US Unity Conference Inspires International Emotions of Winning

US Unity Conference Inspires International Emotions of Winning

American for Safe Access recently hosted its members’ annual Unity conference in Washington, DC themed: “Wellness is Winning”. I had the privilege to present about IMCPC in the opening session. This report is not meant to summarize what you can watch on conference video channel, but to connect the dots from coffee breaks, hospitality rooms and other locations where people talk face to face.

There have been many ‘first time’ moments since the establishment of IMCPC at the Medical Cannabis conference in Prague especially on the international level including IMCPC’s present at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna the following week. Wellness is winning was not just Unity conference theme but the major emotion you could feel from many keynotes, lectures and presentation. Most of speakers and many participant are not debating why medical cannabis should be broadly available for patients (certainly because in some of their states it is already legal for more than a decade). They are already paving the way in regulating cannabis and cannabis products with the Patient Focused Certifications program that is ensuring safe cannabis medicine for all patients and extending new treatment methods that will have a reach far beyond cannabis enthusiasts.

My personal ‘first time’ moment in DC was that even tough I was at an event full of medical cannabis activists, it felt like I was attending a conference from my professional life. Do not get me wrong; I do not have anything against activists as I am an activist also in few more areas than medical cannabis. But I didn’t realize that “activist” does not have to mean cannabis enthusiasts, such as the pictures we see in the media in Europe of dreadlocked crowds in the cannabis fairs audience. I now see that the patient activist movement in the US is removing barriers of stigma to allow a larger part of society engage in changing medical cannabis laws. The fact that any external observer I had chance to chat at the hotel premises had not noticed that the venue is fully crowded by medical cannabis patients and professionals and was gaining positive feedback from these random representatives of general population where we need to extend availability and understanding of cannabis treatment. Also as this outreach significantly helps to increase public demand on politics to cancel outdated and already harmful cannabis prohibition once they understand that public majority wants to benefit from this traditional treatment.

My jetlag was each day was blown away, usually during breakfast when some of attendees gave me very positive feedback on the IMCPC launch and the Prague Declaration call on UN to remove cannabis from actual and very outdated international scheduling. The euphoria contained in feedback of community activists who convinced their counties and/or states to legalize medical cannabis, parents trying to secure effective treatment for severe disease of their child, veterans fighting PTSD epidemy as well as leading researchers risking their professional carriers for the freedom to run clinical studies with this still in many parts of world forbidden medicine was simply infectious. It was great to feel how many positive energy can be generated by the simple memo to UN that it is time to act now, respectively on UN GASS April 2016 meeting, to be compatible again with main UN principle to support international good. ASA members’ and supporters’ energy has been invested in the creation of patient’s information, professional education and safety standards available for free scaling by any other patient organization internationally. This kind proposal was regular part of the feedback attendees give to help fulfill IMCPC objectives.

I am encouraged by the increasing expectation of international change is also focusing on a commitment to create enough international demand and express it to the UN officers during upcoming year so they will remove at least some if not all outdated barriers UN Single Convention that is blocking safe access to medical cannabis worldwide. The euphoric emotions and winning power mainly generated by successful issuing of federal legislation legalizing medical cannabis in US Senate and were tangible during the Unity conference are great assets we have to scale internationally through IMCPC and other networks involving patients, activists as well as medical professionals. If I would listen decade ago to vison that in 2015 US as one of main supporters of UN policy on cannabis will in fact become thanks to its brave citizens world leading opponent legalizing medical cannabis access federaly I would take it as a nice dream which is too utopic to happen. But it is reality which is worth to scale worldwide as the cannabis prohibition was scaled from US and Russia in late fifties of twenty century. We who are supporting the same change in our countries’ policies will have to help our citizens understand that medical cannabis accessibility is not bypass or a stepping stone for recreational use of cannabis (how some opponents are trying to label this civil society progress) but it is patient fundamental right to be treated by safe and effective medicine based on scientific and clinical evidence and their personalized needs especially in conditions where other methods failing to bring relief.

Let’s make wellness win world-wide!


Pavel Kubu (KOPAC- Czech republic, Co-Chair Communication at IMCPC)

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