CND second intersessional meeting- 8 October 2020

Chair: Welcome. In terms of good health and well being, at a time when all over the world we are facing serious challenge due to the COVID19 and its resulting restrictions, my best wishes from our team here. Before we proceed forward in today’s important meeting on the agenda, I would like to give the floor to the Secretariat.

Secretariat: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and also from my side, a warm welcome. Here at the Vienna International Centre, and especially also considering that cases here also are on the rise in Austria, I would really like to once more urge you to comply with regulations in the interest of the health of all participant. For more detailed information I would like to invite you once more to consult the guidelines for meetings in the Vienna International Centre, that were shared ahead of this meeting, and that are also available in hardcopy at the back of the room. So with this Mr Chair, I would like to hand over again to you. Thank you.

Chair: Now we move forward in our meeting, and before going to the adoption of the agenda, since many of our participants have joined us virtually, I would like to reiterate once again with the request through them to turn off their microphones and camera. Now, can we agree to adopt the draft agenda that has been circulated with the invitation of the meeting?  Adopted.
The next item is the recapitulation of the topical meetings procedures summary by the chair relating to the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances. Let me briefly recall the considerations of the commission regarding the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances. During the past two years, the who recommended – based on the outcome of the 41st meeting of the who expert committee on drug dependence –  cannabis and cannabis resin to be deleted from shedule four of the single convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 recommendation; delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol to be added to sheduled, one of the single convention on narcotic drugs, 1961. The second part of this recommendation is to be deleted from shedule, two of the convention is on psychotropic substances, 1971, subject to the CND’s adoption of the recommendation to add dronabinol and its stereo isomers Delta tetrahydrocannabinol to sheduled one of the single convention on narcotic drugs of 1971; tetrahydrocannabinol isomers of delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol to be added to sheduled one of the single convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, subject to the CND’s adoption of the recommendation, to add dronabinol and its isomers Delta nine, tetrahydrocannabinol, to shedule one of the single convention on narcotic drugs, 1961. And then second part of this recommendation is to be deleted from sheduled one of the Convention on psychotropic substances, 1971, subject to CND’s adoption of the recommendation to add tetrahydrocannabinol to schedule one of the single convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961; extracts and tinctures to be deleted from schedule one of the single convention on narcotic drugs of 1961; CBD should not be sheduled within the international drug control conventions by adding a footnote to the entry for cannabis and cannabis resin introduced one of the single convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 to read. Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2% of delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol are not under international control. And the last recommendation is that CBD, compounded as pharmaceutical preparations with one or more other ingredients and in such a way that delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol dronabinol cannot be recovered by readily available means, to be added to sheduled three of the single convention on narcotic drugs, 1961. The Commission decided by consensus to postpone the voting on the recommendations, which were transmitted. After three months, in order to provide states with more time to consider the recommendations, during the fourth and fifth intersessional meetings of the Commission in its 62nd session, member states had the opportunity to consult with representatives of WHO and ECDD on the recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances, representatives of the INCB and UNODC were also present to answer questions within their respective mandates. In preparation of the 63rd, regular session of the Commission, you would recall that the questions and answers raised during these meetings have been made available in conference room paper.
As a result of the informal consultations held prior to the session of the Commission in March, the Commission recalled its mandate to vote on scheduling recommendations as laid out in the international drug control conventions and decided to continue during its current 63rd session. The consideration of the recommendations of the World Health Organisation on cannabis and cannabis related substances, bearing in mind their complexity in order to clarify the implications and consequences of, as well as reasoning for these recommendations and decided to vote at its reconvened 63rd session. In December, in order to preserve the integrity of the International system, the extended bureau of the Commission agreed on the conduct of the intersessional considerations, namely it agreed that the commission would hold three topical meetings of two days each focusing on one to three recommendations followed by an intersessional meeting. The first topical meeting was held on 24th and 25th, June 2020, focusing on recommendations 5.4 and 5.45 together. During the second second topical meeting on 24 and 25, August, 2020, we discussed recommendations, 5.2 5.3, and 5.6. The third topical meeting was held on the 6th of September, 6th of October, two days ago, which focused on the discussions on recommendation 5.1 on cannabis and cannabis resin and its implications. All topical meetings were conducted virtually to allow for participation of experts from the Capitals, the meetings were attended by over 600 participants from more than 100 member states and interpretation, in six UN languages was also provided for in the meeting on Fifth August, 2020 […]

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Turkey: We invite all countries to keep in mind the new situation. After facing such a global disease, and the effects of such pandemic on food security and agriculture, we believe that an increase in cannabis production will have a negative impact on the food security and on efforts to reduce hunger and poverty in many regions of the world. On the other hand, in some countries, which already legalised cannabis production, changing the scheduling of these substances will result in an increase in the use of narcotics. Turkey considers that the negative effects of rescheduling of these substances are much bigger than their benefits. In addition, an increase in the production of cannabis, and cannabis related substances will have a negative effect on the struggle against financing of terrorism. Furthermore, we also have procedural and legal concerns, any change in the scheduling of cannabis and cannabis related substances may create additional burden for some Parliaments, and will also provoke public discussions. We must all keep in mind that this is a global anti drug system, constituted by international conventions and cannabis is still the most abused drug and a major concern in the world drug problem. If the recommendations are accepted, if some countries face difficulty on fulfilling the reporting and other administrative obligations, all countries will face the negative results of this possible situation. We believe that the responsibility of any weakening of the international system, will be on the countries which support the recommendations. Therefore, I want to reaffirm my country’s strong commitment to our common efforts and the global anti drug system. In this regard, we are strongly against the recommendations. Thank you.

Russia: The delegation of the Russian Federation has an honour to speak on behalf of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Belarus, Burkina Faso, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Indonesia, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Iraq, the Republic of Kenya, the Kyrgyz Republic, Libya, the Republic of Namibia,the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Pakistan, the State of Palestine, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Singapore, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Syrian Arab Republic, the Republic of Tajikistan, the Republic of Turkey, Turkmenistan, the Bolivarian republic of Venezuela. In March 2020, we passed on the voting on the six recommendations of the WHO expert committee on drug dependence on the scheduling of cannabis and cannabis related substances. Under the 1961 single Convention amendment by the 1972 protocol, and the 1971 convention on psychotropic substances, and comprehensive expert level discussions and the Commission on these recommendations, the three rounds of topical meetings provided a platform for member states to exchange views on and better understand the legal, social, economic, administrative, and other implications of the recommendations commendations, as well as the measures to address them. We appreciate the contributions of the WHO, UNODC and the INCB to the expert deliberations and providing answers to the questions posed by Member States. For the past 60 years, the international drug control system has been effective in addressing the illicit production of and trafficking in cannabis, and cannabis substances.  Member States face serious challenges in controlling the emerging cannabis related products. We believe our focus should be on helping members states effectively implement the drug control conventions and decision to change the existing scattering system for cannabis, and its related substances, finding that these substances are no longer regarded as harmful to health in sharp contrast to what was envisaged by the drafters of the drug control conventions. While the conventions may have been drafted more than 50 years ago, they still remain relevant today. With regard to cannabis abuse and trafficking, the loosening of regulations and controls for cannabis, and its related substances concern us. According to the World Drug Report 2020, cannabis remains the most abused drug in the world with 192 million users globally. Many countries, especially for the US, the Lancet report released in March 2019 provides solid evidence of the harmful effects on mental health caused by the consumption of high potency cannabis roducts. It will be prudent, not to make any changes to scattering of cannabis, and its related substances, until there is a robust scientific evidence to justify the changes. There may be potential therapeutic value of cannabis based preparations, clinical evidence of efficacy to treat specific health conditions is needed. We believe that the current scheduling of cannabis and its related substances provides sufficient flexibility to ensure adequate access to the substances for medical and scientific purposes including at the level of international trade. We share the view of the INCB, and the WHO, that it is not appropriate to speak about availability of cannabis based medicines for therapeutic purposes. And the absence of universally accepted medical and health standards and prescribing practices for such medicines mean a lot of uncertainty. The matter will be further complicated by the fact that many countries. lack the necessary detection testing monitoring and enforcement capabilities to implement the recommendations. Moreover, the international drug control conventions and the Drug Control Regime are meant to work in harmony with the national legal framework of member states. It remains unclear what legal implications the recommendations cannabis may have on the national legislature. Many member states, particularly in cases where their commendations may contradict existing national legislation, we are ready to engage in cross-consultations to streamline and strengthen the report on the legitimate cultivation production of and trading cannabis and its related substances for medical and scientific use of these substances. The recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances were made long before the covid 19 pandemic was experienced. It should be kept in mind that this new situation would have implications on food security and agriculture, increasing the cannabis protect production will have a negative effect on reducing hunger and poverty. We encourage member states to really carefully consider their voting positions. We should follow the conventions to continue to serve that purpose of protecting the health and welfare of mankind. Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Netherlands: Mr Chair, in addition to what has been said, on behalf of the European Union and member states to which, of course, the Netherlands, aligns, we take this opportunity to express a strong support for the role played by the WHO in the international drug control system. The WHO expert committee on drug dependence consists of independent carefully screened and highly regarded experts in the field of health and substance use, the recommendations are based on sound scientific evidence and comply with accurate and well established procedures. Shared objective is to be effective in addressing the world drug situation. The best way to achieve effectiveness is to base our drug policies and rules on evidence, including evidence on risks and benefits for users or patients. The WHO is best positioned to give us the guidance we need for updating the conventions, to reflect current scientific understanding. We would like to thank the INCB for its analysis of the WHO recommendations’ impact on the control requirements of the international drug control system. We agree with the INCB that a common understanding of the applicable control measures is essential. The current discussions show that this can be a challenge. Due to the classification of controlled substances in different schedules under different conventions. When cannabis was placed under the convention of 1961, there was limited knowledge about the cannabis plant, its different compounds and health effects. Today, even though we still face challenges in researching cannabis, especially relating to clinical trials, the evidence is confirming the therapeutical effects of medicinal cannabis. The Netherlands would like to share its experiences as one of the countries where cannabis is cultivated for medicinal and scientific purposes. Since 2003, pharmaceutical grade cultivated cannabis has been available to patients on prescription in compliance with the conventions, we have an office of medicinal cannabis, which resides under the Ministry of Health. The Office ensures the constant quality and availability controls the distribution process and prevents leakage to the criminal circuits. Experienced in the Netherlands shows a high degree of patience therapeutic satisfaction when using medicinal cannabis, especially for pain alleviation. Given the promising results from international research into the benefits for patients so far, and also in the view of the millions of patients who do not have proper access to controlled medicines to alleviate pain or treat epilepsy, we think it is essential that there is further research into this area, so that we can determine whether cannabis, and cannabis related substances deserve to be a part of every doctor’s medical bag in the future. Barriers currently exist in that regard. As a member state of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, we have a duty to address barriers. We are not oblivious of the importance of controlling illicit consumption production and trafficking of concepts of controlled substances. We do believe, however, that we need to strike the right balance between control, and ensuring access to and the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. The WHO recommendations that we discuss here today, contribute to finding this balance. Thank you very much distinguished chair.

Egypt: Egypt aligns itself with the joint statement delivered device the delegation of the Russian Federation. Before working on this recommendation in December, we believe that the three topical meetings convened between June and October, 2020 have been useful to deepen understanding of recommendations in different areas such as administrative social, economic and legal aspects. These meetings provided a venue for member states and representative of WHO, INCB and UNODC to share their views on the recommendations. Mr. Chairman, the challenges of cannabis and this effect on public health in our societies remains as relevant and as resistant as ever. Now is not the time to undercut or undermines efforts to overcome these challenges. We cannot cherry pick between commendations. We must address all of them with a uniform and comprehensive approach. Mr. Chairman, as we are heading to vote on these recommendations in December, 2020, Egypt would like to highlight the following concerns, taken into consideration the deliberations and the valuable different views, raised during this three typical meetings. First, lack of a solid scientific basis. In order to preserve the integrity of the drug control regimes, CND must always take evidence based decisions with a solid scientific basis. Currently, it seems that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that any of recommendations on cannabis will have a positive effect on public health whatsoever, or even on scientific research for that matter. Second, politicisation of the scheduling of regime voting on the cannabis recommendations in the absence of clear and solid scientific evidence may forces CND member states to vote along the political lines, and they align with existing positions such a situation risk is creating an unprecedented and irreversible division inside the Commission and the transforming this into an arena for political disputes. Third, the international drug control conventions and Drug Control Regime established is meant to work in harmony with the legal frameworks of member states. It remains unclear what legal implications the recommendations on cannabis may have on current legislative frameworks have many of member states, particularly in cases where recommendations may contradict existing national legislation. Four, capacities of member states to implement the recommendations. It is, therefore, inappropriate to force member states to accept the recommendations, they don’t have the capacity to implement and will create imbalances in the drug control regime. Fifth, public messaging, adopting the recommendations that include lighter restrictions on cannabis will send an erroneous message to the media and civil society and the public at large. Such a message is not only politically problematic, it could also constitute a public health hazard signalling to the public, that kind of drug is safe for recreational consumption. In light of these concerns, we believe it is necessary to enhance our common understanding of all the potential legal, social, economic and scientific implications of these recommendations. Egypt therefore, urges the CND member states to carefully consider their voting positions. Meanwhile, we stand ready to work with all interested stakeholders to enhance the current international control regime and the to ensure is that such a regime is not hindering usage of cannabis and its related substances for medical and scientific purposes.

Jamaica: Jamaica is hopeful that the CND will take up this matter for final time during the reconvened session, which will provide the commission with yet another opportunity to reassert its mandate pursuant to the ECOSOC resolution nine – to provide policy guidance and to consider what changes must be made in the existing machinery, international control of drugs. This is critical to ensuring that international drug architecture is fit for purpose, and therefore the commission must avoid taking a decision which seeks to undermine mandates of the treaty bodies. The decision making of member states must be guided by scientific and evidence based data. In this regard, you can no longer ignore the vast amount of refutable evidence of the medical and scientific benefits of cannabis. To do so will be at the peril of those urgently in need of palliative care, those suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and coma. Jamaica expresses caution about any further delay of this issue, beyond 2020. Further, a delay can only seek to impede the CND by preventing the discharge of its treaty based normative functions in particular to decide on the scope of control of substance.

[…] Jamaica recognises as important in the sheer commitment of member states to effectively address and counter the world drug problem, which requires concerted and sustained action at national and international levels. We continue to focus our efforts in ensuring that all national interventions are aligned with the three international drug conventions and in conformity with applicable international human rights obligations. Here, we will reiterate that removing cannabis from its current schedule and keeping it in check, one does not reduce international control or regulation… We support efforts towards taking a decisive action on this issue at the reconvened session in December 2020. The message should be clear during the session: Cannabis and cannabis related substances having been recognised for its medical and scientific purposes should be accessible available for such uses to availability and accessibility of cannabis and cannabis related substances should be sufficiently balanced with efforts at the national, international level, prevent their diversion to abuse and trafficking. Countries that may have unique circumstances can utilise stricter measures at the national level, pursuant to the relevant provisions within the international drug conventions. I thank you.

Chile: The problem of substance abuse in particular cannabis is one of the national priorities for us. We face an issue that affects thousands of people. Despite all the countries efforts, and international organisations to support the advance of consumption and its associated damages have increased a lot over the last years. The last global reports on drug use paints Chile as the regional leader in using substances, especially cannabis, among the in school population. For this reason, my government is promoting the process to reverse the current rates of drug use, with policies aimed at protecting the health of the most vulnerable population, especially youngsters. Although in Chile, as in many countries, there are pressures to modify the level of control of cannabis and cannabis related substances, my government’s current concern is to reduce or delay the consumption of this substance, by children and adolescents. I want to take this opportunity to reiterate what my delegation expressed at the meeting of six October, in order that we are not yet in a position to support recommendation 5.1 as we think it bears several negative impacts on the health of the younger population. Such a direct relation between the use of cannabis and depression, anxiety, and psychotic symptoms, among others. Since, 2011, the risk perception in this whole population has dropped from 48 to only 22%. Mr. Chair, before approving the recommendations, it is essential to have adequate scientific evidence to support the therapeutic use of cannabis and we must ensure that its benefits will outweigh the adverse effect, taking into account the needs of all age groups, especially youth and young adults and women who are pregnant and or nursing. Thank you very much chair.

Afghanistan: Afghanistan would like underline other issues that are more relevant to Afghanistan. Mr Chair, there is no doubt that about 84% of opium poppy harvest worldwide intake is taking place in Afghanistan, and that more than 50% of the total opium produced in Afghanistan is converted to  morphine outside. With the peace talks in Doha, the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan hope that in the upcoming years, Afghanistan will be free from opium poppy cultivation, opiate productions and special anti-narcotics policies will be implemented in order to counter the illegal production, trade and trafficking. The adverse impacts of cultivation opiate production and trafficking in Afghanistan as well as the region weakens the rule of law, helps the illicit economy, reduces the trust of citizens on the public institutions and ultimately fuel global terrorism. A global problem requires comprehensive, effective actions, from all of us at national, regional and international level. The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is committed to work closely with its international partners to tackle these challenges. However, we need the continued support of the international community, as we strive to overcome this menace collectively. I thank all our partners and allies for supporting us in this endeavour. Thank you very much.

Canada:  Today, we look forward to also hearing and learning from the important perspectives of nongovernmental organisations and additional relevant international organisations in support of States Parties considerations of the who recommendation. As we prepare for the vote in December, we strongly endorse the treaty mandated role of the WHO to conduct assessments that are determinative as to medical and scientific matters and to make recommendations. Canada values the base function of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to take evidence based decisions on the scope of control of substances, bearing in mind economic, social, legal, administrative, and other factors that may be relevant or consideration. Many members candidate concluded needed to better understand some of the recommendations, the rationale and their implications. This time-bound intersessional process is given all member states the opportunity to voice any concern, seek necessary clarifications, contribute supplementary and propose expected implications. For example, with respect to state’s reporting obligations, but also to the likely effects, their capacity, and the budget requirements. We are grateful to all states who engaged actively in this process whether I’m making statements, asking questions, or simply listening carefully to inform their analysis and preparations for vote in December. Mr Chair, we conclude our extensive intersectional considerations that provided sufficient time and opportunity to clarify the implications and consequences of, as well as the reasons for those recommendations. Next, member states will assume their responsibility to make scheduling decisions, through their vote this end is reconvene 63rd session, December 2020 as agreed and seen these 63, in order to preserve the integrity of the international system. We look forward to hearing the representatives of NGOs who often bring us the perspectives of the poor, who are affected by our decisions.

Paraguay:  […] In the scheduling of cannabis and cannabis related substances, we affirm that the current international control system does not pose an obstacle to the study for scientific and medicinal uses of cannabis. The current scheme promotes serious control, while still allowing for adequate studies with the purposes of better understanding the benefits of this plant. We recognise that the cannabis plant has evolved in the view of the international community, and that the scientific and additional uses have been extended, and now touches new markets. Nevertheless, our delegation still sees merit in the inclusion of the cannabis plant in its current schedule, given the fact that, despite all arguments, cannabis is still a security issue for developing countries. These recommendations were presented long before the pandemic came upon us. It should be kept in mind that this new situation would have implication of future food security and agriculture in developing countries. We encourage these end members member states to consider very carefully their voting decisions. […]

Rwanda: […] The Republic of Rwanda remains committed to work with all the stakeholders and development partners in this very delicate issue that have the potential of changing the shape of the world of drugs, as we know it nowadays.

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Singapore: […] nations will impact all signatories to the conventions. Importantly, the drug problem, including the threat posed by cannabis, and related products, remains a clear and present danger to our people and societies. Singapore remains committed to working with the CND, UNODC, INCB, and the WHO to address and counter the world drug problem. It is imperative that as an international community, we remain vigilant to uphold the world Drug Control Regime so that the lives and future of our people and children are protected from the scourge and misery of drugs. Thank you Mr. Chair.

Malaysia: Despite the challenge posed by the current covid 19 pandemic, we join others in our commitment to discuss this pressing matter. Please allow me to share my delegation views. Throughout the years, we have adopted stringent measure to eradicate the trade of illicit drugs, Malaysia, also remained steadfast in our stance against cannabis legalisation for non-medical and  non-scientific purposes. We adopted a robust multi-agency mechanism in controlling illicit drugs to prevent the diversion and abuse of internationally controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, while ensuring that adequate availability medical and scientific purposes are national law enforcement. We are of the view that our existing national administration, pertaining to the control of cannabis, will remain the same. This is because, over the years, we have strived to do our part in adhering to the requirement of the convention, especially those concerning reporting duties. Our national laws have also taken into account those obligations. However, after observing other national views, we understand that there are still concerns that need to be taken into account. Though the recommendations do not sees to lessen the control of cannabis, Malaysia is concerned with the public perception  and the message that this adoption might send to the proponents of recreational cannabis in Malaysia. Therefore, we seek the attention of international bodies, non-governmental organisation and international communities to be cautious with publicising the decision of the Commission, should the recommendation be adopted. Such coherent message must be made clear at the international level, so that the National Authority, can then go to local communities. We are confident that a prudent decision will be adopted by the Commission for the benefit of all. With that, I thank you.

Brazil: We were also able to ponder on the issues related to the background of the recommendations and whether or not changes in scheduling would be the best measure to provide responses to these issues. We firmly believe that the current international drug control system is fundamental to enable us to address the production and trafficking of internationally controlled substances – and in this specific case cannabis and cannabis related substances, one must recognise the importance of having solid and common application of the conventions to allow for availability of international control substances for medical and scientific purposes, while at the same time sharing the aim to prevent their diversion abuse and trafficking. We firmly believe that decisions on rescheduling of substances should be substantiated by clear benefits for the control system, international cooperation is dependent on common standards and procedures upheld by member states in the national legislation and regulations. So revisions cannot and should not be taken lightly. Brazil, as well as a number of other delegations have raised concerns about the adoption of the proposed changes on a number of dimensions, the difficulties that may arise from their implementation, as well as the message that may derive from those decisions, do not seem to have been taken fully into account. Cannabis, and cannabis related substances are at least as harmful to health as they were when drug control conventions were adopted. According to UN research, cannabis remains the most abused drug in the world. In conclusion, we are in the process of digesting all the additional information provided, and the opinions shared, but we are not persuaded that the potential therapedic uses of specific cannabis based pharmaceutical preparations, as well as scientific and technical research are impaired by the current scheduling, which already provides sufficient flexibility to allow adequate access to these substances for medical and scientifical purposes. I do thank you Mr. Chair.

Mexico: Good morning. We regret that the visual formats have limited the participation of more experts from civil society and academia. The specialised knowledge and the experiences from the terrain would add value to our discussions. These days we are commemorating the 75th anniversary of the United Nation nations, which brings us on to an excellent occasion to reaffirm that multilateralism and international cooperation represent the best formula to analyse attend and respond to the most complex global challenges, including the world drug phenomenon. The current situation that the whole world is facing, as a result of the covid 19 pandemic, demands us to place the goals of drug policies on people, rather than on substances. One of the key mandates of the CND is to analyse and take action of possible changes in the scope of controlled substances, and then add more, or more even take them out of the list. Avoiding these responsibility of prolonging it forever is not an option. We will be facing a vote in December andwe hope that you will vote will not be stained by pre-judgments and a short sighted view. Instead, we must strive to achieve a more just and humane policy under the new times, and realities. We live in a different world than in 1961. And that’s why we feel that this critical exercise is of the most importance. We would like to remind everybody listening to this session that inclusion of the plant in the conventions in 1961, were not preceded by a careful analysis. On one hand, we need access to the medicine, and on the second hand, we have to avoid excess. Finally, I want to briefly refer to the world drug report 2020. I personally believe that cannabis is not the message, cannabis is the messenger – what we are really talking about here is in what kind of a world do we want to live in. In one of positivism liberty, freedom, science-based decisions and humanism or in one of dogma of authoritarianism and pseudoscience. I thank you for the floor, Mr. Chairman.

Kenya: Kenya took advantage of the opportunity allowed for country consultations and as engaged several strategic stakeholders, whose valuable contribution has informed our country position on the WHO’s recommendations. Mr Chair, as a country, we have participated in the three rounds of topical meetings and have provided a platform for member states that have provided a platform for member states to present their views on recommendations. According to the 2019 world drug report, cannabis is the most widely used drug with an estimated, 180 8, million people having used the drug. It is regarded as a problematic drug in that it is a gateway to addiction and abuse of other psychoactive substances in Kenya. Cannabis remains the drug of choice, amongst narcotic users and data from a national survey conducted in 2017 showed that at least 1% of the country’s population, aged between 15 years to 65, currently uses of cannabis. Our institutions of learning and current data showing that 7.5% of high school students have ever used cannabis and 1.2% among primary school pupils. Further reports on the increasing rate of illicit trafficking of cannabis, and the resultant high number of seizures and arrests is of great concern. Mr. Chairman, the above statistics are a clear depiction of the current situation in our country, and the need for stringent measures to control the illicit cultivation. Some of the negative effects on the health of users include addiction, stroke, mental illnesses, impaired psychomotor skills and cognitive functions. On the social front, there are reported cases of violence associated with cannabis cannabis use, suicide, school dropout, as well as low productivity. Mr. Chairman, in our view, all the recommendations that have been subject to discussions in all the three topical meetings have one thing in common, which is to ease up control on cannabis and cannabis related substances which may increase availability, with the risk of use for other purposes that are not for medical or scientific. I must therefore express our reservations on the proposed rescheduling of cannabis in cannabis related substances in the face of growing cases of abuse and substance use disorders and call on member states to explore innovative strategies to contain the current situation.

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Mr. Chairman, from the deliberations we have so far held, the following concerns have yet to be addressed, or clarified: Number one, the WHO has not presented solid and scientific evidence on the premise for the shedule. Number two, there is need for detailed study on the balance between therapeutic benefits of cannabis and it is social social consequences on individuals and communities. Number three, the recommendations on rescheduling cannabis and its derivatives has not taken into account the capacity of member states to extract the Delta THC, which is a psychoactive and pure cannabidiol from the cannabis plant, as well as handle the legal socio economic and administrative implications of the recommendations, if adopted. Lastly, the WHO has not demonstrated with evidence, the weaknesses in the current control regime that justifies the easing of control that is envisaged in the proposed changes. It is important to note that the arguments in support of easing control on cannabis and other controlled substances, on account of their therapeutic benefits is not persuasive because the current control regime anticipates and provides for accessibility of these substances for medical and scientific purpose. Some states have already legalised cannabis and cannabis related products for non medical use despite prevailing international conventions. In view of the concerns raised above, we see no valid reason to warrant the rescheduling and hereby decline, our support for the WHO recommendations. Allow me to remind all member states that the decisions we make today have implications on our future generations. Although the conventions, were and adopted by Member States 59 years ago, they have served us well. And they remain relevant today. Their objective is to eliminate the availability and use of illicit narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances that pose obvious health risks undermine and undermine national development. For us to review these, there must be valid reason to support the revision, and the state results should be guided by the need to protect the health and wellbeing of the people. Otherwise, history will judge us harshly. It is our humble proposal that the voting take place physically during the Commission’s 64th session in 2021, as we have witnessed several countries with challenges of internet connectivity. Thank you for giving me the floor.

Cuba: Thank you, Mr. President. It is a pleasure for us to see you among us again. And thank you, the secretary for the organisation of this important meeting. Mr. President, you have a participate in the three thematic debate organised by the Secretary of the commission of Makati drug. A has expressed his position on each of the recommendation may by the committing of Esper of the World Health Organisation economy, and systems relate to canavese. Our country has serious concern regarding the negative change in the existing internet international control regime, who owes, especially those proposed in the recommendation for 5.1. On the elimination of an AVI economic scene from the list, four of the 1961 convention, a fit of the decriminalisation of cannabis, as are alarming from the point of view of the city security. There are numerous evidence that point to the negative impact of the improper use of this drug in gold from Greece, where release has been legalised accident and death from overdose, continue to face from a health point of view, they fit on the fridge, physical and mental so they have individual who are used cannabis for long periods of time, are irrefutable, particularly in the cognitive and psychological field. It is not yet clear how a quarter of self control among consumer could be achieved. It is hoped that the discrimination of Tantawi could lead to an increase in the number of addicts in the world. We must also remember that that usually act as the SAT job for other more harmful ones, not always stay good have the capacity to come up with an increase of consumption, both of cannot be another more harmful system. In Ghana, the implementation of this recommendation would also require the use of novel technologies that are practically practically inaccessible developing country, Cuba raytrace, his commitment to the provision of the theme to national conventions on rock, as well as a strict compliance with the current levels of control of Konami, and so Stan relate to canavese without. We don’t know believe that a change in the regulation of an RV or history weight or reducing input of the

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purpose.

This is why Cuba support, they join declaration made by the delegation of Russian concerning they owe the opposition to the proposer of a group of expert of w h o. Thank you, Mr. President.

Iraq: Thank you Mr Chair, excellences and delegates. It’s a great pleasure we meet today to exchange views and ideas within the common within the Commission on narcotic drugs, and I would like to express my appreciation to all delegations and my gratitude to to Mr Chair for your great chairmanship and guidance during the session and the appreciation extended to that, it’s gonna try it for their hard work and preparation for these meetings. Mr Chair. In addition to the joint statement delivered by a Russian delegation, which aligns with itself with, we would like to express that since March, 2019, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs decided to convene topical meetings with the, with the aim of reaching a very important possible implications in the event that the recommendations made by the drug dependent funky adopted special social administrative and legal implications, which are considered to be very important in determining the extent of their impact on on all countries, in particular that some countries and my may find difficulties in implementing these recommendations. We’d like to express our appreciation and gratitude to express experts from countries for shared valuable information on many aspects of those foundations. In addition to that, in addition to what was provided by the inter International Narcotics Control Board and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, however, and with all those meetings and information presented. There are still some ambiguous and vague aspects in the context of implementation of these recommendations, which will not be clarified soon. Mr Chair, sciences. We believe that it’s very important for the CMD to make voting and decisions based on based on the, on tone basis and solid evidence is which, which my delegation believes that it’s still far from reaching those phases. The evidence that was presented for the sake of changing the scope of control over cannabis, and its related substances is not sufficient enough to lead us to change the current scheduling status becomes schedules. The current schedule of cannabis allows countries as was shown in the deliberations to conduct scientific and medical research and it doesn’t debate. And it doesn’t repeat those efforts. In addition, some of the proposed recommendations will deliver. Sorry. will deliver a negative and false message to the public that cannabis is one of the substances that have a non medical therapeutic benefits while we are all fully aware, especially in the drug committee that cannabis that cannabis is one of the most abused substances worldwide. And according to the latest world, drug report. 2020. Mr. Chairman, I’d like to call upon member states to take their active role within the Commission on narcotic drugs and and vote on the recommendations for what is in the safe of the public, especially the younger generation and to ensure, and to ensure that we keep the substances, far from being abused. Meanwhile, it’s. Meanwhile, meanwhile, and if there are therapeutic benefits that can be further search and new evidence presented. Then we believe changing the scope, the scope of control over cannabis will be then taken on a solid and unquestionable basis in order to ensure a healthier world free of drugs and in accordance with these three drug convention that were that were under still constitute the cornerstone in the in the formulation of the Drug Control Policy. Thank you Mr. Chair.

USA: Mr Chair, distinguished participants Dear colleagues, for the last two years we have struggled to decide what to do with the cannabis recommendations that the World Health Organisation forwarded to the Commission on narcotic drugs. We have asked for more clarity repeatedly turned to the Secretariat’s of who the INCB and un ODC for assistance, we’ve sought guidance from our own experts listened to to the experts of others, and met and exchanged views along the corridors of the Vic until COVID-19 sent us home. The time is soon approaching when we will need to cast our votes, we cannot delay further. And we should seek to streamline our process, including by considering chair, your voting proposal on the issues we understand that there were two distinct camps that seemed to be emerging. Those whose national policies favour more restrictive drug control approaches. And those favouring, more, more permissive controls. This division is an artificial one, and it’s an unhelpful one. For the most part, the recommendations before us are not about the measures of control. If we adopt recommendation five one for example, the member member states the INCB and un ODC have all confirmed that there would be no impact on the measures of control applicable to cannabis, which are set forth in schedule one cannabis has been in schedule one since the single convention entered into force and following a scientific review and assessment which found that cannabis is a dangerous drug and liable to significant abuse. The who recommended that cannabis warrants continued placement under the strictest measures of control available to the commission in schedule one. Recall that a few years ago we were, we had before us, a recommendation from who to place car fentanyl in scheduled for. Why do we do this. Well, it’s because the therapeutic value of car fentanyl had changed through research drugs had been developed with similar medical utility but without the harmful effects as provided in the single convention. If a substance is particularly liable to abuse, and to produce ill effects, and that liability is not offset by substantial therapeutic advantages, not possessed by substances, other than drugs in scheduled court, then the substance may be placed in schedule court and car fentanyl was such a substance. It follows then that when the wh o finds that a drug in schedule, four has substantial therapeutic advantages, not possessed by drugs, not in schedule for the substance should be removed from schedule four. And this is the case before us of cannabis and cannabis resin. Earlier this week, the United States was pleased to share the expertise of Dr Volkow. She is the preeminent global expert on drug abuse, and she oversees the National Institute of Drug Abuse. One of the most prolific contributors to research in the field of cannabis. Dr Volkow explained that we have approved one cannabis derived product, epidiolex, and three synthetic cannabis related drug products, Marinol syndromes, and quasiment for the treatment of a variety of medical conditions. One of these drugs is a safe and effective treatment for a rare form of epilepsy epilepsy occurring in children, for which there is no other known drug therapy, this newfound therapeutic usefulness, which is not possessed by other substances warrants the removal of cannabis from schedule for. Nonetheless, we’ve heard voices asked why why should we remove cannabis from schedule four. And here the answer is fairly straightforward, because that is our responsibility, under the single convention. Our purpose in the CMD is to use the scheduling process. So that drugs that are indispensable for the relief of pain and suffering are made available, and made available globally, but are subject, also to effective measures to prevent their abuse and diversion. We have a duty to ensure that the international scheduling of cannabis and cannabis resin accurately reflects the state of science. Dr Volkow very clearly outlined, an additional reason for why we should move cannabis and cannabis resin out of schedule for to stimulate research. Now, more than at any time in the history of the Commission. There is a critical need for cannabis research. The United States understands that there is increasing interest in the potential utility of cannabis for a variety of medical conditions, as well as research on the potential adverse health effects from the use of cannabis. We recognise the critical need to develop therapies for patients. But this will only happen with quality research, the United States supports sound scientifically based research into the medical uses of drug products containing cannabis or cannabis derived compounds. Research is underway to assess the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids to treat a variety of health conditions. But such research is essential if we are to fully understand the therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabis preparations and make safe, effective quality products available to our citizens. There are those who expressed concerns that any change in status, would lead to an increase in cannabis abuse, but we heard from several experts on Tuesday and in fact, today it was mentioned that cannabis is the most widely abused drug in the world with approximately 192 users worldwide, the rates of cannabis consumption have climbed steadily since the 1990s and gas during this entire period cannabis and cannabis resin have remained in schedule for as the expert from Colombia so wisely observed the status or stigma of being in schedule for did not prevent the dramatic escalation of cannabis use, and it is unlikely that removing it will lead to any increase. On the contrary to those who are sceptical of warnings that cannabis abuse can be harmful. And here, we know that you are particularly at risk. Keeping cannabis and cannabis resin in schedule for despite scientific evidence will signal that the Commission is tone deaf and out of touch, and they will ask why. Why do we need a commission on narcotic drugs. Why do we need a scheduling process. If all they do is make drugs, even less accessible to those in pain and suffering. And while we know that the status of being in scheduled for does not impose any additional controls on drugs. The who and INCB continued to report that some countries make controlled substances virtually inaccessible to those in need. Turning briefly to the other recommendations we firmly believe that recommendations 525355, and five six are outside the scope of the scheduling process. We have previously expressed our reasons for opposing these recommendations, but to summarise, if adopted at best, they would introduce legal ambiguities and contradictions that would undermine effective drug control, and at worst, they could result in the exclusion of control of all THC derived from cannabis cultivated for industrial purposes and THC derived from leaves separated from the cannabis plant. This would undoubtedly lead to further cannabis abuse. With respect to the threshold of THC we remain convinced that assigning a threshold for criminalization is a decision reserved for each member state. And note that many states including our own have addressed this. We also formally have firmly oppose measures that would add to the financial burdens of member states and the UN system. We support recommendation, five for.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote this December, we are committed to continuing these discussions, after the vote to ensure the public is well aware of the health harms of cannabis and schedule one status. We thank the chair for his skilled leadership, and the INCB the who, and a un ODC Secretariat’s for their tireless efforts to guide us through this maze. And, of course, we thank the Government of Japan for its financial support through the international intersessional period, we would be remiss if we did not close however with a caution to members of the commission that while we can consult with international bodies and their input to our deliberations is invaluable. The final responsibility for these decisions rests with with us. Thank you Chair.

South Africa: Good afternoon to the chair, the Secretariat and all delegates. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the discussion today, the South African government has carefully considered, and review the recommendations of the World Health Organisation expert committee on drug dependence regarding the proposed changes to the scheduling of cannabis, its tinctures, extracts, cannabis resin, generic mono tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in all the tables of the three international drug conventions. We commend the World Health Organisation for providing member states with scientific and evidence based information in assisting member states to formulate drug policies and programmes to counter and address the world problem. We are of the view that the recommendations are sound, balanced and based on a critical review of the scientific evidence, these recommendations will serve as an important guide on how member states should shedule the substances under domestic legislation.

It is worth recalling that almost 100 years ago, South Africa first proposed to the League of Nations opium commission in a 1923 that cannabis be subject to international control. Our reason for highlighting this history is to point out that our understanding of cannabis, cannabinoids and the potential harms and benefits associated with their use for non-medical purposes has changed over the years and the position of cannabis and related products should be informed by that changing evidence and not be considered immutable, set in concert or carved in stone. To add a South African context,  in September 2018, South Africa’s Constitutional Court delivered a judgement on the matter of cannabis use reviewing an earlier judgement by the High Court. The Constitutional Court found sections of South Africa’s medicines and related Substances Act and drugs and drug trafficking act as unconstitutional – in so far as they prevented the possession, cultivation and use of cannabis for adults in private. It is these two acts, which gives effect to South Africa’s commitment in terms of the 1961, 1971 and 1988 conventions, the court gave the Parliament 24 months to introduce new legislation. In response, the South African Minister of Health amended the shedule to the medicines and related Substances Act on the 22nd of May this year. The changes have made direct relevance for the recommendations of the ECDD which have been discussed here today. South Africa is ready to embrace the concept of regulating access to cannabis and cannabinoids by separating and specifying THC and dronabinol and cannabidiol. Previous mentions of cannabis and preparations they have been removed from South African shedules where substances with no legitimate medicinal use have been listed. Instead, THC has been listed in the highest, most stringently controlled sheduled for therapeutic use in the same way as morphine with a number of important exceptions. In conclusion, South Africa is aligned with and supportive of recommendations made by the WHO. My government reaffirms its commitment to upholding the international drug control system as the foundation of its policy on drugs and related substances, and it shows the commission of its intention to continue complying with with international obligation accordingly. Thank you.

Russia: In addition to the joint statement delivered by the Russian Federation, on behalf of a group of like minded countries, we’d like to make the following remarks in our national capacity. Under the 1961 single convention on narcotic drugs and the ’71 convention on psychotropic substances. We appreciate the role of the World Health Organisation, and its expert committee on drug dependence in the scheduling process for narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances under the three drug control conventions. We believe that the WHO, has brought to the attention of the CND an important issue. At a time when countries are developing different national frameworks with regard to cannabis, some run counter to the international drug control conventions. However, the proposed solutions, in our view, are not the most effective way to address a problem and will bring more confusion, mess and uncertainty. The adoption of the recommendations by the Commission might lead to misinterpretation by the international community, as a promotion of further weakening of control of systems and about legalisation for recreational purposes. Therefore, the Russian Federation does not see justification for the proposed profound changes in the level of international control of cannabis and related substances, and will not be in the position to support them during the voting in December. We appreciate the valuable contribution of the WHO and the entire intergovernmental debate on this important issue. We are strongly convinced that the technical issue doesn’t constitute a problem that requires a system wide solution at the level of changing the drug control creatures. Russia is ready to work with delegations to search for alternative solutions, outside the scheduling process. We encourage the INCB, the UNODC and WHO to consider developing guidelines on the implementation of the relevant provisions of this drug control and related substances such a universal set of rules to strengthen international cooperation to address and counter the world drug problem. We once again call upon the member states of the Commission to carefully consider their voting positions, taking into account, not only their national interests, but also their opinions of all parties to the 1961 and 1971 conventions. Finally, we would like to underline that even though the discussion on Cannabis proved out to be quite useful, the Commission has invested two years and a substantial amount of financial human resources in this process, that could have been spent on more urgent and important issues. In this regard, we take notes of a statement by the distinguished Ambassador Afghanistan, this morning about dramatic situation with opioids.

Iran: I would like to seize this opportunity to thank the Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. We align ourselves with the joint statement delivered by Russia on the WHO recommendation on cannabis and related substances, and would like to put forward the following comments and observation in our national capacity. We acknowledge the WHO plays an important role in the international drug control framework, and sincerely appreciate its great efforts for the review of the economies and its related substances, and also for its contribution to the expert deliberations and providing answers to the question posed by Member States during the topical meetings. According to the drug war drug report 2020, cannabis remains the most widely abused drug in the board with millions of users globally. According to the same report in most of these two distinct those jurisdictions, which cannabis has been legalised cannabis use has risen since its legalisation these facts showed the extent of the potential impacts and consequences of the current recommendation on changing climates international control regime, as well as the importance of having enough scientific evidence to be reassured that the adoption of these recommendation will not have negative effects on our societies, Mr. Chairman. As was explained by many delegations during the three topical meetings, some of the recommendations are not well defined, and there is no common understanding and uniform application of them as a result of which they may lead to confusion in their implementation on the ground. Additionally, the lack of capabilities for implementing the recommendation is another problem for many countries. Apart from the direct potential adverse effects of implementation of the recommendation on the public health. It is very important to pay due attention to the psychological and social effects of the adoption of this recommendation, as well as the message that public opinion will be saved from the ratification of these recommendation by CND. It also may cause uncontrolled uncontrolled for all countries at the national level. This message, along with the revenue of the non-medical cannabis industry will further lead to rapid expansion of the market for psychosis. Mr. Chairman, while confirming the pharmaceutical use of cannabis, we believe that the current cannabis control regulation provides enough flexibility for lowering accessibility of this preparation for medical and scientific purposes. Hence, if there are some problems in medical and scientific accessibility of these substances, INCB and WHO should work in close cooperation with member states to remove unnecessary and unnecessary barriers to medical and scientific use of cannabis and related substances and ensure that they are available.  We are convinced that instead of changing the scheduling system of cannabis and related substances, there is a dire need to consider ways and means to overcome the shortcomings in the accessibility of these substances for medical and scientific purposes in different parts of the current regime. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Romania: First of all, I’d like to underline that our country shows full support for the position expressed within the statement deliver today on behalf of the European Union and the member states. Secondly, I would like to express our sincere sincere appreciation for the organisation of topical meetings on the scheduling recommendations. During these challenging times of global health crisis, and for the assistance given by the WHO, INCB as well as by UNODC during these discussions with a view to the recent debates, I would like to highlight a few aspects to be taken into consideration […] the WHO remains crucial in the international system based on science […]

Brunei: […] We are hopeful that our voice stands and opinions will be given considerable attention by the voting members in view of the voting process in December. Before ending this statement, I would like to reiterate our concern that the loosening control of cannabis, thus leading to a widening public access, will encourage abuse and thus public health and safety issues. The government of Brunei prioritises a safe and secure country for its people. And we stand on the scan to safeguard the sovereignty, from the danger of illicit drugs, with the therefore hereby reject reject all conditions. Thank you for your kind attention.

Switzerland: Some of the colleagues here and thank you for giving me the fourth. We also thank you for your guidance throughout this process leading up to the vote on the ECD recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances. We appreciate this opportunity and congratulate you and the Secretariat for having achieved to continue the cnd internationals by hybrid format. We also thank who INCB as well as the civil society for their valuable contributions in this case, which we also hope to hear later this afternoon. Switzerland has listened attentively to all the inputs that were given during the topical meetings. Remarkably, most inputs seem to have been up on questions regarding the control or change of control the administrative burden order reporting responsibilities. However, scheduling should be first and foremost a question of medical use versus abuse potential of a substance. During the topic of discussions, few inputs remain regarding the needs of the patients and the access to control substances or their availability. Fact is, a growing number of member states offered the possibility for the description for the prescription of cannabis for medical purposes, mostly as so called second line treatment. Essentially, this is the effective implementation of the three drug control conventions, its access to and availability of controlled substances for medical purposes is at the core. The scheduling decisions we are taking December should provide for continued medical use, as well as for the food and research on the medical potential of the substance, while not neglecting that control of illicit trade of the substance. Therefore, truly hope that there will be a voting takes place in December. We welcomed active participation of who and INCB during the topical discussions and valuable inputs. In that matter, we would like to remind member states that during the third topical discussions, the representatives of INCB as well as who confirmed that accepting the recommendation 5.1 would not have any implication on the control of the substance. We would also like to take this opportunity to remind member states that the international conventions foresee the possibility of member states to adopt measures of control more strict or severe than those required as a result of this decision. Mr. Chair, thank you for also giving us the opportunity to discuss the voting procedure during synthesis national. Yesterday afternoon, we received your non paper which we are still considering with the different services in capital. After a brief lecture, we have noticed that the paper leaves out some practical questions on how the voting is being conducted in the current situation. So regarding this, the practical proposals that we would like to also see in the paper or food to discuss are the following. What would be the scenario if no physical meeting could take place? What would be the scenario if some Member States cannot be represented physically due to coverage restrictions, for instance, if a cnd member state does not have a representation here in Indiana and finally, if the meeting does take place in hybrid format, is there a minimal Cora forscene of physical represented member states? Regarding the procedural content of the paper, we would like to seek further clarification on why the vote should not start with recommendation 5.1. We did not find any information about this in the paper. Switzerland will discuss this paper with other member states and will be constructive in finding good solution. Thank you for the floor.

Colombia: Thank you chair thing that I have a problem with the camera. Anyway, Mr. Chair, dear ambassador, Dear colleagues, the delegation of Colombia would like to express his appreciation for the work that you, Mr. Chairman, have carried out on this third session of the commission with respect to the recommendation of the W h. o on cannabis and substance related to cannabis. Our delegation has participated in all of the meetings related to these recommendations, having always in mind the central role of the World Health Organisation, by the moment of taking a decision to amend one of the schedules of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance under international control. our point of view, they were helping organisation fulfil its role established on article three of the convention of 1961. And its assessments were determinative as to medical and scientific matters, as it is clearly indicated on article 2.5, or the convention of 1971. We do not share Mr. Chair, the mission of challenging this assessment on medical and scientific matters that were assigned to who by the aforementioned conventions, we do not share also your opinion that if there is no change the natural control, there is no need for this discussion. On the concert. Our job is that on the presence of new medical and scientific evidence, we need to adjust the schedules of the conventions in order to reflect these new knowledge in agreement with the procedure and competencies established by those international instruments even if those changes do not imply a change in the international control, but they will reflect the reality about the substance contained in the Skechers. Following such procedure and competence, we remember some of this end combined also with our role of analysing the economic, social, legal, administrative, and other factors indicated in the previous mentioned and therefore, Mr. Chair, our task has been accomplished, and there are enough elements in order to take an informed decision in the reconvene session in December on each and every one of the recommendations. For these reasons, we joined the call to the other member states of the commission to adopt a position in this reconvened session of December, based on the scientific and medical evidence that were provided by the wh o according to the conventions, and we want also to recall our commitment to adopt a balance integrate comprehensive, multidisciplinary an evidence based approach to the word growth problem basis on the principle of common and share responsibility, and with a view to promoting and protecting health, which includes, of course, the promotion of the access to and the availability of controlled substance for medical and scientific purpose. Finally, we want to express our appreciation for the invariable support that we have received not only from wh o but also from un ODC and from any ncp in this process. And last but not least, we thank the experts from the various delegations that participate in these meetings. Thank you.

China: The topical meetings held in June, August and the day before yesterday when views have been exchanged and much clearly understood regarding the six recommendations of the WHO. We believe today’s meeting will make a better preparation for the coming vote. We would like to support the joint statement made by Russian Federation on behalf of like minded countries and  I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our position. The Chinese government has always supported the current international control system and take strict control measures at the national level – we are firmly against to the legalisation of drugs. To address the challenges of the global drug problem, comprehensive and balanced measures should be taken within the purposes and principles of current international drug control conventions. According to 2020 workup report, cannabis remains the most abused drugs in the world. Therefore, any change in the scheduling of cannabis will not only affect global Drug Control Policy directions, administrative and law enforcement efforts of member states, but also affect the global public health. We would also like to remind members to consider the imbalances in global economic and social development and drug control capacity. While we discuss or ensure medical and scientific purpose of the substances in some countries, we should focus more on their negative implications and risk to public health of a larger global population. If those recommendations would be adopted, it will release a signal for loosening the current international drug control of cannabis, and will lead to the undermining of public awareness of cannabis abuse and we also have a lack of monitoring capacity, and predictably large scale of abuse and serious consequences to public health in all countries. Therefore, once again, we encourage all parties, be cautious to those recommendations, and we call members case to carefully consider their voting position. Thank you,

UK: […] We trust that through your leadership, the CND will conclude this process through to vote on the recommendations in December. We would like to thank you, providing further guidance  on the procedural implications of the December vote, which we will be studying carefully. I will finish by reaffirming that the United Kingdom remains fully committed to the international drug control conventions and the scheduling process. We look forward to concluding this process which is imperative to preserving the integrity and credibility of the International scheduling system. Thank you for the opportunity to address the commission.

Australia: Chair, the international scheduling process is an essential tool for our collective efforts to address the world drug problem. And we have greatly valued the opportunity to share our position on these recommendations in more detail. We have listened carefully to the views of other delegations and thank all member states for their active and constructive engagement. The use of cannabis as a therapeutic substance by some parties has put the international drug conventions in the spotlight. We know that due to national legislation, parties are applying different control regimes to cannabis, based on the psychoactive component and the non psychoactive components such as CBD. While such controls may be appropriate at a national level, when applying the international drug conventions in the context of trades and reporting, discrepancies and disrupt and disruptions to trade are becoming more significant. Australia would like to see an arrangement whereby there are fewer trade and reporting discrepancies. We have had extensive deliberations for  almost two years now. We look forward to voting on these recommendations in December at the reconvened session of the CND. We have dedicated a significant amount of resources to this issue. We look forward to being able to turn its attention to addressing equally important matters, including enhancing access and availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. Addressing trafficking of drugs, including methamphetamine and ensuring a balanced holistic approach to addressing the world drug problem. We would like to take this opportunity to emphasise the importance of civil society engagement. civil society provides an essential contribution to our work and consideration of these recommendations. And we welcome civil society engagement at this intersessional today. We would also like to thank the INCB and the WHO for their ongoing engagement. Thank you.

Palestine: With respect and appreciation for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organisation, the State of Palestine in the current situation cannot accept the recommendation. The decision […] the legalisation of cannabis and related materials is not an urgent matter for which a law decision can be assured in accordance with the Palestinian Basic Law. Such decision has to pass our internal political conditions and because the policy does not accept that, then the national economy is also not prepared.  The action to remove and to add the above specified article from the agreement to another […] is stipulated in 1961 and 1971 convention. Revisions recommended by a select community on cannabis derivatives for medical use raises concerns about serious health consequences given the current and future condition in Palestine that do not enable us to take all applications, control measures and legal procedures and security and technical measures to prevent misuse. With a dangerous public health situation in our country under the Israeli occupation […] Thank you.

WHO: WHO’s contribution is undertaken with strict respect to WHO’s mandate. ECDD recommendations seek to prevent the harms caused by the use of cannabis and cannabis preparations and ensure that they are available when and where they are needed for medical and scientific purposes. Cannabis has never been subject to a formal review by ECDD, since its original placement within the international drug control conventions. However, CND resolutions requested WHO to provide an updated report on cannabis and request WHO to undertake a review of one dronabinol and it isomers. In recent years, scientific research has been conducted into the harms and therapeutic app indications of cannabis and cannabis preparations. The WHO WCDD considered the amount of scientific evidence, since the original placement of cannabis within the conventions to be sufficient to carry out a formal review to ensure a coherent and relevant level of international control. During the topical meetings, some concerns have been expressed with regard to the rationale and scientific evidence used for carrying out cannabis reviews and issuing recommendation for control. In deciding on it recommendations that ECDD complies with the requirements of the international drug control conventions. Scientific recommendations made by the 41st ECDD were based upon a comprehensive and the review process utilised best available scientific evidence concerning abuse, dependence, ill effects and medical use of cannabis. It is very unlikely that substantial new evidence has emerged since then. Cannabis abuse has been well documented and reports show serious harm that affects pregnant women, young children and adolescents that are particularly vulnerable to repeated cannabis use that can impair cognitive functions and result in mental health disorders. Increasing availability and potency of cannabis and the development of new cannabis products and methods for consuming them, under the current level of control within the international drug control conventions, raise serious public health concerns. Yet some of these cannabis constituents are prepared and preparations have proven therapeutic uses. The 41st ECDD recommendations recognised, as many countries have also done in their national laws and regulations, that there is the therapeutic value in some of the substances to be found in cannabis, including some without psychoactive properties. Effective therapeutic use of cannabis preparation has been demonstrated in a number of clinical trials for a range of therapeutic indications, such as the control of muscle spasticity associated with with multiple sclerosis and for the treatment of resistant epilepsy. The granting of marketing authorizations by medicines regulatory authorities in a number of countries is felt a recognition of such clinical effectiveness and added value. From current evidence, cannabis preparations are not likely to be first line medications for most indications for which they are used. They are however very important, as they offer the potential to produce beneficial effects in patients who do not obtain such benefits from other medications. If the recommendations of the WHO are accepted, both cannabis and THC, the major active compound in cannabis, will be controlled and have the most stringent level of international drug control that recognises any kind of therapeutic, which is scheduled one of the 9061 convention. The recommendations will not, therefore lead to any weakening of international cannabis control. Mr. Chair, WHO appreciates Member States feedback on the 41st ECD recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related substances, which have established a productive international dialogue to better understand this multifaceted and complex issue with the aim of protecting public health. WHO stands ready for further dialogue and collaboration with CND in advance to the 63rd CND reconvened session in December 2020. I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

INCB: As you know, some month ago INCB in line with its responsibilities and mandate provided to Member States an analysis of the possible impact of the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis related products on the control requirements and the reporting obligations under the international drug control system. I will not go into details again, I would just like to notify you know a few points. On recommendation 5.1, removing cannabis and cannabis raising from scheduled for of the 1961 convention would not change the control remote measures required at the international level. Both cannabis and cannabis resin would continue to be subject to the stringent control measures of schedule one of the 1961 convention, governments would continue to be required to submit estimates and statistics for cannabis and cannabis raising. The recommended deletion of cannabis and cannabis resin from schedule 4 affects only the possible implementation of stricter control measures at the national level. However, a member states may still in any way decide to adopt stricter control measure as provided for in the article 39 of the 9061 convention. The recommendation 5.2.1 which proposes to add dronabinol and its stereoisomers delta delta nine THC to schedule one of the 1961 convention and (5.2.2) to delete these from the 9071 convention would result in stricter control measures, namely that instead of submitting voluntary assessments of requirements at least once every three years, governments would be required to submit mid annual estimates, which are then confirmed by the INCB – bringing the control system in line with what already exists for other planned substances like opium and morphine and coca leaf and cocaine. Possible adoption of this recommendation would facilitate the work of governments and it would be easier for them to report to the board. And as a result, the board would be able to have a better and more comprehensive overview of global production, consumption and trade in cannabis and its active components. Same considerations apply to recommendation 5.3 – Subject to adopting the recommendation 5.1. Adoption of these recommendations, the 5.3.1 and 5.3.2 would result in additional and stricter control measures under the ’61 convention. Governments would be required to submit annual estimates and as for the aforementioned recommendations on dronabinol, and its stereoisomers, thiswould facilitate implementation of control requirements by governments and reporting to the INCB. To avoid any misunderstanding, it is the view of the board that the move of THC and delta nine THC from schedules one and two of the 9071 convention on psychotropic substances through schedule one of the 9061 single convention on Narcotic Drugs would not represent a weakening of the control measures, rather the contrary, a strengthening of controls as just explained. In case the recommendations are not adopted, and delta nine THC and isomers remain under the 71 convention on psychotropic substances, the board will of course continue to take its monitoring functions and assist those countries that require support in order to fulfil their monitoring obligations. On recommendation 5.4 to delete extracts and tinctures of cannabis from schedule one of the 61 convention if adopted, this is not expected to have any impact on control measures or reporting obligations given that these would be covered under preparations on recommendation 5.5 that a footnote be added to schedule one of the 9061 convention about the 0.2%  THC. From the INCB’s perspective, the main issue to consider relates to the practical implementation at national level that is the challenges of carrying out the chemical analysis to the required accuracy of 0. 2% of delta and delta 99 THC. If this recommendation is adopted, it would give rise to an important question on the control of cannabis cultivated for the extraction of CBD to be used for such preparations. And again, I refer to our impact analysis that details that that we have submitted in June. On the recommendation 5.6 there is a need for a more specific definition of the preparations in question. And I again, I refer to our impact analysis. INCB has no role in the scheduling process for the ’61 and ’71 convention and is providing its technical advice to Member States upon request. And again, as requested by the state parties, the board has outlined the implications and changes on control measures and reporting obligations if the recommendations would be approved. These recommendations provide an opportunity to clarify and streamline the control requirements applicable to cannabis and to cannabis related substances. In particular, the scheduling of specific cannabinoids under the 1961 convention will assist the monitoring of the global production trade and consumption of preparations derived from cannabis. At the same time, there is a need to establish clear definitions to avoid discrepancies in the interpretation of the control requirements. And there’s a need to improve the knowledge of the composition of various cannabis preparations that are available to patients for medical use. The lack of such knowledge limits the ability of competent national authorities to furnish accurate estimates and statistics on cannabis to the board. Member States have shown a strong commitment to monitoring and controlling substances in accordance with the international drug control conventions. Three elements are necessary to ensure the same level of monitoring and control for cannabis and cannabis related products. First, a shared and common understanding of the control requirements for cannabis and cannabis related substances. Secondly, it consistent approach with regard to imports and exports and thirdly, realistic and uniform conversion factors to provide for effective monitoring. Currently, without a common understanding on the interpretation of control measures applicable to cannabis, governments are less able to control the availability and quality of cannabis and cannabis related products for medical purposes. As a result, the data available to INCB are incomplete, which affects our capacity to analyse the balance between supply of and demand for cannabis and cannabis raw material for medical and scientific purposes. Ultimately, this can lead to a heightened risk of diversion of cannabis into the illicit market and the associated misuse of cannabis and cannabis related products with known harmful consequences. The INCB looks forward to continuing to support Member States In the implementation of the three international Drug Control convention. The board looks forward to the outcome of the voting process at the reconvened session in December and we’ll be ready for the timely implementation of the decisions.

Secretariat: As we already heard many times this morning and also this afternoon Mr. Chair we have embarked on a road that now last for nearly two years. Typical for the way we are working get in Vienna, all member states have been involved but just to clarify, on the 2nd of December the voting will be done by the 53 member states that are a current member of the Commission. Now the voting itself happens as is set out in the rules of procedure of functional commissions. There were some questions on what is the process now that meetings during COVID-19 are happening in hybrid manner? Well, based of what we see, a system of electronic voting that has not been developed. Now, what would it mean for the three members of the commission that do not have permanent representations? We have already discussed with the host country and the understanding is that for this kind of diplomatic missions, there would be the possibility … so in a way so that all 53 voting memers would have that possibility. But we also have had many cases in previous years, where not all 53 members decided to participate in the vote. So it’s up to every member of the commission to decide whether they want to participate in the vote. But we are looking into the possibility of ensuring that also those that are not represented but have a mission in a neighbouring country would have the possibility to have somebody from that neighbouring country coming to Vienna. However, I want to also refer here to the clarification that was required by the Office for legal affairs earlier this year, that it is ultimately up to the commission to decide to take action on more than one recommendation in one vote. But that would require prior a procedural decision by the Commission under the rules of procedure of the functional Commission’s of equal. About the voting procedures, we have gone trough it many times in the past two years […] thank you.

Chair: Thank you very much. Well, dear delegates, ladies and gentlemen in order to conduct the voting as smoothly as possible, I have already circulated a proposal regarding some procedural questions, and it has been circulated through the extended Bureau to all the regional groups in the form of a non-paper. Now having listened carefully to the comments made by Member States on the voting procedure, it seems that there are three outstanding issues that merit further consideration in order to proceed forward in the voting. Number one, the order of voting, the order in which the recommendations should be voted. Number two, the combination of the voting on recommendations 5.2 point one 5.2 point two 5.3 point one and 5.3 point two, because of the related implications and three, the establishment of a link between recommendations 5.6 and recommendation 5.2.
Several countries have mentioned during the topical meetings that they would prefer to vote on the recommendations in the order that we used for the consideration of these recommendations in our topical meetings. Following this request, I will have suggested to have voting in the following order: first, recommendation 5.4 on extracts and tinctures, number two recommendation 5.5 on cannabis preparations, number three recommendations 5.2 and 5.3 on dronabinol and it’s stereo isomers. I will come to the combination of the vote on these recommendations a bit later. Recommendation 5.6 on preparations containing dronabinol will be the number four in order of voting. Number five is recommendation 5.1 on cannabis and cannabis raising. Now combining voting on recommendations 5.2 point one 5.2 point two 5.3 point one and 5.3 point two – the commission would vote on every single recommendation separately. So first, the commission would vote on the addition of dronabinol and its stereo isomers to the 1961 convention, and then on the deletion from the 1971 convention, followed by addition of tetrahydrocannabinol to the 1961 convention, and then the deletion from the 1971 convention. Such a procedure entails certain risks that were outlined by a number of delegations during the second topical meeting. Let me just briefly outline two of the possible outcomes that might create administrative and legal challenges at the national and international level. As the recommendations 5.2 point one 5.2 point two 5.3 point one and 5.3 point two are phrased, there would be a list that dronabinol and its stereo isomers, as well as tetra hydro, can be included in both 1961 convention and the 1971 convention. This could happen if the substances were added to the 1961 convention, but we fail to delete them from the 1971 convention. As the majority is required under each of these conventions default, there would be a risk that the substances would be sheduled under both conventions. The votes might be sufficient to fulfil the simple majority requirement applicable under the 1961 convention, but may not be sufficient to fulfil the two thirds majority requirement of the 1971 convention and does the and thus the substance would not be deleted from the 1971 convention. This remains a real possibility having the same substances sheduled at the same time under both conventions could cause uncertainties regarding treaty obligations, including reporting and applicable control and the situation could also pose administrative and legal challenges at the national level. Further, from a chemical point of view dronabinol and it stereo isomers, which is delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol and tetrahydrocannabinol isomers of delta nine tetrahydrocannabinol are closely related in terms of the chemical nature. Due to their similarity in nature, it is very difficult to distinguish between the substances, transferring one to the 1961 convention, but keeping the other in the 1971 convention would potentially create difficulties for States Parties as to the applicable control regime. Due to the possible legal and administrative challenges that separate votes on each recommendation may cause, I suggest taking a procedural decision to combine the voting on recommendations 5.2 point one 5.2 point two 5.3 point one and 5.3 point to the Office of Legal Affairs. When we consulted them earlier, they confirmed that the Commission had the competency to decide to jointly vote on more than one recommendation. Further overlay had also indicated that it was up to the commission to decide on the majority required. I suggest using a two thirds majority for the combined vote. By opting for the two thirds majority as the higher threshold, the commission would avoid taking a decision under the 1971 convention that could not have been possible if separate votes were held. Establishing the substantive link to recommendation 5.6 is the third element which I wanted I have brought out in my non-paper. If voting on recommendation 5.6 was to take place separately from the voting on recommendation 5.2., it would also be possible that dronabinol itself remained sheduled under the 1971 convention, but preparations of dronabinol were added to the sheduled three of the 1961 convention. As the 1971 convention also addresses preparations of sheduled substances, preparations of dronabinol might thus be subject to the control regimes of both 1961 and the 1971 conventions. Therefore, I have suggested that the Commission establishes a substantive link to recommendation 5.6. if the joint recommendations were rejected, recommendation 5.6 shall be deemed as rejected in order to avoid the preparations of dronabinol. So, dronabinol remained in the 1971 convention, in case the joint recommendations are accepted, the commission would proceed to vote on the recommendation 5.6. I suggest that we do not engage into detailed discussion on the proposal today… but of course, we are we will be welcoming any remarks, any questions and queries but we ask that youtake time to think it through with a view to evolve a consensus in terms of procedure for voting in December 2020. Now, I would just like to explain to you that in terms of legal dimensions, the default procedure is always available before the commission for going ahead with the voting on these recommendations. My proposal as chair is actually trying to suggest a way to craft a way for addressing some of the anomalies and some of the risks that may be associated because of the complexity of voting and because of the different voting requirements under 1961 and 1971 conventions and the intricate linkages that exist between the recommendations and their sub recommendations. So, I would suggest that we can try to work on this paper, we can try to digest this, and we can try to grasp some of these procedural methods that have been suggested in this paper. And then in the coming weeks before the the date of the voting in December, we can try to develop a consensus. If a consensus is not possible, then of course, default option will be there. So I think it is in terms of the existing rules of procedure, it is very clear. As Secretary has also explained about the voting, if some of the delegations who are not based in Vienna, and their presence in Vienna will be vitally required for conducting the meeting, we will be in cooperation with the member states so that all the 53 member states of the commission are there when voting takes place.

Mexico: I’m bringing an issue now because I believe that with this very peculiar situation that we live in and we need to prepare now. I would disagree that the Rules of Procedure actually prescribed that the voting has to be physically in person, because the rules, which they mentioned is for the members present and voting, and the quorum refers to the members present. And the reason in my view is that in 1946, when these rules were developed, the possibility of not being physically present was non existent. But nowadays, as we’ve seen, is a possibility. We’re holding already in New York and other headquarters many meetings, official sessions, where official decisions are being adopted in hybrid formats. Hence, we’re accepting the principle that the presence can be physical in the room, or can be present in the meeting, not in the room. So Mr. Chair, I would not dare to put a percentage, but many of the participants are online, because they are not authorised by their own authorities to be in public spaces such as this one. So then again, I’m putting this question not to create more noise, but there is possibility that this to happen in December though we don’t know how the situation will evolve. My second issue, we’re facing a unique situation, itis not business as usual. And you gave a very concrete and accurate example, either having a substance scheduled twice, or actually having a substance which is not supposed to be only out of control regime to fall from it because of the following of the both of the recommendations – and those are just two examples of some of the systemic anomalies that we could face. And hence the need, as you correctly pointed out of the carefulness in which we need to prepare and agree on how to proceed. We have submitted your proposal to our authorities that you just received it last night, the process and they have been engaged the whole day today from Capitol. So the process of consultations will only start today for us, at least in Mexico. And we will come back with the comments from my government. I would advance more from my personal capacity here… So maybe there’s another avenue in order to reach the same goal that you’re trying to make us which is precisely having clear, and a neat process, which would address the task ahead of us, which would take care of the procedures established by the conventions and by the rules of procedure of the functional conditions themselves, would not create unwanted precedence, and would most importantly, avoid the systemic anomalies that I refer to. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I thank the delegation

Chair: I thank the delegation of Mexico for for very thoughtful comments you have made on on our proposals. That is precisely the purpose of having this preliminary discussion today, I would like to just briefly comment on the two points you have raised that you’re right that virtual meetings have now become reality. And this year, because of the COVID-19, we have made use of these virtual platforms very successfully and within a very effective manner in all areas of our activity. And we have also taken your utilise these meetings to take decisions. But when it comes to the voting, and it comes to the procedural frameworks or rules of procedures, or conventions and and related items, , we have no precedent of voting through virtual means. I understand that virtual voting will come under discussions maybe in the coming months and coming years but as of now, I think we don’t have a precedent where we have use the practice of virtual voting or voting in a virtual or hybrid meeting. But we can, you know, continue to debate on these issues because we’re, I fully agree with you that virtual meetings are going to be an essential element of our future way of work. The second issue, which where you have very correctly pointed out, some systematic or systemic anomalies in these recommendations, how to address them. Now, you know, we have come forward in a very systemic manner. This year, we started the process in a very complex state when we started the work of the 63rd CND. We had informal consultations, extensive informal consultations to craft a way forward for us and the commission through the CND63/14 provided us some time and some way forward for clarity, some guidance for bringing clarity and having some discussions and then we organised an intersessional and topical meetings. Now, I think it is time that we discuss the procedural requirements of having this voting and what will be the best way of dealing with the the procedural anomalies relating to these recommendations. With this I will now give floor to Russian Federation Russia.

Russia: Interpretation?

Chair: Yes

Nigeria: I think that I share the same sentiments as you, that presence could also include someone joining remotely. And like you rightly stated, no decision is cast in stone. And if you notice, when we started this virtual hybrid format, we had to make an effort to devise a means to take formal decisions, and that had to do it by consensus, or we put on a silent procedure for 72 hours, and eventually were able to have decisions. But we think that it is a very technical and very delicate issue that would require for that consideration, and then legal interpretation. And I think you’re right in saying that, in the course of the following common weeks, there may be discussions regarding these acts. But the fact is that since 1948, as my colleague observed, when this procedure came into force, being present meant you must have to be physically present in the room. But from our own perspective, we have listened to the Secretary point out that every effort is made to ensure that all member states who are members of the Commission are invited to to attend because we think that this is very important. We’ve had to take decisions when we didn’t have the full 53 members participate in but in this case, given the nature and highly sensitive nature of this particular recommendations, I think every effort should not be spared to ensure that all member states at least have the opportunity to be present. It’s very important that we are cleared before we go into the voting on December

European Union: We appreciate this proactive and very constructive step to address questions which probably all of us have been asking ourselves, because of the interdependence of the different scheduling recommendations. We can only imagine how much thought and work must have gone into drafting this paper. So, how do you foresee that this consensus would crystallise? Do you foresee any informal meetings? Or would we just come together again on the second of December, and you would look into the room whether there is consensus – if you may give us a bit more clarity maybe on the process of how you actually establish whether there will be consensus on your paper or not. Thank you very much. And thank you European Union,

Chair: I think, as I was explaining in response to the queries and remarks of our Mexican colleague, we have been moving forward in a process in a gradual manner. Now we are there when, you know, this paper could have only been submitted after we had completed our consultations in the topical meetings, it was not possible to preempt this space, this kind of procedural way forward before topical meeting. So we concluded our topical meetings day before yesterday, and we therefore, at the yesterday’s meeting of the extended Bureau, we brought this paper to the attention of the membership. And now we have formally put it on table in during this intersessional. It will require some more work in terms of consultations among the states. And I will therefore have to shedule some informal consultations among the member states and the wider membership of the UN, so as to get a feeling when that consensus can be arrived at. But I want to assure you that we will have to reach at some decisive point in terms of the way forward and voting by the last week of, because otherwise, we will be too hard we pressed for time and we will land in a situation which will probably not be a desirable situation. So I’ll try to introduce some informal consultations… you know, as Chair, I feel that two years of work has gone into this issue in to this issue and we have to now conclude this process. We cannot continue and linger on this debate and take it to the next sessions of the Commission. So that will be my intention to take this issue towards a very smooth, honourable, dignified conclude. Thank you.

Jamaica: […]

Chair: We’ll be keeping all the member states informed about the future informal consultations on these issues. If there are no more requests for taking floor on this agenda item, then I conclude this agenda item and we move to other business. I would request the delegations if they have to do raise any issues under this agenda item.

Secretariat: I would like to go back to what I said in my general presentation. And I was referring to the scheduling procedures. So with your permission, I would like to ask if my colleagues could take just a few minutes…

Secretariat: So what actually started during the lockdown period, we started to think about alternative ways how we can package and repackage the information on the scheduling and the normative function being a very complex area into basically an online tutorial that can be made available to all interested stakeholders in the work of the Commission. So based on the information in the brochure, we developed this short three part online tutorial for scheduling. So in part one, we’re looking into some background information on the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the three international drug control conventions, and also the normative functions of the Commission. Part Two focuses on the scheduling procedure, basically the purchases involved before, during and after the voting on the scheduling recommendations. And in part three, we’ll look at the control regimes of the schedules of the 61 and 71 conventions and the tables of the 88 conventions.

Chair: And now we are approaching towards the conclusion of this meeting. I would like to remind you that the third intersessional meeting where we will hold this year’s thematic discussions is sheduled for 19-21 October, we will have a hybrid meeting this time with both in person and online participation. The meeting will be held in English only as foreseen in the multi annual work plan adopted in June 2019. We will be discussing the challenges identified in the 2019 ministerial declaration. I will not be able to personally attend the meeting and have therefore entrusted the Ambassador of Switzerland, one of the vice chairs for chairing the meeting on my behalf. I hope that many of you will join and we will have fruitful interactive and constructive discussions in this meeting. I would like to now thank all of you for attending this meeting. Thank you very much. Enjoy your lives. And thanks and have a good time. Thank you very much. Bye bye.

 

NGO Statements:

Society of Cannabis Clinicians:  I commend the Secretariat for this opportunity to take the floor and I wish the new Chair well. I am Dr Joel Wren, a general practitioner from Adelaide, Australia. In my practice I see a wide variety of patients and pathologies. I prescribe medicinal cannabis and actively participate in the discussions on the right to health and palliative care. I am a member of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, an NGO founded in 2000, comprising hundreds of physicians from 23 countries educating and researching medical use of cannabis. We are at the frontline ensuring access and availability of medicines while addressing diversion and use disorders, fully aware that the world drug problem remains a common and shared responsibility requiring effective cooperation in a multidisciplinary and balanced approach. As a physician my practice is evidence-based so I am impressed by the ECDD scientific reviews. Such measured medical advice should not be disrespected in a time of pandemic. As a doctor I recommend medicines very carefully. Similarly, WHO’s recommendations are medical directives, a prescription for responsible policy and should be adopted as written for best results just as you would do at your own doctor’s office. Two years of discussions, the INCB analysis in June, WHO and UNODC’s answers have all provided meaningful legal and administrative clarifications. A clear point arose: this is a change in international scheduling, NOT in national laws. There is no mandatory change nationally, as per Article 39. Instead of voting no, delegations opposing the recommendations could rather abstain and just not-implement any change in their country. Mr Chair, Recommendations 5.1 and 5.4 are common sense, and a clear correction of the historical record. Similarly, 5.2 and 5.3 would contribute to policy coherence and simplification. I am pleased that 5.6 reflects the existing régimes of medical cannabis in place in the dozen countries on all continents that have championed the right to access these herbal medicines. I am therefore surprised that some of these countries oppose 5.6, even though it would harmonize their medical cannabis access policies with the Conventions. Finally, CBD is not a “drug” in the meaning of the Convention. This will not change. Same goes for the other non-scheduled components of cannabis. 5.5 does not affect the status of CBD and does not affect hemp; rather it provides a handy guidance for trade in medicines containing trace-amounts of THC. 5.5 would be a precedent to apply for any future non-intoxicating compounds. It wouldn’t create any new régime, but clarify the existing one in an implementable way. Most opposition directed at the form rather than the content. Perhaps CND could request WHO and particularly the ECDD to provide supplementary written information serving as official guidance interpreting the recommendations – just like there is a Commentary for the three Conventions. The use of Cannabis as a palliative treatment has been well known for Centuries by indigenous and traditional healers so these recommendations are not revolutionary. We can only discuss medical cannabis today thanks to the knowledge of our ancestors and the plants they left us. Almost all CND members have native Cannabis varieties with untapped medical potential but at risk of extinction. These are not only the heritage of humankind they’re assets for developing countries amidst a pandemic. Adopting the recommendations will help tackle plant biopiracy and misappropriation of traditional knowledge. Governments should realize international law does not end with drug control, invoke intellectual property treaties to protect traditional knowledge & the Convention on Biological Diversity or FAO Treaties to preserve genetic biodiversity. Member states call for evidence based policy – Now is the time to ratify it. The INCB concluded that the recommendations will – and I quote – “clarify and streamline control requirements,” provoking no legal or administrative disruption. Policy coherence is one of the sustainable goals your governments committed to. Updating scheduling on the basis of science is part of it. The Convention provides strong and exhaustive controls. The recommendations would maintain high levels of Schedule I controls, while enabling medicinal access and promoting research. Given that medicinal cannabis has made a come-back independent of the Convention: Wouldn’t rejecting the recommendations trivialise the Conventions? Wouldn’t it give a mandate for medical cannabis to continue unfolding outside of treaty control? This is a test for the Conventions. Make them fit for purpose: accept the recommendations. Mister Chair, Excellencies, Phytotherapy and herbal medicine are widely used not only traditionally but also in Western pharmacy. Control and pharmaco-vigilance of herbal medicines do not merely depend on scheduling; well-trained medical professionals are the front line to tackle risks and abuse. As a Cannabis Clinician, I am confident your Commission will respect the mandate of WHO, rejecting none of the recommendations. Abstaining and not implementing changes nationally is a way to voice your opposition without obstructing the international community, remaining committed to your common and shared responsibilities. My patients count on me to provide them the best quality of care. I count on you to support my profession with responsible and evidence-based policy. I thank you.

Centre for corrections and human development: My name is Obioma Evelyn Agoziem, the Executive Director, Centre for Corrections and Human Development. It’s a non-governmental organization located in Lagos, Nigeria. We work on Youth Development and Empowerment. We pay particular attention to social deviants, that’s why we have been at the fore front of the campaign on Mental health issues, we tagged “Say no to drug addiction, depression and suicide”. Following the WHO recommendations on cannabis and cannabis-related substances and the emerging therapeutic use of CBD oil as treatment of drug related issues, there is need for continued emphasis so as to prevent diversion, mis use and other public health related harms. CBD oil has gained acceptance all over the world and may more people are beginning to use it and the results seem evident on the positive impact made in the lives of the people. CBD oil is also attributed to have healed so many other ailments. What is CBD oil? CBD oil is derived from cannabis and it is a chemical naturally found in marijuana or hemp plant. CBD oil is one of the over one hundred psychoactive chemicals that does not intoxicate. It is non-intoxicating cannabis compound that offer anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and anti-anxiety effects as well as other beneficial benefits. It is important to note that our body produces cannabinoids on by itself. The human body system has endocannabinoids system that is responsible for creating and receiving cannabinoids. So, CBD oil works through the endocannabinoids system indirectly to relax the body, reduce pain and inflammation. This is the main distinguishing factor between CBD oil the THC. Tetrahydrocannabinol – THC is at least one of the one hundred and thirteen cannabinoids identified in cannabis. THC is the principal psychoactive constituent of cannabis that causes the “high” effect. It has the intoxicating compound that alters the normal brain response. It affects the neurotransmitters directly. It attaches itself to CBD receptors and interferes on how information is processed in the hippocampus, the part of the brain where memory is formed. It affects sense of judgement, concentration, pleasure. It can induce hallucination, affects how a person thinks and can be delusional. It is the presence of THC causes all these problems. All these problems are the major symptoms of a drug addicted person. They feel high, they are restless and do not concentrate, cannot give sound judgement and sometimes incoherent. So, if THC, because of the intoxicating compound shows these problems and CBD oil no the other hand does not make one to feel high, rather it’s relaxing and calming, and actually blocks the “high” associated with THC. CBD oil is already a solution to the THC challenges. It means that the problems have been taken care of and that process of treatment and healing has already taken place. CBD oil should therefore be emphasized and be encouraged to be used as a means of treatment for drugs/cannabis and cannabis-related issues. Although with a caveat, it should be controlled and well moderated. The dosage, usage, who administers it and who is being administer to, should be clearly understood. It should not merely be in the hand of Network Marketing businesses, where marketers who do not understand it should lead. There must be a way to monitor and possibly train them appropriately. It is more serious than buying and selling CBD oil. In conclusion, CBD oil should be used as a treatment procedure for cannabis and cannabis-related issues.

Familias y Retos Extraordinarios AC: https://youtu.be/a9Hi6njNXl0

Society for the Advancement of Global Understanding: Thank you Mr. Chairman, I’m Birgit Karner the Chief Administration Officer of the Society for the Advancement of Global Understanding. The ECDD conducted a critical review of cannabis and cannabis-related substances and recommended that a footnote be added to read: “Preparations containing predominantly cannabidiol and not more than 0.2 percent of delta-9-THC are not under international control.” It is our belief that the proposed language in Recommendation 5.5 should be revised to clarify how preparations of CBD with no more than 0.2 percent THC will be measured. ECDD’s recommendation may cause confusion among Member States and, more importantly, lead to consumers being unknowingly exposed to high amounts of THC. 1. ECDD’s Recommendation Creates Confusion as to Its Application. Terminology used in regulatory language must be clear and precise to ensure uniform interpretation of such regulations. The ECDD’s limit of 0.2% THC in a “preparation” requires clarification, since it could be interpreted in multiple ways. “Preparation” under the Single Convention is broadly defined as “a mixture, solid or liquid, containing a drug.” It therefore encompasses both a drug substance and a finished drug product. However, a finished product containing 0.2% THC will have very different abuse potential than a product with a drug substance containing 0.2% THC. In the latter case, the THC content of the finished product generally will be significantly diluted by the medium. Should Member States interpret the 0.2% THC recommendation to apply to a finished product, rather than the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) or drug substance itself, there is a significant risk of exposing the public to meaningfully increased health and safety risks due to high levels of THC ingestion. 2. The Application of ECDD’s 0.2% THC Application Carries Significant Consequences for Consumers’ Health, Safety, and Livelihoods. The impacts of ingesting even relatively small amounts of THC have been evaluated in the United States in their marijuana policy at the state and federal level, resulting in regulatory limits on the allowable amount of THC per serving in certain THC delivery mechanisms. For example, in the U.S., individual states such as Alaska, Massachusetts, and Oregon, have limited the amount of THC allowed in a serving of a cannabis edible to no more than 5 mg of THC, recognizing that 5 mg of THC is sufficient to produce psychoactivity. A single dose of the FDA-approved prescription dronabinol product Marinol® is 2.5mg THC, and studies have demonstrated psychoactive side effects even at that level. A consumer who ingests 3 ml of a CBD oil preparation containing 0.2% THC by volume may consume 5.5mg-6mg THC, an amount in excess of both the states’ maximum single serving size and the prescription dosage of Marinol®. Further, a safety risk would result in unintentionally consuming THC in CBD products resulting in unanticipated impairment. The impacts of consuming THC are more significant for vulnerable populations. Both the FDA and the Surgeon General in the U.S. have publicly issued warnings about the risks of THC and CBD to women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 3. ECDD Should Clarify Its Recommendation that the Term “Preparation” Applies to the Drug Substance or Total Cannabinoid Content, Not a Finished Product The ECDD’s use of the term “preparation” has caused significant confusion among Member States and will have adverse impacts on public health and safety. A consumer will experience a very different effect from a product containing a drug substance with 0.2% THC (that is diluted in the finished product), rather than from a finished product that itself contains 0.2% THC, depending on the amount taken, the manner of administration, and the frequency of use. Failure to clarify the meaning of the term “preparation” may result in potential impairment in unsuspecting individuals, who are unaware they are consuming an intoxicant. Thank you again for allowing me to speak.

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