While the benefits of medical cannabis have long been touted by proponents and many doctors, major international bodies have recently recognized the importance of these compounds to medical patients.
Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that marijuana and its component be rescheduled under international drug treaties and give more leniency to the compound. In response to this shift, the European Parliament as a whole has jumped on board, voting on Wednesday in a resolution to help promote medical cannabis in the countries forming the union.
As reported by Forbes, while the resolution remains non-binding, it will still be incentivizing European countries to increase access to medical cannabis across the board, as well as prioritizing scientific research and clinical studies. While the official recognition from the union is a positive sign for the European cannabis industry as a whole, it doesn’t change any specific laws on the local or international levels.
After investigating how the EU could establish “standards for non-pharmaceutical medical cannabis to ensure consumer safety,” the separate members of the parliament voted on a resolution that would encourage member states to “address the regulatory, financial and cultural barriers” that has been stymieing cannabis research.
“The EU Parliament is just the latest voice to recognize the medical value of cannabis and the benefits of regulation over prohibition,” said Tom Angell, Forbes contributor and publisher of Marijuana Moment, in response to the development. “I’m hopeful that the growing chorus in favor of reform will spur action by nations to change their policies and improve access for patients who need this medicine.”
The resolution follows an announcement from the WHO earlier in February which called for cannabis as well as it’s related components to be removed from Schedule IV, which is the most restricted category of a drug convention signed over 50 years ago. The group also wants to remove THC from a separate drug treaty, moving it to a Schedule 1 drug,
“The placement of cannabis in the 1961 treaty, in the absence of scientific evidence, was a terrible injustice,” said Michael Krawitz, a legalization advocate who has pushed for changes to international cannabis regulations “Today the World Health Organization has gone a long way towards setting the record straight. It is time for us all to support the World Health Organization’s recommendations and ensure politics don’t trump science.”
The development is a big deal for cannabis enthusiasts who have campaigned against current legislation. If these proposed measures are adopted, it will amount to a formal recognition that the union’s governing bodies have been wrong about cannabis’ risks and medical benefits for decades. This would likely have a spillover effect to other governments that have cracked down against CBD and THC related products.
The FDA would comment on the decision from WHO and the EU, saying that “If treaty obligations do not require control of CBD, or if the international controls on CBD change in the future, this recommendation will need to be promptly revisited.” They added that the U.S. government could potentially re-evaluate the placement of CBD internally.
Overall, the response from the cannabis community has been positive, with many expecting that these announcements will only accelerate the growing trend of legalization taking place across the world.