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United Nations Chief to Reconsider International Cannabis Control Treaties




A United Nations chief argued whether international cannabis policies are outdated on Feb. 27 during the International Narcotics Control Board’s (INCB) 2019 annual report. INCB President Cornelis P. de Joncheere discussed the developments taking place with regard to cannabis and synthetic drugs.

The time is overdue for changes in international cannabis policy, beginning at the source. “We have some fundamental issues around the conventions that state parties will need to start looking at,” de Joncheere said, adding, “We have to recognize that the conventions were drawn up 50 and 60 years ago.”

Joncheere added that 2021 is “an appropriate time to look at whether those are still fit for purpose, or whether we need new alternative instruments and approaches to deal with these problems.”

MJBizDaily reports that the INCB “is the most authoritative international institution on drug policy–and also the most conservative in its interpretation of the conventions,” according to Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent expert on U.N. drug policy.

“Having the head of the INCB suggesting that the conventions are not fit for the challenges of the 21st century is already breaking a strong taboo,” Riboulet-Zemouli added.

The inaugural 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs took place nearly 60 years ago, where drug policies were drawn up that would define how countries handle medical and illicit drugs for decades.

The latest INCB 2019 report however argued, as it does each year, that recreational cannabis conflicts with international drug control treaties.

The INCB is scheduled to gather next week in Vienna, Austria to discuss the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendations on cannabis. “One thing is certain: If the CND rejects the recommendations of WHO on cannabis, the divide between governments will increase,” Riboulet-Zemouli said. “If the deadlock surrounding cannabis policy reform persists in the coming years, it will likely accelerate the end of the policy regime of the conventions as a whole.”