other. In regard to opium, there are already in most producing/exporting countries state organizations with experience of control; besides, international supervision has been exercised for a considerable period. Concerning coca leaves, the acute problem is the producing South American countries, where there is a great deal of illicit production in places difficult of access and a considerable demand for chewing purposes. For cannabis the main difficulty seems to stem from illicit cultivation and the stand of wild-growing plants. Cannabis in its various forms is misused by very large numbers of people - although statistics are lacking - in practically all parts of the world.