IACM Patient Council Attends 67th Session of United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs 

by Oliver Callaghan

On the 13th of February, the International Coalition of Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) Patient Council announced their participation in the next United Nations (UN) Commission on Narcotic Drugs. This is huge news for medicinal cannabis patients worldwide whose needs will be advocated by six representatives from the IACM Patient Council between the 14th and 22nd of March. 

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is an annual conference first created in 1946 as a commission of the UN Economic and Social Council to discuss and modify issues relating to drug policy and control. 

In their press release, the IACM Patient Council laid out their aim of safe, affordable, and equitable access to medicinal cannabis for patients worldwide. As part of their attendance, the IACM Council will participate in a number of conferences covering the following topics:

  • Written and oral statements in the CND plenary and negotiating forums to help shape the debate and influence policy outcomes.
  • UN Conference Side Event 1: – Access and Availability, Palliative to Primary Care.
  • UN Conference Side Event 2: – Cannabis Biopiracy
  • Cannabis Embassy Campus Vienna – Training and Capacity Building Sessions for CND Participants and Cannabis Policy Reform Advocates

This is a unique opportunity for medicinal cannabis patients and drug policy advocates to be represented on an international stage. The inclusion of the IACM Council in a committee this influential is a promising sign of the willingness of policymakers to learn more about the utility of medicinal cannabis during this period of transition in the world of drug policy.

Representatives from the IACM Council who will attend include:

  • Jacqueline Poitras, Co-Founder and National Representative Greece
  • Michael Krawitz, National Representative USA
  • Daphnée Elisma, National Representative Canada
  • Tom Curran, National Representative Ireland
  • Dr. Pavel Kubu, National Representative Czech Republic
  • Kevin Herzig, National Representative Austria

When speaking of the importance of this conference, IACM Patient Council Co-founder and Founding Director of MAMAKA – Mothers for Cannabis, Jacqueline Poitras stated:

“The issues that patients face with access are common to citizens around the world. Cannabis has been recognised by the World Health Organisation as having medicinal applications and it is time that this highly therapeutic botanical be treated as such and not as a dangerous narcotic which is distanced from the patients that have need of its healing properties. The treaties and regulations that have been put in place in the past desperately need to be revised and updated to support the rights and needs of patients today. Political agendas of some countries shouldn’t be allowed to be an obstacle to safe and affordable access.” 

The IACM will hope to shift perceptions on the utility of medicinal cannabis by relaying the crucial role medicinal cannabis has played in improving patient outcomes. Executive Director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access in the United States Michael Kravitz concluded:

“Cannabis, as an adjunct pain treatment, produces better patient outcomes & reduces the need for opiates.The IACM Patient Council has reviewed the cannabis access programs of various countries and we have found that many have no access and those with access often have obstacles that at best are unnecessary and at worst represent a violation of basic human rights. We hope that our input into these United Nations historic meetings will help guide countries to better patient access.”

As more countries continue to embrace pragmatic cannabis legislation, it is clear that policymakers are beginning to recognise the potential of medicinal cannabis. Stay posted for more developments on the progress of drug policy.

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