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Victory for Pirates: UN Cannabis legislation arrives in 21st century

Brussels, 3rd of December 2020 – Cannabis is no longer considered as dangerous as heroine by the United Nations (UN). On Wednesday 2 December, the UN Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted to remove marijuana for medical use from the list of the world’s most risky narcotics, where it was since 1961. The decision is of course way overdue and in line with the European Pirates Delegation (PPEU), who demand a reasonable treatment and discourse about the regulation of drugs in the European Union (EU).

“The change of United Nations policy is a major victory for many Pirate Parties across Europe who campaigned to promote a rational, data-driven approach to the drug policies”, says Mikuláš Peksa, Pirate member of the European Parliament and chairman of the European Pirate Party. “I believe this decision will also stop any attempts from the side of European Commission to stigmatize particular substances and open opportunities for establishing European producers on the international markets”

The decision by the Vienna-based UN commission followed a recommendation by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is expected to be a kick-starter for the expansion of research on marijuana for medical purposes. Only two weeks after the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the French ban on the cannabis-derived compound CBD is illegal, this represents another leap towards a factual discussion about substances. CBD has no psychotropic or harmful effect on human health and is widely used for medical purposes.

As outlined in the programme of the European Pirates, the majority of international conventions regarding the preparation, manipulation, and consumption of psychoactive substances is outdated and not based on scientific facts. For example, scientific evidence suggests that legalization of cannabis results in less harm to people and society than prohibition. For the future, policy discussions about drugs need to take into account the following proposal of the PPEU:

  • Work to change the international conventions regarding psychoactive substances towards a science-based view.

  • Set up a framework facilitating the scientific approach which among other things should share information and help fund research on psychoactive substances.

  • Advocate for the legalization and regulation of cannabis in the individual member states as a means of restricting the black market.

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