Show Your Support for a FAIR and LEGAL Cannabis World: Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge (GRATK), Geneva & Civil Society Input around the SDGs, Nairobi

By |Published On: April 23rd, 2024|

Fields of Green for ALL and the Cannabis Embassy need your help to continue this important work. Simple ways to donate:

As we bask in the glow of amazing 2024 #420 events held in solidarity by our cannabis communities around the world, let’s remember that local law reform is not an end in and of itself. Changing legal climates raise important issues that have been on the back burner for generations.

Ambassadors of the Cannabis Embassy with many years of experience in the complex interplay of drug policy issues need to be at two important conferences in May:

Myrtle will be attending the United Nations Civil Society Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our contribution, together with our African colleagues, is vital in preparation for the Summit of the Future to be held later this year. The UN is at a critical juncture and now recognises the need to “reset global cooperation”. In Nairobi, we will showcase our Sustainable Cannabis Policy Toolkit, an important contribution to awareness around how Cannabis law reform can facilitate the achievement of the SDGs – goals which seem somewhat unattainable to many.

Biopiracy is the practice of commercial exploitation of biochemicals or genetic materials which occur naturally. Typically, indigenous people have traditional cognition primarily consisting of biological features and genetic diversity of the natural environment from one generation to another.

Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli (Spain), Michael Krawitz (USA) & Manu Caddie (Aotearoa-NewZealand) will attend the Diplomatic Conference on Genetic and Associated Traditional Knowledge in Geneva, Switzerland.

In South Africa, we are grateful for the focus being guided towards our rich cultural heritage through our Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) communities, elders and experts. However, the centuries-old threat to our biodiversity and plant resources posed by biopiracy and corporate capture needs urgent attention, internationally.

South Africa has already seen issues arising, with limited positive outcomes with plants such as Hoodia gordonii, Aspalathus linearis (rooibos), Sceletium tortuosum (kougoed) and Pelargonium sidoides (geranium), amongst others. A comprehensive study of the 4 plants above can be found here.

From the Cannabis Embassy position paper for the conference:

“As explained in a preparatory event held last month at the UN, this issue is particularly salient and urgent for Cannabis sativa L.: a plant endemic to Africa, Asia, and Europe, and present for centuries elsewhere. The knowledge of the plant and specificities of its “landraces” (local varieties) are invaluable sources for the development of, for instance, new pharmaceuticals based on minor phytocannabinoids. Such can currently be patented without any requirement to disclose provenance, origins, and the work of generations of people to enable the said variety and knowledge to survive centuries of colonialism and prohibition. Cannabis genetics and knowledge that have been held by Indigenous Peoples and local communities are increasingly being made private and proprietary. This commonly happens at the expense of the communities from which the knowledge, genetic material, and Digital Sequence Information were extracted. The GRATK treaty could help to prevent that.”

For more info about the vital (and fascinating) area of Genetic Resources & Traditional Knowledge:

The ancient origins of traditional medicine and implications for ethnopharmacology

And the technical aspects of protecting our biodiversity.

Thank you to everyone who supports our work.

The Fields of Green for ALL Team and the Ambassadors of the Cannabis Embassy.

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!

Thank you to our FGA Affiliates who help to make our ongoing content creation possible!


About the Author: Myrtle Clarke

Everyone here on TGN should know who I am!

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