Patient Advocates Bring Medical Cannabis Issues to United Nations

Patient Advocates Bring Medical Cannabis Issues to United Nations

By Ed Coghlan

While medical marijuana advocates are trying to expand its use in the U.S., some advocates are taking the case to an international body.

Today Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Steph Sherer, and Michael Krawitz, who is Executive Director, Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access have joined organizations at the United Nations headquarter in New York to continue preparations for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on drug policy on April 19th-21st.

The meeting on Wednesday provided input for a report that will urge that global policies on medical cannabis be included in the drug policy report.

The UN has not addressed this issue in a special session in 17 years. The last time the focus was to eliminate illegal drugs and drug trafficking. Today, international leaders, drug policy reform groups, patients, and citizens are encouraging the UN to reform this approach. On the agenda for UNGASS 2016 is a review of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.

Cannabis is currently scheduled in Schedules I and IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol. Today, Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Croatia, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, Romania, Germany, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, Columbia, Switzerland and over two-thirds of the population of the United States and its territories live in regions with medical cannabis laws.

“The current international policies on cannabis are outdated and are having a detrimental impact on patients in the United States and worldwide,” said Sherer. “New policies should take into account new clinical research, product safety protocols for cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution, and global patient needs.”

The UN Single Convention treaty has been used by governments across the globe, including the United States, to derail attempts to reform national medical cannabis laws and research. At the “Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical Practice” conference in Prague March 4-7, 2015, representatives of organizations of medical cannabis patients from 13 countries met and established the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC), and put together a Declaration addressing UNGASS 2016. Sherer and Krawitz will relay the call for action outlined by the Declaration which calls for the UN to take a series of actions, including rescheduling cannabis.

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Authored by: Ed Coghlan

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[…] new effort to urge cannabis and drug policy reform on a global scale is happening this spring at the United […]

What an impressive advocacy collaboration by Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Steph Sherer, and Michael Krawitz, who is Executive Director, Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access in getting United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on drug policy to address this major issue of Cannabis for Therapeutic Purpose (CTP). This major update will also shed some insight on similar advocates such as a more recent one from, Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elder #greenpropartners as it relates to its enormous value for patient, call for change in global policy approach and of course, a major buy-in for collaborative research base on the narratives to make it more safe and accessible to qualified patients.

Tim Mason

Pain is life begins early for the male as early as three days after birth. The male new born is subjected to torture by removing his foreskin. The infant is strapped down to prevent him from heaving, twisting and contorting his little body while the doctor goes about his/her work. The poor creature is denied any anesthesia or medication that would ease his suffering.
I wonder how much unseen damage is done to the child.
I have an older brother that was not circumcised as I was and I had some questions as a young boy. Why are we different? The answer I got was not surprising. In 1949 the cost for this torture was about $50 dollars. My parents told me that they could not afford the extra charge on their first child. Eight years later I was born and unfortunately my parents had the extra cash to have this done to prevent me from becoming some kind of drooling, demented sociopath. It was all about the money and still is today. I think the cost is about $400 bucks depending on where you live, etc.
I guess what I am trying to convey is the fact that doctors that have never had real pain and suffering, cannot conceptualize PAIN or degrees of it. This is why I choose a doctor that is at least my age and can understand.
I was hit by a car when I was twelve years old. The one event has taken it toll on me. Nose surgery, total right hip replacement, broken leg and an anterior lumbar fusion. I need another hip, another fusion and some shoulder work. Someday I would like to write “My Story”.
It is sad that money, and a great deal of it, is required to have an enjoyable life. Even a limited one.


This letter is further evidence that our betters- our “official” leaders across the globe have failed people in pain. They were and are too proud and certain and too far removed from us- the “masses”. But the problem is that the leaders like their power and indifferentism to the voices of others- for to hear us- to hear “others” is to relinquish control and their specialness. And this is often lost upon advocates who believe just because their cause is just, just because the evidence is in their favor, just because their beliefs are morally right- that that is enough to get the leaders and bigshots to listen. It wont be that easy.
The fact that the leaders haven’t acted on the evidence or on what is right- should beg the question- but it doesn’t. And so advocates need to dig deeper.
Advocates need to consider it is time to change power structures- change who is making decisions and how the decisions are being made-without real structural change progress will be slow and tenuous. Look at states that have adopted medical marijuana- the leaders wont to be the gatekeepers- and profit from such. They are controlling dominating certaintists who are proud egotists. They don’t like change. They don’t like to break their heads open to make things better for society. They identify with their colleagues and disidentify with people who don’t have similar education. They are special- aren’t they.
And so whether it is the WHO or UN or Congress or advisory committees in NIH or the FDA- real change will come about when the leaders power is dramatically changed. And the leaders would much rather people and the rest of society to suffer- before they will relinquish their privilege and power over the rest of society.
But I know advocates who are willing to except petty progress as being more then what it is. And so they will continue to try and push fat elephants up the mountain- rather then change the rules of the game. And that is why its easy to predict their will continue to be backfire effects from the modest changes they advocate.