WHO to reclassify cannabis under the UN treaties

The World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommended the reclassification of Cannabis under the UN drug treaties

Press Release

1 February 2019

No Embargo

 

The World Health Organisation’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommended the reclassification of Cannabis under the UN drug treaties, following a lengthy review process. In a letter yet to be made public, the ECDD key recommendations are that:

 

  • Cannabis be removed from the most restrictive schedule IV – but remain under schedule I
    Cannabis is currently designated under both schedule I and IV. Schedule IV indicates any medical uses are outweighed by abuse potential – so the removal from IV acknowledges the medical usefulness of cannabis and removes the default treaty recommendation that medical uses be prohibited

 

  • CBD not be subject in international controls
    This recommendation would end international legal confusion around CBD (CBD is the a non-psychoactive component of cannabis that has certain medical uses). As well as deleting the category of ‘extracts and tinctures’ from Schedule I, the ECDD recommend that CBD not be subject to controls under the treaty (if it contains less than 0.2% THC – the main psychoactive component in cannabis)      

Hopes that cannabis might be moved from schedule I (alongside heroin and cocaine), into a lower schedule more appropriate to its risks, have, however, been dashed, despite the committee noting (in an annex to the letter) that they “did not consider that cannabis is associated with the same level of risk to health of most of the other drugs that have been placed in Schedule I “   

 

Transform’s Senior policy analyst, Steve Rolles, commented:

 

“The recommendations are a welcome and overdue acknowledgement of the medical usefulness of cannabis. But it is disappointing the committee have recommended cannabis remain in schedule 1 alongside heroin, cocaine and other demonstrably more risky drugs, despite stating clearly that it does not belong there based on their own risk assessment.

 

Scheduling should be based on an objective science – and the decision for the recommendation to not follow their own scientific assessment of relative risks points to political interference in their decision making process. This is very troubling for an independent scientific body”

 

Contact

Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation: (+44)07980213 943, steve@transformdrugs.org

 

Notes to editors

2019-05-07T16:59:11+00:00

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