If WHO Recommends Rescheduling Cannabis, Will Illegal Countries Fall In Line?

Emily Robertson October 17, 2018 0 comments

With WHO rumored to be pushing to change the international status of cannabis in order to recognize its medical potential.

Editor’s Note: In early 2019, the WHO recommended the CND reschedule cannabis and that THC be removed from Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1971) and added to Schedule I of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961). Further, it recommended CBD that is less than 0.2% THC no longer be considered a drug. This codifies the medicinal value of cannabis. This article has been archived and will receive no further updates.

Welcome to the Age of Cannabis! While our pro-cannabis advocates grow in number, cannabis remains a federally scheduled drug with no medicinal value, in America. As an added bit of pressure, there is the potential international rescheduling of cannabis.

Rescheduling by WHO’s ECDD

This starts with a rescheduling decision by WHO, which will convene for a summit in Geneva. Right now, U.N. international treaties have scheduled cannabis in the equivalent of a Schedule I drug. The designation indicates a drug that is addictive with no potential for medical benefit.

Significantly, various UN nations have already legalized CBD. It’s not a giant leap to take the next step in international treaties. Unfortunately, some nations (like the Philippines) use the U.N. scheduling as a reason to continue strict anti-cannabis laws.

Some UN members, like Canada, bypassed these international treaties to legalize cannabis. Importantly, however, a review of cannabis on an international front removes the ability to maintain criminalization of cannabis. But before you get your hopes up about the poll, this national survey is more of preparation measure than anything else.

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If WHO decides to reschedule cannabis, then the American government needs to have a response prepared. A citizen poll will help them do that.

Cannabis advocates are skeptical that the nation’s opinion will do anything to change legislative opinions. Kate Bell, of the Marijuana Policy Project in the U.S., told Rolling Stone: “We don’t know how much our comments will inform what they say to the WHO.” She explained it as more a formality than respect for the general national opinion.

Preparation for the Poll

Regardless of Attorney General Session’s negative outlook on cannabis, MPP is compiling as much evidence as they can on the benefits of cannabis. Decades of research may sway the government in a positive direction. Kate Bell says that their main concern is to show that legalization has no, or minimal, public health risks, particularly on teenagers.

Is Global Legalization on the Horizon?

While some political analysts predict that Trump could back bills to legalize cannabis on a federal level, this too must come with some skepticism.

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First, general lightening of federal treatment of cannabis ‘crimes’ began under President Obama, who, for a variety of reasons, could not achieve federal legalization. Trump stepping forward to legalize is on much sturdier and more accepting ground.

Second, there’s no doubt that this is pre-campaign prep. If he is the one who finally reschedules cannabis, he may win over more votes than he would have otherwise given his controversial policies.

Third, and this is most significant, President Trump is unpredictable. There’s no knowing when his plans will change, when he’ll follow through with promises, or just deny they’ve ever occurred. So, until there’s a bill in place, it’s tough to know if legalization is realistically on the docket.

America May Soon See Federal Legalization

That said, it is time to have some hope. Certain Republican leaders have suddenly flipped sides on the cannabis issue as they see support slipping away. For instance, Republican Californian Representative Dana Rohrabacker, has shown complete support with federal legalization of medical cannabis. He explained that Trump has also spoken in support of this, and post-medical legalization, it would be at each state’s discretion to legalize (or not) recreational cannabis.

It’s tough to know if Rohrabacker is genuinely pushing for this, or if he’s trying to gain support. He told FoxBusiness, “I would expect after the election we will sit down and we’ll start hammering out something that is specific and real.” It’s a good cliff-hanger to encourage votes to help him keep his seat.

Either way, it may mean that reclassification is on the way! Here in Canada, we don’t have to worry too much about that anymore – except, of course, with border crossings. One thing can’t be denied: It’s an exciting time in the Age of Cannabis!

Author avatar

Emily Robertson

Emily Robertson has been writing freelance and contract work since 2011. She has written on a variety of topics, including travel writing of North America and the growing legalized cannabis industry across the globe. Robertson has a master’s degree in literature and gender studies, and brings this through in her writing by always trying to explore different perspectives. Born and raised in southwestern Ontario, Robertson moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 2016 to undergo her doctorate in Scottish Literature. She lives in the West End with her dog, Henley.

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