And the result of the vote?
It was much closer than you would imagine.
The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on Wednesday accepted a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Recommendation 5.1 went through with the tightest of margins with a majority in favor with 27 votes for, one abstention and 25 votes against.
No major surprises on who voted how but it is worth noting that two very big geopolitical players said no. Turkey & Russia.
China is notable by its absence because it wasn’t one of the 53 on the commission and India interestingly said yes.
But…. and it is a big but
Recommendation 5.2 to move THC from the 1971 convention to the 1961 treaty failed to win the body’s approval, with 23 votes in favor, two abstentions and 28 votes against.
Before we all get too excited it isn’t going to change thinking in some governments even if they did say yes to to the re-scheduling
Britain’s delegate said that the reclassification was “in line with the scientific evidence of its therapeutic benefits” but that the country still strongly supported international controls for cannabis, adding that marijuana presented “serious public health risks.”
How they voted
After approving Recommendation 5.1 on Wednesday, member states proceeded to vote on five other proposals:
- Recommendation 5.2 to move THC from the 1971 convention to the 1961 treaty failed to win the body’s approval, with 23 votes in favor, two abstentions and 28 votes against.
- Recommendations 5.3 and 5.6 were tied to the approval of Recommendation 5.2. Because 5.2 was turned down, those two recommendations were rejected without a vote.
- Recommendation 5.6 was about placing certain THC pharmaceutical preparations in Schedule III of the 1961 treaty.
- Recommendation 5.4 – a proposal to delete “extracts and tinctures of cannabis” from the 1961 treaty – was rejected with 24 votes in favor, two abstentions and 27 against. But according to the WHO’s explanation of the recommendation, it is simply meant to eliminate a duplicity and does not seek “to decrease the level of control of any cannabis-related substance or narrow the scope of control.”
- Recommendation 5.5 was rejected with six votes in favor, four abstentions and 43 against. This recommendation represents a missed opportunity to clarify the confusing legal situation for CBD preparations with traces of THC. The proposal was drafted in an ambiguous way, and the WHO’s responses to member states’ questions about this recommendation over the past two years added confusion.
Press Statement 23 November 2020
On December Second of 2020 the United Nations holds a brief conference to vote in relation to the scheduling of cannabis. Here you can find the votes on recommendation 5.1 – 5.3.2 Votings on recommendation 5.4 to 5.6 you can find in Part 2 of this video
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