In November, the United Nations will perform a deep review of cannabis’ scheduling status under the 1962 Single Convention treaty, which coordinates international drug laws.
The UN World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence found in a pre-review two months ago that there was sufficient scientific evidence to support a full critical review of cannabis’ status, the first part of a multi-step review process.
The review will consider cannabis from multiple scientific viewpoints with epidemiological and pharmacological analyses.
Thankfully the World Health Organization has accepted the challenge of evaluating the placement of cannabis in the 1962 Single Convention treaty. Cannabis placement in the treaty was done in the absence of scientific evaluation and has provided the basis for a moral campaign against drugs by the USA for many decades.
Since work on medical access to cannabis has been based upon scientific inquiry we know that any rational assessment of the evidence leads the observer to understand cannabis indeed has proven medicinal value and, compared to other medicines, has profoundly fewer negative side effects.
After the full review in November, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will receive the committee’s report and bring the issue to the UN floor. By the way, Guterres was prime minister of Portugal in 2001 when Portugal decriminalized the possession of small amounts of all drugs, including cannabis.
If the UN decides to reschedule cannabis, this would trigger a U.S. Federal review of the plant’s scheduling. For poor countries like Zambia, Federal rescheduling of cannabis would signal lost opportunity to maximize economic benefits from cannabis business.
ISSUED BY PETER SINKAMBA, PRESIDENT, GREEN PARTY
16 AUGUST, 2018