International Medical Cannabis Patient Organizations Unite to Change United Nations’ Drug
PRESS RELEASE – Prague, March 9, 2015
Patients in need of cannabis treatment from 13 different countries, including those represented by from the Czech Republic, met at the “Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical
Practice” conference in Prague March 4-7, 2015 and established the International Medical Cannabis Patient
Coalition (IMCPC). The first action of the organization was to ratify a declaration to the United Nations calling
for a change in its approach to medicinal cannabis. The declaration will be delivered to the Commission on
Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna this week by Pavel Bem, Czech representative and deputy for the Global
Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP).
The current U.N. scheduling of medicinal cannabis was decided in 1961 and did not consider the scientific
and clinical evidence on medicinal properties of cannabis. Medical cannabis treatments remain unavailable
in most countries around the world. Citizens that are suffering from conditions where cannabis represents
effective or the most effective treatment are facing the risk of criminal prosecution, because their national
administrations are guided by U.N. treaties. The outdated policy is at odds with the mission of the U.N. and
many of its policies concerning human rights, including the right for adequate health care in particular.
Cannabis is now considered an effective treatment for a variety of medical conditions including neurological
conditions, neuropathic pain and nausea. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reviewed the current
evidence on medicinal cannabis in 2014, and suggested that the United Nations should consider
rescheduling the substance. Part of the revision is consideration of risks, as it is inappropriate that cannabis
is currently subjected to the same level of control as opiates. While the WHO estimates opiate use and abuse
yields an estimated 69,000 fatal overdoses annually, not a single case has been documented for cannabis.
Medicinal cannabis patients worldwide have been experiencing the negative outcomes of the discrepancy
between the progress of medical science towards cannabis and the outdated international law. The
IMCPC unites national cannabis patient organisations to create a common voice for patients to address
international bodies. The resolution is the first activity of the IMCPC.
Medical cannabis patient and advocate Steph Sherer, who is a co-founder of IMCPC and leads Americans
for Safe Access,, has pronounced the most immediate aims of the coalition: “International policies and the
laws of our countries regulating medical cannabis should be based on science. Humans have known the
medicinal effects of the cannabis plant for centuries, and scientific discoveries of the last three decades now
affirm their experience. Current laws make it extremely difficult for many countries to create the laws and
programs required to meet the needs of their citizens. It is hypocritical for countries like the United States
to continue to support the U.N.’s position on medical cannabis while allowing medical cannabis programs
domestically .TheU.N. laws must be updated. We, the patients, are asking the U.N. to grant us the same
rights that are granted to all humans.”
The process of rescheduling can begin only if the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), which meets in
Vienna on the 9th
Special Session on Drugs for 2016. Various stakeholders will be carrying the IMCPC declaration from Prague
to Vienna this week.
– 13th March 2015, proposes it for the agenda of the upcoming U. N. General Assembly
For more information and a copy of the resolution: