The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs May Consider Removing Cannabis from Schedule IV on Dec. 2

ASA Urges the U.S. to Adopt the World Health Organization’s Recommendations 

Washington, DC -- On December 2, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) will meet in Vienna, Austria and may consider adopting the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations to remove cannabis and its resin from Schedule IV under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 among other ground breaking recommendations. The placement in Schedule IV indicates that cannabis is dangerous and lacks therapeutic importance. It was not based on scientific evidence.

Made up of 53 member countries, the CND is responsible for implementing international drug control treaties as well as the scheduling of drugs. The CND is supposed to base these decisions on recommendations from the WHO, which includes scientists from countries all around the world. In January 2019, the WHO determined in one of the recommendations that cannabis and cannabis resin should be removed from Schedule IV of the Single Convention

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and its program, the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC), has been fighting to reschedule cannabis at the United Nations for a combined total of 18 years. While the US may have originally led the charge to make cannabis illegal, ASA and IMCPC applaud the U.S. government’s statement offered during the March 2020 CND meeting when James A. Walsh, the head of the U.S. Delegation to the CND, said: “We support the role of the WHO to recommend changes in international control based on their scientific, evidence-based assessments of risks of abuse, dependence, and harm to health of substances." 

“On behalf of millions of medical cannabis patients in the country, we strongly urge the United States to honor its commitment to upholding the WHO’s recommendations,” said Steph Sherer, president and founder of Americans for Safe Access and the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition.

“If the WHO’s recommendations are adopted by the CND, countries that currently provide  access to cannabis or medical cannabis to its inhabitants will no longer be violating international treaties.

“Moreover, countries that have not yet provided access to cannabis will no longer be able to use this archaic Scheduling as an excuse to block medical cannabis reform.

“Correcting the placement of cannabis in Schedule IV would help the world move past some of the harms inflicted on medical cannabis patients, including incarceration, fines, and negative stigma,” said Sherer.

A program of ASA, the International Medical Cannabis Patients Coalition (IMCPC) is the largest coalition of medical cannabis patient organizations across the world. It was formed to increase access to safe cannabis for patients worldwide through reforming United Nations policies and urging country governments to pass medical cannabis laws in their respective countries.