When the World Health Organization recommended earlier this year that cannabis be rescheduled under international law, advocates cheered the news. Kenzi Riboulet Zemouli, the head of research at Paris-based drug policy nonprofit FAAAT, called it “the best outcome that WHO could’ve possibly come up with.”
But for the time being, the reforms—which would loosen restrictions on cannabis and certain chemical components as well as remove CBD completely from international control—are purely theoretical. They’re recommendations. Now the United Nations has to decide what to do with them.
Just Follow This Link and Click “Comment Now!”
This is where you come in. Between now and March 14, the US Food and Drug Administration is accepting public comments on the WHO recommendations. Those comments—your comments—“will be considered in preparing the United States’ position on these proposals for a meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, Austria,” according to the FDA’s Federal Register filing.
Although the process can be tedious and progress can be slow, steady efforts like this are essential for meaningful change.
Comments must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, March 14. Just follow this link and click the “Comment Now!” button in the upper right. If you’re mailing written comments, they must be postmarked by March 14.
It’s possible your input could make an impact as soon as this month. Submitted comments will be considered by the FDA and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, acting on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). From there, HHS will make a recommendation to the US Secetary of State regarding how the US should vote on the WHO recommendations.
The UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs is set to meet March 18–22. A vote on the WHO recommendations could happen then, though a growing number of observers expect that vote to be postponed as the result of earlier delays.
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has asked for public input on how it should navigate global drug reform, and it may not be the last. But although the process can be tedious and progress can be slow, steady efforts like contributing to public discussions are essential for meaningful change.
The UN has for years been warming to the medical benefits of cannabis and reconsidering its risk. But the job isn’t done yet—not for them, not for us.