WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) has recommended a number of changes in the current scheduling of cannabis-related substances under the UN drug control conventions.
The ECDD believes that time has come to acknowledge the medicinal benefits of cannabis and thus it should be removed from the Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs, implying that cannabidiol (CBD) is not under international control.
However, the list of recommendations leaves many questions unanswered in terms of levels of control for different types of medical cannabis preparations. The governments, therefore, should not accept the reforms without any scrutiny as doing so might set a damaging precedent for the future.
The drawbacks of the ECDD recommendations also point that even far greater progress in bringing the UN drug treaties’ cannabis scheduling in line with modern science will be highly unlikely to clear the road for legal regulation of recreational cannabis.
A number of governments have already requested for more time to examine the WHO recommendation before they cast their votes. As a result, voting has been postponed until the reconvened CND session in December 2019 or the next regular CND session in March 2020.