Advocates Descend Upon Annual Meeting of the CND in Vienna

March 13, 2018 | Steph Sherer

This week the United Nations (UN) Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has their annual meetings in Vienna. The CND is responsible for implementing international drug control treaties as well as the scheduling of drugs. The CND makes decisions about scheduling new substances as well as changing the scheduling. The CND base these decisions on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO makes their recommendations on the scheduling of drugs only after the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) prepares a critical review document.

Today’s agenda for the CND delegation includes the “Implementation of the international drug control treaties,” where they will discuss “changes in the scope of controlled substances” and “international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion.”

It is not clear which substances they will be discussing. However, the UN is following WHO’s recommendation and will not be voting on CBD’s international scheduling status. In December 2017, the ECDD released a critical review document on CBD that stated, “in its pure state, cannabidiol does not appear to have abuse potential or cause harm” and recommended to the UN that it remain out of the scheduling scheme all together.

Cannabis, including medical cannabis and its resin, is currently classified as Schedule I in the U.S. and IV under the UN Single Convention. This scheduling was determined based on a report created by the Health Committee of the League of Nations in 1935. The ECDD is currently working on 4 critical review documents on cannabis that will be discussed at the 40th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) June 4-8, 2018 at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. This is a special session on cannabis that will include the following “pre-reviews:”

  • Cannabis plant and cannabis resin
  • Extracts and tinctures of cannabis
  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Isomers of THC

The outcome of these reports will be presented by the WHO to the CND in future meetings. The CND is made up 53 member states (see breakdown below). Currently 22 CND delegations are from countries with medical cannabis laws.

(a) Eleven for African States*

(b) Eleven for Asian States*

(c) Ten for Latin American and Caribbean States*

(d) Six for Eastern European States

(e) Fourteen for Western European and other States

Algeria

Afghanistan

Argentina

Belarus

Australia

Burkina Faso

China

Brazil

Croatia

Austria

Cameroon

India

Chile

Czech Republic

Belgium

Côte d’Ivoire

Israel

Colombia

Kyrgystan

Canada

Democratic Republic of Congo 

Iran

Cuba

Russian Federation

France

Kenya

Iraq

Ecuador

Slovakia

Germany

Mauritania

Japan

El Salvador

 

Hungary

South Africa 

Pakistan

Guatemala

 

Italy

Sudan

Qatar

Mexico

 

Netherlands

Togo

Republic of Korea 

Peru

 

Norway

Uganda

Thailand

Uruguay

 

Spain

 

 

 

 

Switzerland

 

 

 

 

Turkey

 

 

 

 

United States

Breakdown of Committee on Narcotic Drugs. Countries in blue have national medical cannabis laws, green have pending laws, and nations that are not highlighted do not have a functioning national medical cannabis program.

 *One seat to rotate between the Asian, and the Latin American and Caribbean States every four years



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