Delayed UN vote on cannabis rescheduling will affect hemp

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Informal negotiations held in Vienna ahead of this week’s 63rd Session of the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UN-CND) have led to an agreement to delay a critical international vote that could have given governments clear guidance as they establish regulations for hemp-based products including plant-derived CBD and other extracts, CND Monitor has reported.

Talks held ahead of the week-long session led to the decision to delay a UN-CND vote on World Health Organization recommendations that cannabis preparations for medical use with negligible THC content (less than 0.2%) be removed from the scope of international narcotics control régime. That issue got caught up in the broader matter of rescheduling of cannabis by the international body.

A vote on cannabis rescheduling is now set for the next session of the UN-CND Dec. 3-4, 2020, also in Vienna.

CBD sessions this week

Despite the vote delay, this week’s 63rd Session of the UN-CND features at least two seminar presentations that will look specifically at issues surrounding CBD. Community Alliances for a Drug-Free Youth will present “Challenges Posed by CBD Products Manufactured for Widespread Public Consumption on Tuesday morning, March 3. On Wednesday, the Foundation for Latin-American Reform and the Stichting International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service will make a presentation entitled “Political Consequences of thinking ‘Medical Cannabis’ vs ‘Therapeutic use of Cannabinoids.

The opening session will be addressed by Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Cornelis de Joncheere, President of the International Narcotics Control Board, and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, as well as statements from representatives of regional groups.

Other resolutions

Resolutions under consideration by the Commission address such topics as strengthening partnerships with the private sector and improving the collection and analysis of data to enhance evidence-based responses to the world drug problem; involving youth in drug prevention efforts; ensuring the access to and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes; and promoting alternative development approaches to illegal crop cultivation. 

More than 2,000 participants from Member States, parliaments, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, and the scientific community are expected to attend this week’s session, which features more than 100 side events on topics ranging from generation equality to prevention; treatment and care of people with drug use disorders; countering synthetic drug threats; the fight against drug trafficking; alternative development for sustainable livelihoods; research and data on drug supply and trafficking; and youth participation in drug use prevention.

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