Merging Cannabis policy and the Sustainable Development Agenda: roadmap for fair and resilient societies.
''Cannabis policy reform: social tool for fairer and empowered societies. ''
For decades, dedicated researchers of all disciplines, human rights advocates and activists of the right to health services and access to medicines, innovative private sector companies as well as passionate individuals, have contributed to provide decision-makers with a more human and comprehensive understanding of the multiple values of the Cannabis sativa L. plant (cannabis and hemp).
Simon Anderfuhren-Biget, Ph.D.
International Cannabis Policy Conference, Institute of Sociological Research
Following a wave of changes coming from the Americas, an increasing number of countries from all around the world move towards updates of the national legal and regulatory frameworks regarding this complex plant. Despite unprecedented progress, the prohibitionist mindset induced by the international drug control system still prevails in matter of cannabis politics, policy and policing. It remains a definitive constraint for any serious attempt to significantly move forward with inclusive public health and human rights-based policies on Cannabis sativa L. cultivation, possession, use (medicinal or not, but also cross-cutting uses like those of the “low THC weed”) and trade. However, since the World Health Organization decided in 2016 to review the international scheduling of Cannabis (see faaat.net/cannabis), the situation is changing: all industry players, patients, and human rights advocates, as well as most national drug regulatory agencies and health ministries, are nervously awaiting for the conclusions - expected for December 7th. Many expect this outcome to offer opportunities for countries to increase public investment in research, develop innovative policies and sketch out new market perspectives. These recommendations will be presented the 7th to the United Nations Member States in Vienna UN headquarters, Austria.
In this context, the work of FAAAT think & do tank at the WHO level has been a landmark. For years, this transnational NGO has served as a global platform for the debate and elaboration of innovative proposals to upgrade Cannabis policies and practices. The new Treaty scheduling proposed by WHO next December, and the 2019-2029 framework plan of action of the United Nations on drug policies, will be adopted in March 2019. To provide the last opportunity for external inputs from key stakeholders before this meeting, expected to be historical and critical, FAAAT think & do tank organizes the International Cannabis Policy Conference
. It has the purpose to bring together gathering researchers, NGOs, students, UN and national public officials and policymakers from neighboring countries, private sector businesses, investors, and all other interested parties in Vienna (Austria) December 7th to 9th 2018. Besides scheduling controls and the implications of changing them, this event presents the contribution of cannabis and industrial hemp markets, products and services innovations relevant to the achievements of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global framework for sustainable societies. In facts: in 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 ambitious goals for a safer, fairer and better world by 2030. In the continuity of the Millenium Goals, this 2030 agenda focuses on ending poverty, fighting inequalities and stopping climate change. Guided by them, all governments agreed to amend their middle and long-term strategies to reach these goals and their precise set of targets and indicators. Businesses, civil society and the general public are also called to work together to contribute to achieving those targets. The Cannabis plant: industrial tool for greener and sustainable societies. Certainly, the very Cannabis plant itself has numerous advantages. Fast-growing renewable resource with almost unlimited industrial applications, its potential is also substantive as a substitute for petrol-based products - making it a perfect candidate for an environmentally-friendlier society.
Cannabis policy reform: social tool for fairer and empowered societies. On the other hand, sticking to current restrictive policies on the psychoactive uses (therapeutical or not) prevents from achieving part of the SDGs, in particular, those linked to human rights, fairness of institutions and criminal justice, or health concerns. Conversely, appropriate policy measures can definitively foster them.
As the global advocacy movement for cannabis legal regulations is diffusing around the world, this renewed approach to cannabis-related laws, policies and practices opens new venues for the production, commerce and use of cannabis/hemp. During a special event organized alongside the International Cannabis policy Conference, FAAAT think & do tank will release to the United Nations a detailed report about the contribution of the Cannabis sativa L. to the SDG. The program in short Saturday 8th is dedicated to plenary panel and keynote sessions with top researchers, industry and policy leaders. They address, with an interdisciplinary perspective, critical questions for whoever interested in the multidimensional features of cannabis legal regulation: the environmental impact of cannabis/hemp cultivation, gender balance in emerging cannabis markets, sustainable and fair access to health and cannabis medicine, harm reduction patterns and delivery methods, socio-economic and social justice. Sunday 9th focuses on case studies, by topics and by territories (Austria and its neighboring countries, developing countries). On Sunday also takes place the International Cannabusiness Award (cannabis-conference.com/awards). Companies, start-ups, and other innovative minds are welcomed to present products, processes, services, practices or ideas that change the way we think about Cannabis, change the way we use it, or change policies. This brief highlight on what can be done to arrange a harmless policy transition away from prohibition, is only an introduction to top-level decision-making processes and directions that will be debated in Vienna in December.