HISTORIC VOTE: United Nations approves WHO recommendation to reschedule cannabis

Sometimes a ripple can turn into a wave. This week ILC celebrates 5 years of supporting the Cannabis and Hemp industry. On Wednesday, 12/2/2020, The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) accepted a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Here is the original draft on what was being voted on: Scheduling recommendations of the World Health Organization (Expert Committee on Drug Dependence) on cannabis and cannabis-related substances.

It ended up passing by one vote, here is the press statement released on December 2nd, CND votes on recommendations for cannabis and cannabis-related substances. How did the member countries vote:

These amendments were years in the making as they were first presented over two years ago. Drugs in Schedule IV of the 1961 treaty – where, until this vote, cannabis sat alongside heroin – are a subset of those already in Schedule I. This is impactful because many countries mirror the U.N. scheduling in their legislation, it could lead those countries to re-evaluate de-scheduling and remove roadblocks in using cannabis in medical research projects.

This could also have an influence on how Cannabis scheduled on the US Controlled Substance Act (CSA). In order for Cannabis to be federally legal in the U.S. it would need to first be rescheduled or rescheduled from the CSA. The DEA announced in August 2016 that marijuana will remain a Schedule I drug which means that it has no currently accepted medical use in the United States, it lacks an accepted safety use under medical supervision and it has a high potential for abuse. This decision was based, in part, on the conclusion by the Department of Health and Human Services that marijuana has no “currently accepted medical use” and there are “no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.”

It’s ironic that 35 states have now passed a medical marijuana program that has been helping patients for years.

The goal of the CSA is to improve the manufacturing, importation and exportation, distribution, and dispensing of controlled substances. To achieve this goal, manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers of controlled substances must be registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the agency charged with enforcement of the Act on the federal level. Registration of these entities with the DEA results in the formation of a “closed system” for controlled substances distribution. This closed system allows for controlled substances to be traced from initial manufacture to final dispensing to the patient.

This is a table from the NCBI (The National Center for Biotechnology Information) showing definitions of each schedule with corresponding examples of medications.

Cannabis needs more research that is unrestricted so that documented studies can be done without having to get special permission from the DEA and allow more than one university, the University of Mississippi, to perform research on the plant.

The other international event that happended this past week is the EU Parliment voted to add the .o3% THC limit for Hemp, where it used to be .02%. This is another ripple in what is happening in the industry.

When you see these activities happening internationally, it is a sign that things are changing. 2021 will be an interesting year for cannabis in the United States. These ripples may start turning into waves and new changes happening at the federal level.

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