The importance of protecting biological diversity also informs some international protections for Cannabis farming communities. In particular, the 2004 Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols42 helped to shape most countries’ legislation and policies on the protection of traditional knowledge, bioprospecting, access and benefit sharing, plant variety protection and plant breeders’ rights and, more generally, the sustainable use of crop genetic resources.
Each of these elements is key to a smooth, respectful transition to legal settings for historical Cannabis farming communities. In a similar manner, South Africa is currently taking part, in Geneva, in negotiations for a future treaty to ensure the effective protection of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources. Both the international negotiation and our local Cannabis regulations would benefit from increased dialogue with experts on this matter.
In January 2016 a global meeting took place where small scale farmers of Cannabis, Coca and Opium – from 14 countries – discussed their contribution to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS). You can read more about the Heemskerk Declaration here.