The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs was expected to vote this week on the World Health Organization’s recommendation to reschedule cannabis under global drug treaties, a long-awaited move that would shift how international markets engage one another in cannabis trade.
That’s not happening, however, as the vote has been delayed for a second time amid significant debate.
The UN Commission is now looking to a possible vote in December 2020.
The WHO recommended last year that the UN Commission remove cannabis from its list of banned substances and reschedule the plant as a pharmaceutical drug. If approved, this move would open the door to more feasible international trade and research.
In January, Somai Pharmaceuticals Chairman of the Board Michael Sassano (based in Ireland), told Cannabis Business Times that European Union member nations were urging this planned March vote. Some countries in Europe already regulate medical cannabis as a pharmaceutical drug, and the WHO recommendations would only align international policy with those specific national rules.
“Basically, the removal of cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV means that it has medicinal value, but it is still Schedule I, meaning it is a narcotic and handled as such through pharmacies,” Sassano said.
Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst for Transform Drug Policy Foundation, is tweeting from the UN Commission hearing today. Follow along here.
Interestingly the chair is blaming a ‘lack of understanding’ of the recommendations by member states, rather than actual objections to them – which is not really the case. Many member states, from both sides, have material objections to either science or process.
— Steve Rolles (@SteveTransform) March 4, 2020