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Should CBD Be Legal? The United Nations Wants Your Input

January 26, 2018

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the agency that oversees the major international treaties on drug control, is considering how to properly categorize cannabidiol (CBD), a medically promising and non-intoxicating cannabinoid. And the UN wants to hear from you about it. Soon.

Between now and Feb. 26, members of the public have the opportunity to comment on the status of CBD. While it’s not a referendum on cannabis broadly, it’s a chance to help make progress for patients and consumers. The US Department of Health and Human Services, which is coordinating the American input on the issue, published a notice announcing the public input earlier today in the Federal Register.

Why Does This Matter?

The United States is party to the two major treaties that handle cannabis: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. At its next meeting, in May 2018, the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, a unit of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, will reconsider the classification of cannabis and cannabis-related substances.

As part of that consideration, the UN is asking for public input on the proper categorization of CBD. Currently, CBD exists in a kind of quasi-legal stasis. CBD is not currently a scheduled substance in its own right, but it is considered a Schedule I substance because it is an extract of cannabis—and all cannabis extracts and tinctures are Schedule I under the 1961 Single Convention.

During its upcoming meeting, the UN’s Expert Committee will consider whether to create a specific category for CBD on its own, place it within the existing schedule apart from cannabis, or keep it as a Schedule I cannabis extract.

Cannabidiol 101: A Peek Into Cannabinoid Chemistry

How Can I Comment?

Go to this portal, run by the US government: Regulations.gov.

Let the federal government and the United Nations know about your own experience with CBD. Voice your opinion about the medical efficacy of cannabidiol. Reference the many scientific studies done on the substance.

The deadline for comment is Feb. 26 at 11:59 p.m. As of today (Jan. 26) there were a grand total of zero comments. Let’s start writing, people!

Bruce Barcott's Bio Image
Bruce Barcott

Leafly Senior Editor Bruce Barcott oversees news, investigations, and feature projects. He is a Guggenheim Fellow and author of Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.

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