The World Health Organization (WHO) postponed its much-anticipated recommendations about the international scheduling of cannabis, citing a need for more time to review its findings.
The recommendations were expected to be released Dec. 7 at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) 61st reconvened session in Vienna.
Recommendations about several other substances were included in the WHO presentation, but the organization’s spokesperson said they needed more time to complete the evaluation process of its review of cannabis.
No new date was provided for the release. Member states are expected to vote on the issue in March 2019.
The room was packed with representatives from governments from all around the world, nongovernmental representatives and the media.
Many received the “nonannouncement” with surprise and disappointment on what was expected to be a historic day for international cannabis policy reform.
Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, head of research at FAAAT, an international think tank focused on international drug reform policy, expressed disappointment at the lack of recommendations.
“Countries need time to understand and endorse these recommendations before the final (simple majority) vote to accept or reject them, next March,” Riboulet-Zemouli said in a news release on behalf of FAAAT.
Bruno Javier Faraone Machado, permanent representative of Uruguay to the United Nations (Vienna), told Marijuana Business Daily that the result is concerning.
“The fact that the recommendations weren’t made today as expected could mean that when the time comes to decide what to do with the recommendations in March, it will be easier for certain countries to argue that they didn’t have enough time to review the inputs to have a position, possibly delaying the process once again,” he said.
While also disappointed, Jonathan Zaid, director of advocacy and corporate social responsibility of Canada-based Aurora Cannabis, hopes the move leads to a more positive outcome.
“Although unexpected, we are hopeful this delay will provide the World Health Organization time to fulsomely consider the evidence and recommend cannabis be rescheduled accordingly,” he told MJBizDaily.
Alfredo Pascual can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org