EIHA says UN commission not authorized to classify hemp under drug treaty

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The European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) has called for a clear international legal framework for industrial hemp, noting sharply that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UN-CND) is not authorized to classify industrial hemp as a potential narcotic.

“UN-CND is not authorized to classify industrial hemp as a potential narcotic because hemp is not subject to international drug controls under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,” EIHA said in a release. In fact, industrial hemp has never been listed in that document or in the supplementary protocols of 1972, EIHA pointed out.

Absurd witch hunt

“A reference to the Single Convention to justify a witch hunt for hemp products, which unfortunately is still going on, is absurd and lacks any basis,” said Daniel Kruse, EIHA’s President.

EIHA’s statement came as UN-CND concluded its 63rd Session on Narcotic Drugs, and as the Association released “Common position of the hemp industries on the international drug control system,” a paper the Association said provides clear evidence that industrial hemp does not fall within the scope of the 1961 Single Convention. 

The Single Convention is an international treaty (C61) that still forms the basis for worldwide drug control today. Cannabis is defined in the treaty as the “flowering of the fruit.” That means seeds and leaves and all derived products are therefore neither to be classified as drugs nor as medicines, EIHA noted.

Defining hemp

EIHA said industrial hemp should be defined simply as a “cannabis plant with low THC content grown specifically for the industrial use of its non- toxicological derivatives,” while hemp products and extracts should be defined as “non-toxicological products or preparations from cannabis plants with low THC content, grown specifically for industrial use.” 

Hemp products obtained from “flowering and fruiting tops” of cannabis sativa plants should also be considered as exempted on the basis of Article 2(9) of the Single Convention, EIHA noted. The article excludes the use of drugs in industrial sectors for non-medical and non-scientific purposes from the scope of international control. As long as the flowering and fruit-bearing tops are used to obtain hemp products and non-intoxicating substances, they are not covered by the provisions of the Single Convention, the Association said. 

“In view of the enormous global market developments for our products, industrial hemp must finally be decriminalized and do justice to its importance as an agricultural product and valuable industrial plant,” said Lorenza Romanese, EIHA’s Managing Director. “Industrial hemp products are neither drugs or medicines, nor do they lead to abuse or dependence.”

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