Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 January 2019
This article provides an analysis of the normative framework for Spanish cannabis clubs by contextualizing it within the growing body of comparative constitutional law that recognizes legal obstructions to personal drug consumption as intrusions of the right to privacy. Article 3(2) of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988 relieves State parties from the Article's obligation to criminalize drug possession and cultivation for ‘personal consumption’ when doing so would conflict with their constitution or basic concepts of their legal system. Spain relied on Article 3(2) in its decision not to criminalize conduct involving personal consumption. The Spanish judiciary has had to consider the legal implications of collective consumption and cultivation in the form of cannabis clubs. In addition to operating in a grey area of domestic law, Spain's cannabis clubs straddle the blurred boundary in international and European legal instruments between ‘personal consumption’ and ‘drug trafficking’. This article explores the theoretical and doctrinal implications of both Spanish law on cannabis clubs and comparative human rights law on drug use to outline the potential contours of a constitutionally protected zone of privacy pertaining to cannabis use in a social context.
I am very grateful for the comments of the anonymous peer reviewer on early drafts of this article and grateful to Crofton Black, Penny Green, Peter Alldridge, Richard Nobles, Jessie Hohmann, Merris Amos and Malgosia Fitzmaurice for their valuable comments on earlier drafts. The research underpinning this article benefitted from the assistance of Marti Canaves of DMT Advocats, Oriol Casals Madrid of Casa Paraula Advocats, Miguel Torres of Baker Tilly Abogados, Joaquim Joan Forner Delaygua of the Universitat de Barcelona, Gabriel Miró of Cabanes-Miró Advocats, Pepo Mendoza of Revista Cañamo Chile and Juan Antonio Lascuraín of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
1 The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) (as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention); The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; The United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances (1988).
2 The possession, purchase and cultivation of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances for personal consumption are listed in art 3(2) of the 1988 Convention as forms of conduct in relation to which the obligation to criminalize in domestic legislation is subject to the constitutional principles and basic concepts of a State's legal system. Art 3(4)(d) of the 1988 Convention makes provision for parties that have created a criminal offence of drug possession, purchase or cultivation for personal consumption to apply measures for the treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation or social reintegration of the offender as an alternative to conviction or punishment pursuant to it.
3 Decriminalization is defined as ‘The removal of sanctions under the criminal law, with optional use of administrative sanctions (e.g., provision of civil fines or court-ordered therapeutic responses)’—C Hughes and A Stevens, ‘What Can We Learn from the Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?’ (2010) 50 British Journal of Criminology 999.
4 N Eastwood et al., A Quiet Revolution: Drug Criminalisation across the Globe (Release 2016).
5 In the United States of America see decisions of the Supreme Court of Hawaii in State v Kanter in 493 F.2d 306 (1972) and the Supreme Court of Alaska in Ravin v State 537 F.2d 494 (1975); in Central America see the Supreme Court of Mexico (first chamber) in Amparo en Revisión 237/2014 (2015), Amparo en revisión 1115/2017 (2018) and Amparo en revisión 623/2017 (2018); in South America see the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Colombia in Decision No. C-221/94 (1994), the Supreme Court of Argentina in A.891 XLIV (2009) and the Supreme Court of Chile in Cespedes R.U.C. N° 1.300.243.332-4 R.I.T. N° 14–2015, Rol 4949–2015 (2015); in South Africa see decision of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in Case CCT 108/17 (2018); in Caucasia see the decision of the Constitutional Court of Georgia in Constitutional Complaint N 1282 (2018) and in Citizen of Georgia Beka Tsikarishvii v the Parliament of Georgia N/5/592 (2015).
6 See, for example, Chile's drug law offence, which expressly excludes proscribed conduct from the criminal law when for the purpose of ‘personal consumption’ (Ley 20,0000) available at <http://bcn.cl/1uuq1>.
7 See Murkin, G, Cannabis Social Clubs in Spain: Legalisation without Commercialisation (Transform 2015)Google Scholar at <http://www.tdpf.org.uk/resources/publications/cannabis-social-clubs-spain-legalisation-without-commercialisation>; Arana, X and Sánchez, V Montañés, ‘Cannabis Cultivation in Spain – The Case of Cannabis Social Clubs’ in Decorte, T, Potter, GR and Bouchard, M, World Wide Weed: Global Trends in Cannabis Cultivation and Its Control (Ashgate 2011)Google Scholar; Jelsma, M, Blickman, T and Bewley-Taylor, D, The Rise and Decline of Cannabis Prohibition: The History of Cannabis in the UN Drug Control System and Options for Reform (TNI 2014)Google Scholar at <http://www.tni.org/rise-and-decline>.
8 The most prominent example is the provision made for cannabis collectives in Uruguayan legislation on cannabis in art 5(f) of Ley 19.172.
9 Persak, N, Criminalising Harmful Conduct: The Harm Principle, Its Limits and Continental Counterparts (Springer 2007)Google Scholar.
10 Duff, A, ‘Theories of Criminal Law’, in Zalta, EN (ed) The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2008)Google Scholar.
12 According to JS Mill, ‘the only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’. Mill, JS, On Liberty and Other Writings, edited by Colloni, S (Cambridge University Press 1989) 13Google Scholar.
13 Nineteenth-century German scholar Birnbaum is acknowledged as the originator of the doctrine, and his purpose in creating it was to facilitate the criminalization of collective goods instead of confining the scope of criminal law to the protection of individual rights. Persak (n 9). See also MD Dubber ‘Theories of Crime and Punishment in German Criminal Law’ (2005) 53 The American Journal of Comparative Law 679–70. For a recent thesis in favour of providing the doctrine a normative role, see MA Álamo Bien Jurídico Penal y Derecho Penal Mínimo de los Derechos Humanos (Ediciones universidad Valladoid 2014).
14 Gray, J, ‘Introduction’ in Mill, JS On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford University Press 1991)Google Scholar.
15 AV Hirsch ‘Foreword’ in Persak (n 9) vi.
16 Persak (n 9).
18 Barrett, D, ‘Harm Reduction Is Not Enough for Supply Side Policy: A Human Rights-Based Approach Offers More’ (2012) 23 International Journal of Drug Policy 16, 19CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed. See also Barrett, D and Nowak, M, ‘The United Nations and Drug Policy: Towards a Human Rights-Based Approach’ in Constantinides, A and Zaikos, N (eds), The Diversity of International Law: Essays in Honour of Professor Kalliopi K. Koufa (Martinus Nijhoff 2009) 449–77Google Scholar.
19 Flacks, S, ‘Drug Control, Human Rights, and the Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health: A Reply to Saul Takahashi’ (2011) 33 HumRtsQ 856–77Google Scholar.
20 A Marks, ‘Legal Perspectives on Drug Trafficking’ in V Mitsilegas, S Hufnagel and A Moiseienko (eds), Research Handbook on Transnational Crime (Edward Elgar, forthcoming).
21 United Nations Conference for the Adoption of a Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, Vienna (25 November–20 December 1988): official records. Vol 2, Summary records of plenary meetings, summary records of meeting of Committee I and Committee II (hereafter UN Conference 1988), Committee 1, 24th meeting, 151 para 13.
22 Art 3(2) of the 1988 Convention.
23 Commission Staff Working Document: Impact Assessment Accompanying the document: Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on new psychoactive substances and proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit trafficking, as regards the definition of drug, Brussels (17 September 2013) SWD(2013) 319, 85, available at <http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/en/ALL/?uri=CELEX:52013SC0319> and Minority Opinion by Maurizio Turco, Marco Cappato and Ilka Shröder, Report on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of drug trafficking (15102/2/2003 – C5-0618/2003 – 2001/0114(CNS)) (Renewed consultation) Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament (23 February 2004) 6, 9. Available at <http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A5-2004-0095+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=pl>.
24 ‘Proposal for a Council Framework Decision laying down Minimum Provisions on the Constituent Elements of Criminal Acts and Penalties in the Field of Illicit Drug Trafficking, submitted by the Commission on 27 June 2001 (2001/C 304 E/03)’ (hereafter 2001 Council Proposal), Official Journal of the European Communities 304 E/172 (30 October 2001).
25 Study on the Legislation and Regulations on Drug Trafficking in the European Member States, European Commission Directorate-General Justice And Home Affairs (February 2001).
26 Proposal for a Council Framework Decision, ibid, Explanatory Memorandum, Commentary on Individual Articles.
27 Proposal for a Council Framework Decision, ibid.
29 Report on the proposal for a Council Framework Decision laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of drug trafficking (15102/2/2003 – C5-0618/2003 – 2001/0114(CNS)) (Renewed consultation) Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament (23 February 2004) 6. Available at <http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+REPORT+A5-2004-0095+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=pl>.
30 Council Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA of 25 October 2004 laying down minimum provisions on the constituent elements of criminal acts and penalties in the field of illicit drug trafficking, Official Journal of the European Union, L 335/8 (11 November 2004).
31 That the final text constituted a political compromise is clear from the Explanatory Statement in the Report of the Committee on Citizens’ Freedoms and Rights, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament in February 2004, which concluded that because of the length of time it took Parliament to reach unanimous agreement, it was ‘politically wiser to accept the framework decision as agreed’ than for further amendments to be tabled, bearing in mind that it was a ‘first small but very decisive step towards the creation of a common judicial space’ and that ‘it is clear that this framework decision does not ask Member States to change their drug policy’.
33 Art 34–343 of the Criminal Code 1944: first introduced in the Criminal Code of 1928.
34 JC Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas: España 1855–1995 (Taurus 1996) 161.
35 STS 1534/1966 de 13 de diciembre de 1966 and STS 995/1972 se 17 de enero de 1972.
36 Ley de 4 de agosto de 1933 de Vagos y Maleantes and Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social de 1970. The first overhaul of the Criminal Code was conducted in 1995, which repealed the Law on Social Danger 1970 (Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social de 1970, Ley 16/1970 de 4 de agosto), several provisions of which had previously been declared unconstitutional by Spain's Constitutional Court. See Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas (n 35) 258–65; Ley Orgánica 10/1995, de 23 noviembre del Código Penal; JL de la Cuesta and I Blanco, ‘Spain: Non-Criminalisation of Possession, Graduated Penalties on Supply’ in N Dorn and A Jamieson (eds), European Drug Laws: The Room for Manoeuvre: Overview of comparative legal research into national drug laws of France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Sweden and their relation to three international drugs conventions (DrugScope 2000).
37 Arts 8 and 22 of Ley 17/1967, de 8 de abril, De Estupefacientes (BOE núm. 86, de 11 abril [RCL 1967, 706]) <https://www.boe.es/eli/es/l/1967/04/08/17>.
38 M Pérez, ‘Breves notas sobre la evolución histórica de los estupefacientes en la legislación española’ 313.
39 Ley 44/1971 de 15 de noviembre, available at <https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/1971/11/16/pdfs/A18415-18419.pdf>.
41 STS 2225/1974; 8 May 1974 and STS 541/1973 de 16 de octubre de 1973 and in accordance with the earlier decisions of the Supreme Court STS 764/1973, 10 October 1973 and STS 245/1974 of 14 February 1974.
42 It is clear from reading the principal doctrinal text on the doctrine of legal goods at the time that the doctrine was considered to serve a heuristic as opposed to a normative role; Navarrete, MP, El bien jurídico en el derecho penal (Universidad de Sevilla 1974)Google Scholar, author's emphasis.
43 Ley de Peligrosidad y Rehabilitación Social de 1970.
44 The national prosecutor subsequently conceded that possession for personal possession remained outside of the criminal law and opined that this would make little difference in practice on account of the tendency amongst consumers to sell drugs to fund their habit: Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas (n 35) 268.
45 For an English text of the Spanish Constitution see GE Gloss, ‘The New Spanish Constitution, Comments and Full Text’ (1979) 7 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 47.
46 Ley Orgánica 9/1983, de 25 de junio, de Reforma Urgente y Parcial del Código Penal, full text available at <https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/1983/06/27/pdfs/A17909-17919.pdf>; see also Gamella, J and Rodrigo, MLJ, ‘A Brief History of Cannabis Policies in Spain (1968–2003)’ (2004) 34 Journal of Drug Issues 630CrossRefGoogle Scholar.
47 Gamella and Rodrigo ibid 630.
48 Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party.
49 Las Provincias, 19 October 1990, 27, cited in Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas (n 35) 302.
50 Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas (n 35) 301–2.
51 Ley Orgánica 1/1992 sobre la Protección de Seguridad Ciudadana. See S Greer, ‘Police Powers in Spain: “The Corcuera Law”’ (1994) 43(2) ICLQ 405–16 for a fascinating account in English of the more general provisions of this law.
52 The People's Party is a conservative and Christian democratic party and is one of the four main political parties.
53 Boletín Oficial de las Cortes Generales, Congreso de los Diputados, núm 219, 8 octubre 1992, 10772–10784.
54 The principle of minimum criminalization acknowledges that the criminal law is the most restrictive and severe of legal instruments and holds that as such, it should only be resorted to where the objective sought is incapable of being achieved by less restrictive means. See Roda, J Córdoba, ‘El principio de intervención mínima en el fenómeno de la expansión de la justicia penal’ in El Derecho En La Factultad: Cuarenta años de la nueva Facultad de Derecho de Barcelona (Marcial Pons 2001)Google Scholar.
55 Ley Orgánica 4/2015, de 30 de marzo, de Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana. It is a new version of Ley Orgánica 1/1992 Protección de la Seguridad Ciudadana.
56 Author's translation of Article 368 of the Criminal Code of Spain.
57 See, for example, JLD Ripollés and J Muñoz Sánchez, ‘Licitud de autoorganización del consumo de drogas’ (2012) 79 Jueces para la democracia 56–60, and STS: 670/1994 (17 March 1994).
58 STS 484/2015, 23.
59 STS 484/2015, 32 and STS 1014/2013, de 12 diciembre and cited at STS 596/2015, 17.
60 STS 397/2016.
61 STS 484/2015, 26.
62 For a comprehensive analysis of the case law, see JD Gómez-Aller, Transmisiones atípicas de drogas: Crítica a la jurisprudencia de la excepcionalidad (Tirant lo Blanch 2012).
63 STS 484/2015, 23.
64 Gómez-Aller, Transmisiones atípicas de drogas (n 63) 17.
65 Coggon, What Makes Health Public? (n 17) 29.
66 Usó, Drogas y Cultura de Masas (n 35) 304–5; see also OP Franquero and JCB Saiz, Innovation Born of Necessity: Pioneering Drug Policy in Catalonia (Open Society Foundations 2015) 14, 34 at <http://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/sites/default/files/20150428-innovation-born-necessity-pioneering-drug-policy-catalonia.pdf>.
67 Ley Orgánica 1/2002, de 22 de marzo, reguladora del Derecho de Asociación.
68 Further and more detailed regional regulations supplement the national legislation.
69 TS 17 November 1997, 3014/1996. For commentary, see A Herrero, ‘El cannabis y sus derivados en el derecho penal español’ (2000) 12 Addicciones 322.
70 Herrero, ‘El cannabis y sus derivados en el derecho penal español’ 322, citing STS 12/12/1990 and STS 17/1/1994.
71 For a detailed account of Spanish legal procedure, see E Merino-Blanco, Spanish Law and Legal System (Sweet and Maxwell 2006) and L Bachmaier and A Del Moral García, Criminal Law in Spain (Kluwer International 2011).
72 See Franquero and Saiz (n 67).
73 Ibid. This approximation is based on estimates given to Parliament, as there are no reliable records on the number of associations in existence; see <http://www.congreso.es/public_oficiales/L10/CORT/DS/CM/DSCG-10-CM-126.pdf>.
74 O Casals and A Marks, ‘La rosa verda: El florecer de los derechos fundamentales en el debate sobre las drogas en España’ in DP Martínez Oró (ed), Las sendas de la regulación del cannabis en España (Ediciones Bellaterra 2017), <http://observatoriocivil.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/30.Oriol-Casals-Amber-Marks.pdf>.
75 Franquero and Saiz (n 67).
76 Resolución 2015R-486-14 del Arateko [Ombudsman] de 9 de febrero de 2015.
77 See, for example, Sánchez, J Muñoz and Navarro, SS, ‘Uso terapéutico del cannabis y creación de establecimientos para su adquisición y consumo: viabilidad legal’ (2000) 47 Boletín Criminológico 1–4Google Scholar; Ripollés and Muñoz Sánchez, ‘Licitud de la autoorganización del consumo de drogas’ (n 58). However, concern was expressed in several quarters that not all of the clubs subscribe to the democratic structures or non-profit nature stipulated by Law 1/2002 on Regulation of the Right to Association or to the good practice guidelines of the federations, which prohibit advertising or active recruitment of new members (necessary to comply with the prohibition on encouraging drug use in art 368). See generally Franquero and Saiz (n 67).
78 For the most comprehensive compilation of such cases, see Fundación Renovatio, Autos y Sentencias Relacionada con la autorganización del Consumo (2013), available upon request from email@example.com, and J Muñoz Sánchez, ‘La Relevancia Penal de Los Clubes Sociales de Cannabis’.
81 See Diario de sesiones de las cortes generales comisiones mixtas año 2014 X legislatura núm. 127 para el estudio del problema de las drogas presidencia del excmo. Sr. D. Gaspar Llamazares Trigo Sesión núm. 20 celebrada el martes 11 de noviembre de 2014 en el Palacio del Congreso de los Diputados at <http://www.congreso.es/public_oficiales/L10/CORT/DS/CM/DSCG-10-CM-127.PDF>.
82 STS 484/2015.
83 STS 755/2015.
84 STS 834/2015.
85 The legal status of the clubs is often described in the Spanish press as one of ‘alegalidad’. The word made its first appearance in the Real Academia Española in 2014 (23rd edn) as a descriptive term for something that is ‘neither regulated nor prohibited’.
86 STS 484/2015, 27.
87 STS 484/2015, 36.
88 STS 484/2015, 35.
89 STS 596/2015, 10.
90 STS 484/2015, 37.
93 Muñoz Sánchez, ‘La Relevancia Penal de Los Clubes Sociales de Cannabis’.
94 J Muñoz Sánchez ‘La relevancia penal de los clubes sociales de cannabis. Análasis jurisprudencial’ in Oró, Las sendas de la regulación del cannabis en España (n 75) 368–9.
95 United Nations, Commentary on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961 275 para 1, at <https://www.unodc.org/documents/treaties/organized_crime/Drug%20Convention/Commentary_on_the_single_convention_1961.pdf>.
97 H Brotons Albert, ‘Principio de proporcionalidad, derechos fundamentales y atipicidad de los CSC’ in Oró, Las sendas de la regulación del cannabis en España (n 75) 464–78.
98 Art 4(c) of the Single Convention 1961.
99 D Bewley-Taylor and M Jelsma, The UN Drug Control Conventions: The Limits of Latitude (TNI 2012) <https://www.tni.org/files/download/dlr18.pdf>.
100 Magistrada Doctora Ana María Ferrer García in STS 3972/2016.
101 STS 484/2015, 18–19.
102 In the Chilean Supreme Court case of Ministerio Publico C/ Paulina Patricia Gonzàlez Cespedes R.U.C. N° 1.300.243.332-4 R.I.T. N° 14–2015 Rol 4949–2015 decided on 4 June 2015, the issue was whether the defendant had been properly convicted of cannabis cultivation pursuant to art 8 of the Law 20.000 (available at <http://bcn.cl/1uuq1>). According to art 8, people who cultivate cannabis without authorization from the Agriculture and Livestock Agency (Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, SAG) will be guilty of a criminal offence unless the cultivation is exclusively for their ‘personal use’ in ‘proximate time’. The defendant, Gonzalez, was a member of a group of public health professionals researching addiction and perception expansion, and Gonzalez cultivated cannabis on behalf of the group for their collective consumption. The issue for Chile's Supreme Court was whether cultivation for consumption by a group falls into the statutory exception for ‘personal use’, and it concluded that it does. The Court's reasoning was similar to that underpinning the doctrine of shared consumption developed in Spain to the extent that the Chilean Supreme Court noted the good protected by the criminal law is public health, and for an offence to be established, the good must actually be threatened, even if not actually harmed. However, unlike the Spanish Supreme Court, the Chilean Court also made specific reference to the right to autonomy in noting that the legislature had respected this right in its provision of the personal use exception from criminalization and that people are free to put their own health at risk; according to the Supreme Court of Chile, this applies as much to collective cultivation as to cultivation by an individual. In Chile, collective cultivation of cannabis will not be a criminal offence when the cannabis is for the consumption of those involved in its cultivation to the exclusion of anyone outside the collective and takes place in private.
103 AM Viens, J Coggon and AS Kessel (eds), Criminal Law, Philosophy and Public Health Practice (Cambridge University Press 2013).
104 D Barrett, ‘A Critique of Human Rights Based Approaches Should Demonstrate an Understanding of Human Rights Based Approaches’ (2012) 23 International Journal of Drug Policy 185–6.
105 H Brotons Albert, ‘Principio de proporcionalidad’ in DP Martínez Oró, Las sendas de la regulación del cannabis en España (n 75).
106 Amparo appeal 237/2014 (n 5) vi.
107 Möller, K, The Global Model of Constitutional Rights (Oxford University Press 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See further Mattias Kumm, whom Möller identifies as the first author to link the philosophical idea of anti-perfectionism to proportionality-based rights analysis: Kumm, M, ‘Political Liberalism and the Structure of Rights: On the Place and Limits of the Proportionality Requirement’ in Pavlakos, G (ed), Law, Rights and Discourse: The Legal Philosophy of Robert Alexy (Hart Publishing 2007) 131Google Scholar as referenced in Möller Kindle location 3400.
108 Amparo appeal 237/2014 (n 5).
109 Prince and others (2017) (n 114).
110 Amparo appeal 237/2014 (n 5) xii–xv.
113 Case No 8760/2013 in the High Court of South Africa (Western Cape Division, Cape Town).
116 Case CCT 108/17.
117 Ministerio Publico C/ Paulina Patricia Gonzàlez Cespedes, para 8 (author's translation).
118 Jehovah's Witness of Moscow & Others v Russia, App No 302/02, Judgment 10 June 2010, para 117.
119 ECtHR, Niemietz v Germany judgment of 16 December 1992, Series A No 251-B.
120 Bloustein, E, ‘Group Privacy: The Right to Huddle’ (1977) 8(3) Rutgers-Camden Law Journal 219Google Scholar.
122 See eg Takahashi, S, Human Rights and Drug Control: The False Dichotomy (Bloomsbury 2016) Kindle edition 4623–7Google Scholar: ‘In sum, there is no foundation for any so-called “right to abuse drugs”. There is nothing in international human rights law that points to such a right, and the only justifications that advocates of drug liberalisation are able to muster on this point consist of classical liberal philosophy from the 19th century and concepts specific to bourgeois Western culture. Such justifications ring somewhat hollow in the ears of most people in the world and are extremely weak grounds on which to stand for organisations or individuals promoting modern international human rights standards.’