South Africa is Voting on Cannabis in March 2019

South Africa is Voting on Cannabis in March 2019

It has always been our strategy at Fields of Green for ALL to tackle the scourge of Cannabis prohibition from grass roots level all the way to the top of the “highest” tree.

 

Today, our local affiliate organisation, the Umzimvubu Farmers Support Network, will meet with traditional leaders in their remote Eastern Cape area in order to thrash out the way forward for the rural farmers in their community. This is the community that was the subject of our short doccie “Police in Helicopters” in 2015. Together with rural communities who cultivate illicit crops around the world, the Unzimvubu region was sprayed with glyphosate poison in law enforcement’s vain attempt to eradicate Cannabis. Glyphosate is a poison that has been declared carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation. We have sent a letter of support and encouragement for today’s meeting and will be there every step of the way to ensure that our 900 000 rural farmers do not become victims of the #Gooftas – foreigners coming to steal our sun.

 

 

Meanwhile in Europe… Cannabis Schedules under the 1961 UN Drug Conventions are under review. South Africa is one of the 53 countries who have a vote at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna in March 2019. We are figuring out a way to get our message directly to the (famously elusive) South African delegation ahead of their vote. We tried to meet them in Vienna this year but were stood up!

The review process has many steps along the road to the International Centre in Vienna in March. Our international affiliate, Cannabis News Network in The Netherlands, has written a really concise blog of the process:

“Anyone who has ever done research into why cannabis and other substances are considered illegal will have stumbled upon the so-called narcotic scheduling.

Generally, all countries follow the classifications from the UN conventions of 1961 and 1971. Countries must follow by passing laws to carry out the provisions of the UN Drug Conventions. For instance, even the US scheduling system is fully based on the conventions’ classification schedules. 

Scheduled substances rarely get rescheduled, but there’s hope on the horizon for cannabis rescheduling.

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is advised by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which for the first time is discussing the current scheduling of cannabis. On July 23rd, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Dr Tedros, Director-General of the WHO) sent a letter to all the countries who signed on the 1961 and 1971 conventions. Following the outcome of the 40th meeting of the WHO’s independent Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) dedicated to the scientific assessment of cannabis and its derivatives, pure CBD was recommended to not be included in the treaties schedules anymore. However, cannabis resin, extracts, tinctures (and even CBD-rich extracts), THC and THC isomers will continue to be reviewed in November.

The next step is, therefore, the so-called ”critical review”, the final part of the assessment which will eventually end up with cannabis rescheduling, on the ECDD’s 41st meeting from 12th to 16th November 2018. The result of this meeting will be made public on December 7th during the International Cannabis Policy Conference organized on the occasion by FAAAT.

The final hurdle needs to be taken in March 2019, when the CND will adopt or reject the recommendations of the WHO’s ECDD.”

Read the full article and watch videos about the process HERE.

We are very excited to be NGO Sponsors of the International Cannabis policy Conference in Vienna in December. The speakers are arranged according to the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals. The interminably imminent SDGs. We’ve seen the UN and such bodies move the goalposts countless times, trying to steer unruly developing countries towards some sort of sustainability. However, countries like South Africa love these sort of to-do lists. We will learn a great deal about how to shape our policy to fit into the language of the politicians and enable them to fit our plans perfectly into their paradigm.

Descheduling (at best) or rescheduling of Cannabis at the UN will be a very, very big deal for the way forward in South Africa.

South Africa can rest assured that we have tremendous support from overseas. It has been an expensive and sometimes frustrating process to get our story onto the international drug policy circuit but we now know that the rest of the world are in awe of our Constitutional Court Judgement. Nowhere in the world has privacy been put before medicine. This is significant in terms of human rights issues pertaining to drug policy as a whole. It bodes very well for an end to the prohibition of all drugs in the end. Only then can we think of shaping policy to put health, human rights and cognitive liberty first.

2018-11-02T10:23:12+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Shaun November 4, 2018 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Are they aware that we have non psychoactive THC? This changes everything.

    • Myrtle Clarke November 13, 2018 at 7:10 am - Reply

      Yes. Civil society’s contributions to the WHO review of Cannabis goes into every possible permutation of the plant and non-psychoactive THC is certainly there.

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