France supports medical cannabis at United Nations meeting

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This article originally appeared on Cannabis & Tech Today, and appears here with permission.

For the first time in nearly a century, France vigorously defended the therapeutic potential of cannabis at the United Nations this week. The European nation calls the historic recommendation of the World Health Organization (WHO) to declassify medical cannabis from Schedule IV as “necessary”.

Unlike the way the United States lists narcotic drugs, with Annex I being the most restrictive category and Annex VI being the least restrictive, List IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (the international treaty which regulates cannabis) is the most restrictive.

Symbolically, the UN qualifies the substances in Schedule IV as a “scourge” • for humanity. Some of these drugs include fentanyl, heroin, and krokodil. However, Annex IV also contains less harmful substances with medicinal and therapeutic value, including cannabis and hashish.

After more than two years of scientific analysis of all available data, in January 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended removing cannabis from Schedule IV.

They also proposed other, more technical recommendations aimed at facilitating medical access to cannabis. However, these historic recommendations have yet to be validated or rejected by a government vote on December 2.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has postponed the vote on whether to postpone cannabis for the past ten consecutive years.

Regardless of the predictable inaction of the UN, the tide against the marijuana ban is turning. According to the French media, Newsweed, « This recommendation “clearly raises the strongest symbolism and arouses the highest expectations of part of our public opinion,” said the National Security Agency (ANSM), representative Elena Salazar at a diplomatic meeting in Huis closed.

“Recognizing the therapeutic potential of cannabis, it is also essential to enable scientific research […] the international community must send a clear signal on this matter. You have to be able to show […] that we do not compromise on drug trafficking and social harm while taking into account scientific developments regarding cannabis. ”

An excerpt from Elena Salazar’s statement on behalf of France to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Tuesday October 6, 2020, is as follows:

The representative of France then endeavored to present the ANSM experience to the world in these terms:

“In 2018, a scientific committee dedicated to the question of the relevance and feasibility of the offer of therapeutic cannabis in France […] gave a positive opinion […] for a limited number of cases: pain refractory to available treatments, palliative care, pain and spasticity associated with MS, for certain forms of drug-resistant epilepsy, as well as in the context of oncology support. An experiment should be set up in 2021 to test this new clearly defined medical consumption of cannabis in real conditions; evaluate the prescription and distribution circuit in a real situation and the commitment of healthcare professionals. Three thousand patients suffering from the aforementioned diseases should be included in this experimental phase. This small-scale experiment will allow us to collect the first French data on the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis.

With such a speech, France positioned itself alongside South Africa, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Mexico or Colombia, the United States and Switzerland, in defense of declassification. of Annex IV and the role of scientific research in the development of public policies. A real diplomatic turn confirmed two days later when the UN consultations on cannabis began in January 2019 [2].

Adrien Frier, Deputy Director in charge of the fight against terrorism and organized crime at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, said:

“As we vote on these recommendations next December, we must remember the primary objective of international conventions: to protect the health and well-being of all populations. It is clear that these recommendations are not intended and should not be seen as a step towards liberalizing the non-medical use of cannabis, which will remain contrary to conventions. It is also clear that we do not and must not minimize the risks and dangers to health, especially for young people, and that there is no room for trafficking and the violence associated with it.

At the same time, the conventions adhere to the principle of reflecting scientific progress and to the fact that the medicinal use of narcotics remains essential for alleviating pain and suffering. This now means considering the therapeutic potential of cannabis.

Extract from Adrien Frier’s statement on behalf of France, to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Thursday, October 8, 2020:

It is the first time since the end of the 1950s that France has adopted, on the international scene, a position on cannabis different from frontal opposition or denial.

At the time, the efforts of France and other countries allowed the Conventions to exclude all cannabis cultivated and used “for industrial purposes”. [3] which made “hemp” possible today.

As the ancient history of cannabis policies evolves, France seems to consolidate this support for research and access to cannabis and cannabinoids for medical purposes. France defends the right to health and science-based drug policies at the UN, in France and in the French overseas departments and territories.

Read the original article on Cannabis and technology today

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