Late last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) held the 41st meeting of the Expert Committee of Drug Dependence (ECDD). This was a historic meeting as it was the first review of Cannabis scheduling in international treaties since before the existence of the UN or WHO.
After a delay in reporting the results due to suspected political pressure, an internal letter to the UN Secretary-General containing a raft of recommendations regarding Cannabis and its extracts has been leaked.
A key recommendation was to remove raw Cannabis and its resins from Schedule IV which is the "prohibition" scheduling, where it was placed next to Heroin and various Fentanyl derivatives, essentially a list of the most dangerous drugs known to man.
Another recommendation was for Cannabis medicines that cannot easily be refined to extract THC, be put in schedule III, next to low-risk preparations such as Paracetamol/Codeine combination drugs, which are available on consultation with a pharmacist. Coincidentally, this reaffirms the position of Medical Cannabis in Dr. Shane Reti's Medical Cannabis Bill, where Cannabis medicines would no longer be Prescription medicines, but Pharmacist only medicines.
"I hope that our Regulatory team writing up the Medical Scheme pay close attention to how this unfolds at the international level, as it sends a strong signal on our scheduling of such substances." "I suspect once these schedulings are entrenched our Government will have to review the schedulings of Cannabis with regards to the Misuse of Drugs Act" adding further pressure to conduct a review of this antiquated piece of legislation," Says MCANZ Coordinator Shane Le Brun.