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I am in New York this week to take part at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) where leaders from all over the world are joining together to discuss global drug policies, including what to do about medical Cannabis. This historic meeting will produce important ramifications for national and international medical Cannabis policy.
I am here with members of the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC), and we are meeting with UN officials in order to help in the effort of making UNGASS 2016 the starting point for the change in the scheduling status of Cannabis.
The world leaders that are conveying in New York this week are the people who can make the changes needed to move global policy forward. Our understanding of the therapeutic value and safety of Cannabis has greatly changed since the last reschedule took place in 1935. Policy makers can now take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for Cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs when forming international and domestic policies.
In Vienna March, 2016, UN officials created an Outcome Document to set international priorities for drug policy. With a shared commitment to moving global policy forward, ASA and IMCPC have created a 1-page document that ties cannabis into the international priorities for drug policy Outcome Document. Cannabis must be rescheduled in order to meet the objective of “ensuring the availability of and access to controlled substances exclusively for medical and scientific purposes.”
The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) makes decisions on scheduling of substances based on recommendations from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD). However, any member state can create a pathway for a critical review by invoking their rights under Article 3, paragraph 1 of the SingleConvention Treaty of 1961. Article 3, paragraph 1 states "Where a Party or the WHO has information which in its opinion may require an amendment to any of the Schedules, it shall notify the UN Secretary-General and furnish him with the information in support of the notification."
We will accomplish our goal by making sure that every delegate from the 180 nations represented receive our groundbreaking report that was prepared for the CND. This report, peer-reviewed at ASA’s annual conference in March, answers important scientific questions about medical cannabis, and outlines a pathway towards international reform. Attached to this report will be the 1-page Moving Global Cannabis Policy Forward document. http://www.safeaccessnow.org/critical_review.
We are using this time in New York to make every effort possible to reach out to those who can help make Cannabis available for all patients worldwide.