The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) failed to reschedule cannabis at the 61st Session in Vienna, Austria, last month, bucking the expectations of activists. Per an anticipated recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO), many believed the CND would remove tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from Schedules I and IV, and make the cannabinoid a Schedule II, or perhaps deschedule it all together. Fentanyl, tramadol, and synthetic cannabinoids were castigated by all, but cannabis containing more than one percent THC will remain a topic of debate until March 2019. That’s when the CND reconvenes to update UN narcotics conventions from 1961, 1971, and 1988 that guide drug policies for member states.
UN narcotic conventions recognize that cannabis, opium poppy, and coca leaf can be used for medical purposes, but mandate that signatories work to eliminate illicit cultivation. The WHO serves as an advisor to the CND by assessing the dangers “of prevalent and harmful psychoactive substances” on an annual basis. Representing the WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, Gilles Forte broke the news.
“As far as cannabis is concerned, the necessary clearance process is ongoing,” Forte said. “I regret that I must inform you that the necessary clearance process to communicate this information could