A third of patients with Gp symptoms actively use cannabinoids for their chronic symptoms. Most of these patients perceive improvement in their symptoms with cannabinoids. Patients taking cannabinoids were younger and more symptomatic than those not taking cannabinoids. Further studies on the efficacy and safety of cannabinoids in Gp will be useful.
Geneva, Switzerland: Members of the World Health Organization (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence have proposed amending the classification of cannabis under international law.
According to reporting in the British Medical Journal, the WHO policy reversal “takes account of the growing evidence for the medical applications of the drug,” and marks the first time that the agency has reviewed its stance on cannabis in nearly 60 years.
The recommended changes, outlined in a letter by WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, call for cannabis to be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive classification under the treaty. Instead, the committee advises that whole-plant cannabis and THC be designated as Schedule I controlled substances under international law.
“The current [international] scheduling of cannabis is as strict as that for heroin,” the BMJ summarizes. “[T]he Committee believes that keeping cannabis at that level of control would severely restrict access to and research on potential therapies derived from the plant.”
In a separate recommendation, the Committee reiterated its 2017 request that preparations containing “pure cannabidiol … and not more than 0.2 percent of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol” no longer be scheduled within the international drug conventions.
The Committee’s policy recommendations now await action from the 53 participating members states of the United Nation’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. The Commission is anticipated to vote on the issue in March.
In October, NORML delivered over 10,000 public comments to the US Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to recommend that WHO reschedule cannabis internationally.
For more information, contact Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.
On Wednesday, February 13th, 2019, the European Union voted on and passed a resolution to further the efforts of medical cannabis legalization in the countries that make it up. The vote comes after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that cannabis be reclassified under the international treaties system to a less severe Schedule-1.
DETAILS OF THE EU MEDICAL CANNABIS RESOLUTION
Though countries will not be required to adhere to the resolution’s language, its details are promising. According to Forbes, the resolution, “seeks to incentivize European nations to increase access to medical marijuana, prioritizing scientific research and clinical studies.”
While the European Union resolution suggests countries take steps to increase medical cannabis access and research, it does not actually change any countries laws. The main goal of the resolution is clearly to increase access to medical cannabis for research purposes, an idea many have argued in favor of. The resolution states that research should be conducted about, “the possible uses of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids for medical treatment, as well as their effects on the human body, including lessons drawn from the experience of off-label prescribing of cannabis.”
The influence of the World Health Organization on the European Union’s resolution regarding cannabis is clear. The resolution, “Stresses the importance of close cooperation and coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) in connection with further EU steps in the field of medical cannabis.”
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE CANNABIS COMMUNITY
Europe features multiple countries with massive economies that lead the world in various industries. While some countries in the EU have more lax laws, cannabis has been considered illegal continent-wide since its outset. The new European Union medical cannabis resolution will help begin the process of making the EU and its member countries a force to be reckoned with in the cannabis industry.
At the moment, America and Canada are considered the leaders in terms of medical cannabis legalization. Cannabis is completely legal in Canada and more than 30 U.S. states have legalized the medicinal use of cannabis. To this point, the European Union has lagged behind those two countries in terms of both research and access to medical cannabis. With the passage of the new cannabis resolution, the European Union will now have a chance to catch up.
As the 2020-presidential election draws ever closer, potential candidates are making their positions on a number of issues public. Many Democrats are positioning themselves as ultra-progressive and most are open in their support of full cannabis legalization. In the last few days, California Senator Kamala Harris embraced and expanded on her full support of federal cannabis legalization.
HARRIS’ EVOLVING VIEWS
In a recently released book, Harris expressed her support for federal cannabis legalization. She also admitted to smoking cannabis and “inhaling” when she was younger. In her new book, Harris wrote,
“We need to legalize marijuana and regulate it.” Harris continued by calling for, “…expunging nonviolent marijuana-related offenses from the records of the millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”
Kamala Devi Harrisis an American attorney and politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from California since 2017. A member of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the 32nd Attorney General of California from 2011 to 2017, and as the 27th District Attorney of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011.
Those positions, while progressive and exciting for many cannabis consumers and members of the cannabis industry, have not always been what Harris believes in. During her tenure as San Francisco District Attorney in 2010, Harris was open in opposition to the legalization of cannabis in California. She told reporters,
“that drug selling harms communities.”
While hypocrisy regarding the legalization of cannabis is more rule than exception when it comes to American politicians, the fact that Harris has now shifted her views to align with those of the American people is optimistic to say the least.
WHY CANDIDATES ARE PROMOTING CANNABIS LEGALIZATION
The American electorate has rapidly evolving views. One thing that is becoming apparent is that they support the legalization of cannabis more than ever before. Gallup found that, “Sixty-six percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, another new high in the trend over nearly half a century.” Gallup also found that surprisingly, a majority of Republicans now support the legalization of cannabis. With 53% of Republicans and 75% of Democrats now supporting legalization, it is clear that politicians must appeal to the masses and work to legalize cannabis use federally.
Kamala Harris is an early favorite for the Democratic nomination in a field of more than 20 possible candidates. She will continue to push a progressive agenda with policies like federal cannabis legalization and criminal justice reform at the forefront. For those who look to make cannabis a safe to use and non-criminal plant, Harris may be a solid option for the presidency.
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