A UN body just took a huge crap on the progress of cannabis legalization all over the world. Focusing their reprimand on the US and Uruguay, the International Narcotics Control Board particularly expressed concerns that, by allowing Colorado and Washington to legalize cannabis for use other than medicine or research, the US is violating international drug control conventions. While it may seem dire that a UN agency is admonishing the world for warming up to weed, a look at the INCB’s track record reveals it to be a myopic organization following an unreasoned, decades-long pursuit not only to keep cannabis illegal, but to keep it classified with far more dangerous drugs.
When the UK moved to reschedule cannabis, potentially freeing up law enforcement to address more serious substances, the INCB had a huge cow about it and shouted out arcane falsehoods about cannabis, including the old “one joint is worse for you than 20 cigarettes” and of course “reclassification of cannabis would make educating pupils about the dangers of drug abuse more challenging.” The Board has also chastised Canada for legalizing medicinal use, maintaining, “the evidence that cannabis might be useful as a medicine is insufficient.“
The INCB holds this opposition to medical cannabis despite their charge to “limit the cultivation, production, manufacture and use of drugs to an adequate amount required for medical and scientific purposes” as outlined by the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. That treaty is the outline that served as a foundation for worldwide drug prohibition and scheduling, including the regressive Controlled Substances Act in the US, signed into law by President Nixon in 1970.
It’s a little scary that the INCB is also the UN body that makes recommendations for the global allotment of opioid painkillers, which it considers to be a more medically sound treatment for pain. At very least, there’s one trusted voice rallying against this warped notion.
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who spent a chunk of his career dismissing the medical benefits of cannabis only to come around last year in full support, has “doubled down” on medical marijuana. In an article on CNN, the doctor shows us just how far he has come in his thinking on the subject. “Since I started my reporting on this topic, I have mostly resisted temptation to inject a subjective moral equivalency into this discussion, such as pitting alcohol against marijuana or reminding you that cocaine and methamphetamine are actually more available than marijuana to patients, physicians and medical researchers… Or telling you that on average, a person dies every 19 minutes in this country from a legal prescription drug overdose, while it is virtually unheard-of to die from a marijuana overdose.”
It’s incredibly refreshing to hear a medical resource from the mainstream media drop such activist rhetoric. Gupta also noted shifts in opinion on medical cannabis from President Obama and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Gupta’s change of mind makes it just a little more OK for doctors around the country to publicly endorse medical cannabis without fear of being labeled pariahs of the medical community. His second weed documentary, Cannabis Madness, documents the lives of medical cannabis patients who have had to leave their home states and move to Colorado so that they can continue their treatment.
As the current time of change continues, we see support grow based on new research and discoveries, and simultaneously we hear fading echoes of familiar detractions, harping on the antiquated notions that kept it illegal for so long. As the frequency of repetition increases, you can be sure that it’s a sign of desperation on the losing side.
Overall… We’re winning!!!