U.S. Congress and United Nations to Vote on Cannabis Reform

By Shawn Hauser

Dec 1, 2020

This week marks a historic milestone in cannabis policy as both the United Nations and the United States House of Representatives consider modernizing prohibitionist cannabis laws. Both bodies will vote on whether to reform cannabis policies adopted in the 1950s and 1960s that were largely driven by racist and paternalistic biases and without proper scientific assessment of the cannabis plant and its medicinal value.

  • On Wednesday, December 2nd the 53 Member States of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs will vote on six recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the scheduling of cannabis in the 1961 and 1971 Conventions on Drug Control. The WHO recommendations arise from the first-ever critical review of cannabis and acknowledge the medical efficacy of cannabis.

  • At home, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider the Marijuana Opportunities, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would remove marijuana and THC from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), provide for reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, and provide for expungement of certain cannabis offenses.

VS acknowledges the importance and synchronicity of these two votes, and, as we near the end of 2020, welcomes this new era of US and international cannabis policy reform. 

Our friend John Walsh, Director of Drug Policy at Washington Office on Latin America, emphasizes the significance of these two votes, and how they will steer the direction of future cannabis reform in his article "A Tale of Two Cannabis Votes."

“The first week of December 2020 will witness two of the most consequential sets of votes on cannabis policy since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs marked the advent of the prohibitionist global drug control regime, which allows for only medical and scientific uses of hundreds of psychoactive substances. Unfolding over the span of just a few days, the voting set to take place at the United Nations and in the U.S. House of Representatives may reverberate for years to come, setting the course of cannabis policy in the United States and globally.”

Click here to read the article by John Walsh.


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