International Cannabis Policy Conference press release

Cannabis policies are getting transformed all around the world. Businesses are springing up and, from Thailand to Canada and from Lesotho to France, societies are getting prepared to change their approach and relation with this mighty plant and its multiple applications.

However, international regulations on cannabis are still incoherent and outdated, as the United Nations international Treaties still consider Cannabis as a harmful drug without medical value.

At its Special Session on the world drug phenomenon (UNGASS 2016), the UN General Assembly requested all interested parties (civil society, academia, the private sector, and affected populations), to scale-up their involvement in the design and update of International drug policies.

A year later the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) reiterated this demand, explicitly calling for the provision of inputs to the High-Level Session on drug policy in March 2019.

The International Cannabis Policy Conference directly answers these requests, through the gathering of affected and interested parties to provide substantive contributions on future policies and regulations on Cannabis, in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Organized by the think-tank FAAAT, the Conference will be held in the United Nations quarter of Vienna, Austria, December 7th – 9th 2018.

On December 5th-7th, the CND is holding the last session where inputs can be provided for the  High-Level Session on drug policy in March 2019. A Pre-Con event will take place inside the United Nations on December 7th, and the big part of the Conference will continue on December 8th-9th across the street (Austria Center Vienna), offering space and ideas to continue discussions between decision-makers, entrepreneurs, and experts.

Top-level speakers in their field will address the links between Cannabis, its policies, and the SDGs:

First confirmed speakers: Dr. Franjo Grotenhermen, Ethan Nadelmann, Robert Hoban, Lisa Sánchez, Dr. Ilya Reznik, Pavel Pachta, Catherine Ritter, Anthony Silvaggio, Lezli Engelking, Patricia Amiguet, Michalis Theodoropoulos, Dr. Sergio Sánchez-Bustos, Òscar Parés, Dr. Olivier Bertrand, Pedro Arenas, Hanka Gabrielová, Daniela Kreher… and more to come soon!

Among the topics that will be discussed, Women & Cannabis: achieving gender equality in all situations, the Cannabisplant and hemp as tools for combating climate change, industry’s pathways to tend to zero environmental impact, lessons learned and future challenges of the global cannabis markets, what ethics for legalization (fair trade, minoritiesdeveloping countries…), sustainable consumption & harm reduction, access to cannabis and cannabinoids in the context of WHO descheduling recommendations, sustainable standards of the industries, and series of case studies!

FAAAT is an independent nonprofit, and one of the few lobby groups continuously focusing on committing the United Nations to update their policies on Cannabis, thus educating decision-makers. FAAAT has managed to bring the World Health Organisation to review the international scheduling of Cannabis and its outdated regulations hampering the fundamental rights to health and to privacy (as well as indigenous and peasants rights) and limiting the potential of both individuals and communities to grow.

The International Cannabis Policy Conference will take stock of the state of reforms, and propose solution to shift away from the counter-narcotics approach, to a more humane and sustainable vision of Cannabis in our societies, building on the new frame offered by the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The UN 2030 Agenda mediates “a world of universal respect for human rights and human dignity, the rule of law, justice, equality and non-discrimination”.

Cannabis – both the very plant (hemp) and the social and economic implications of Cannabis policy reforms – is an essential element to consider for the achievement of the agenda.

Now is the historic moment to do an evaluation of the potential of cannabis plant applied in the way of the Sustainable Development Agenda and framework of UN. This will also help opening doors to incentivize rural policies that include Cannabis in countries’ development strategies, and shift away part of the Cannabis-related discussions out of the counter-narcotics approach and mindset.

This event is an unprecedented opportunity to mainstream Cannabis policy reform, and give it an ethical and sustainable content. Things are changing rapidly: the future has to be built now.

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