In January 23rd 2017 Hanka Gabrielová, an associate FAAAT advocate from the Czech NGO Konopa, delivered the following statement during an hearing of civil society by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, gathered for an inter-sessional meeting of its 60th session.
Hanka delivered a clear explanation of the threats and unexpected consequences of the drug control system on non-psychoactive cannabis crops (hemp), although these cultures can be a crucial tool to achieve the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
Addressing the chapter of the outcome document from the UNGASS 2016 on Evolving reality, trends and existing circumstances, emerging and persistent challenges and threats in the world drugs issue, she delivered a call for the release of the legal and political pressure that impedes the development of hemp-related businesses, including small-scale crops, un particular in developing countries.
Commission on Narcotic Drugs • First Intersessional Meeting of the 60th Session (Agenda Item 1) Thematic discussions on the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document
Chapter 5 “Operational recommendations on Cross-cutting issues in addressing and countering the world drug problem: Evolving reality, trends and existing circumstances, emerging and persistent challenges and threats, including new psychoactive substances, in conformity with the three international drug control conventions and other relevant international instruments”
In 1961, the plenipotentiaries stated in article 28, §2 that the new Convention on narcotic drugs « shall not apply to the cultivation of cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fibre and seed) or horticultural purposes. »
Besides the medical and recreational uses that are well known, cannabis plant has been used by and served humankind for thousand of years as agricultural crop for fiber, cloth, ropes, paper, and for seeds for food. All of these uses of the Cannabis plant fall under “diversion” and “non-medical uses” under the International drug control regime.
This existing circumstance (the broad range of uses that some scheduled drugs can have) is too often forgotten in the debates of this Commission, although constituting an emerging and persistent challenge in addressing the world drugs issue.
Under a social and economical scrutiny, hemp industries continues to create jobs and work opportunities. Under a broader focus, 55 years of evidences have shown that hemp can be part of the solution for many environmental issues, and should be acknowledged in particular for its potential for economical development and for the fulfillment of the goals of the Conference of Parties on Climate Change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development :
- Hemp crops store CO2 emissions,
- it produces renewable material which can sustainably replace trees in making paper,
- it can be turned into biodegradable plastic
- hemp can be used instead of concrete for building,
- and the rich seeds of hemp represent a meaningful nutritional contribution to address the world hunger.
When the international community scheduled cannabis as a narcotic drug, we didn’t know so much about cannabis plant from scientific point of view. But since 1965, more than 120 thousands publications about cannabis and cannabinoids were inventoried by the respected “Web & Science“ page.
And meanwhile, fields of hemp kept growing around the globe, and the demand for hemp product increased. But hemp farmers and manufactures are still too often getting into trouble because of the lack of clear legal regulation regarding growth and uses. No industrial activity can ever get stability without legal regulations. In 80’s cannabis become back to the market as industrial hemp crop but since that The Single Convention hasn’t been updated on this issue.
Conclusion: The inclusion of non-psychoactive cannabis within anti-drug strategies has created devastating effects on large segments of our society all over the world. This must change, and Hemp products should be available worldwide and regulated by the international community through evidence-based, reasonable, modern and clear laws.
- We ask the State Parties of the 1961 Single Convention to fully implement its Article 28, paragraph 2, and take their responsibilities to rectify at the national level one of the biggest mistakes in the history of mankind.
- We ask the Commission on Narcotic Drugs to acknowledge this cross-cutting issue, and encourage its members to undertake the relevant national regulations allowing the growing and development of hemp crops and related manufactured, to help improve the quality of life of their citizens.
This statement was presented on January 23rd 2017 during the CND intersesionnal thematic discussions on the implementation of the UNGASS outcome document, by Hana Gabrielová. For more information or support please contact: [email protected]