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Unintended consequences / Conséquences involontaires

Illegal cannabis cultivation in the world, and as a subject in academic research

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2019 / EchoGéo.

Illegal cannabis cultivation as a worldwide phenomenon is the theme of this edition of EchoGéo. The authors who contributed to this edition have conducted research on a variety of countries and regions (by order of appearance: the world, the African continent, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Afghanistan, the United States of America, Europe).

Cannabis cultivation in the world: heritages, trends and challenges

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2019 / Echogéo.

Despite cannabis being the most common illegal drug crop in the world and its worldwide presence, very little is known about its production, trade, and consumption at the global scale. This is due mostly to over a century of global prohibition and the dangers associated to researching illegal drug crop production. Worse, the limited data available about cannabis cultivation is most often inaccurate, unreliable, and highly controversial. While this has always been problematic, in terms of sheer knowledge and informed policy-making, it has now become even more acute of an issue as global trends towards decriminalisation and legalisation are already provoking negative unintended consequences in poor producing countries. This article is an effort to present the state of the current knowledge and the present and future stakes of the fast-changing cannabis industry and legislation.

Territorial control and the scope and resilience of cannabis and other illegal drug crop cultivation

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2019 / EchoGéo.

As revealed by the examples of Morocco, northeast India, Afghanistan, Burma/Myanmar, and the United States of America, degrees of politico-territorial control or law-enforcement deficit by the state can explain, to some extent, the existence of large expanses of illegal drug cultivation. Causes of politico-territorial control deficit are many and non-exclusive. They include armed conflicts, corruption, loosely integrated territories, and lack of financial, human and material means of asserting state control. Large-scale illegal drug crop cultivation can take place according to three main scenarios: that of a full-fledged but inefficient war on drugs; that of toleration, for various motives, of illegal drug plant cultivation by the state (which can amount to negotiated but effective control); and that of the militarily-challenged state that cannot exert full control over its territory. The fact that total politico-territorial control by the state, no matter how powerful and resourceful, is deemed impossible, shows that the war on drugs is doomed to fail despite how many battles were won. Eventually, the very limits of the state’s politico-territorial control, when applied to counter-narcotics and law enforcement, implicitly question the illegality of a practice that is considered legitimate by many.

Agricultural innovations in Morocco’s cannabis industry

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy & Jennifer Macfarlane / 2018 / International Journal of Drug Policy.

In Morocco, subsequent to very localized, experimental beginnings in the early 2000s, the progressive and varied adoption of cannabis agricultural innovations at the cultivation and production stages has spread throughout the Rif during the 2010s. Interviews and direct observations conducted in the field indicate that the ongoing adoption of modern farming techniques has enabled the production of high-quality hashish and potent modern extracts. The still ongoing modernization and professionalization of the Moroccan cannabis industry is a testimony of the country’s leading position in global hashish production.

The Supply of Hashish to Europe

Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy / 2016 / EMCDDA.

This paper critically reviews the available data order to shed further light on what is happening with respect to the production of cannabis resin and its impact on the supply to Europe. It concludes that despite the paucity of data on both hashish production in Afghanistan, in Lebanon and in Morocco, and on the primary sources of the hashish consumed with the European Union, it appears that Moroccan hashish production has been underreported in the UNODC World Drug Reports. Also, it seems that mentions of resins sourced in Afghanistan and Lebanon are not corroborated by the availability of these products within the European Union.

A Typology of the Unintended Consequences of Drug Crop Reduction

Piere-Arnaud Chouvy / 2013 /
Journal of Drug Issues.

Drug control policies and interventions, like any other policies and interventions, generate many unintended consequences. Most often, such consequences are mentioned without being defined or presented in a typology, and they are rarely explained in terms of causality. This article will stress how the existing work on the unintended consequences of drug control policies and interventions suffers from little or no definition and will then provide such a definition and a typology applied to three major interventions meant to achieve drug crop reduction—forced eradication, alternative development, and opium bans. In the end, it will explain how a typology of unintended consequences can help to better understand the failure and even the counterproductivity of some interventions. Differentiating between direct and collateral unintended consequences allows us to better attribute the occurring of unintended consequences to a specific intervention and/or to the intended consequence of the interventions.

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