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Conference Targets UN to Change Cannabis Policy

If we miss this chance, then we may not have another window of opportunity, on the world stage, for many years
What are you doing this December ? If you are a cannabis user or a sympathizer to the potential of the plant as a medicinal aid or a sustainable material, then we strongly recommend you head for Vienna to make your voice heard at the International Cannabis Policy Conference, December 7 -9th.

Why ? Because next month the Austrian capital is going to be the focus of drug policy decisions, to be voted on by UN member states, that will affect the world’s stance on cannabis for the next decade. In the same week, and just down the road from the ICPC, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), is holding a session regarding cannabis policy. At this session they will receive the scheduling recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO) on CBD and cannabis.

This is significant because it is the last meeting of Member State countries, focusing on cannabis policy, before a UN session in March where Cannabis Treaty scheduling and the 2019-2029 plan of action will be debated and voted on. So it’s now or never for external stakeholders to contribute to the debate and the organisers of the International Cannabis Policy Conference want to rally the cannabis scene with a resounding call : “NOW is the right time to show up !”

Hana Gabrielová, a member of the cannabis policy think tank FAAAT, which is organising the conference organisers, says, “This is a historical moment for the cannabis movement and what happens in the next few months could have a significant impact on the future of cannabis policy at a global level. In the first week of December this issue will be right under the noses of UN members and we have to show them that there are many reasons for change.”

The conference is a magnet for people involved – or who want to be involved – in pushing for an alteration to the UN policy of cannabis prohibition that has been dogmatically pursued since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and without scientific background. Delegates will include scholars, NGOs, officials and civil servants from UN agencies and governments and of course representatives from the European hemp and cannabis scene.

“If we miss this chance,” says Hana, “then we may not have another window of opportunity, on the world stage, for many years. We have been living in an era of prohibition since the 1961 convention, which has been an obstacle to advancing the regulation of cannabis. However, times are changing. The World Health Organisation began its critical review process two years ago (following the 2016 UNGASS meeting) and since then more countries have legalised cannabis for medical and also recreational use. The classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, and its strict control, no longer fits the reality of the world we are living in today.”

To understand what a pivotal moment the 2019 meeting could be, we should first take a quick look back in history to a convention that was drafted by the UN – almost 60 years ago. The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 is the reason why cannabis remains illegal across many parts of the world today.

It was an international treaty that extended the control of existing substances, coca and opium (and their derivatives such as cocaine and heroin) to include cannabis. Once on that blacklist, a list signed up to by UN members, cannabis became an international public enemy number 1, quashing reasonable debate and, with few exceptions, changes to national laws allowing its use.

Within the Single Convention, Article 36 binds parties to adopt and enforce measures against the “cultivation, production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, possession, offering, offering for sale, distribution, purchase, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transport, importation and exportation of drugs contrary to the provisions of this Convention.” In other words this Article provided a catch all provision for prohibitionist policy regarding cannabis.

The 1961 Single Convention set n international agenda that would focus on the eradication of drugs. This atmosphere was crystallised through the rhetoric and actions related to the ‘War on Drugs’, a policy aggressively promoted by President Richard Nixon in the early 1970s and a succession of US presidents until it slowed during the presidency of Barack Obama.

However, in the past four years, we have seen changes that could not be imagined at the beginning of the decade and the 2018 legalization pronouncements in California, but more significantly in Canada, a G7 nation, could provide the tipping point. With just these two blocs accounted for, 77 million people now have the legal right to consume cannabis medically and recreationally.

Voir en ligne : Weed World Magazine

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