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UN to vote next month on decriminalizing cannabis

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNCND) is to vote on 2 December 2020 whether THC should be declassified as a banned substance. The vote has far-reaching implications for global consumers and directly affects products such as Marinol, Syndros and Sativex.

This is in line with a recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO), which is calling for all forms of THC to be removed from the Drug Convention of 1961. It wants cannabis and THC to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the least restrictive classification. Pharmaceutical medications would be placed in Schedule 3.

The vote among the 53 participating member states has twice been delayed.

After being introduced by the WHO in January 2019, the first decision to delay came down in February 2019 when several member nations, including the United States requested more time for consideration.

The body was meant to vote in March this year but the meeting ws deferred until December because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the delays, Jessica Steinberg, a University of Oxford PhD student in socio-legal studies with a speciality in cannabis activism, believes the vote will occur this time around.

Steinberg, a UN delegate at the Commission of Narcotic Drugs, calls the first-time evaluation and consultation of cannabis historic.

She highlighted the CBD parameters of particular interest

“As if agreed upon, it would be the first cannabinoid to not be included in the treaties and would welcome global trade flows,” Steinberg stated.

The CBD is also of interest as it is a separate vote from the other recommendations. A simple majority is needed for it to pass.

That said, the vote is anything but assured to pass. Steinberg said it faces a myriad of issues ranging from socioeconomics to legal and bureaucratic hurdles among the member nations.

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