By Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli & Michael Krawitz / ResearchGate

In March 2020, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) launched a “Cannabis Initiative” with the purpose of issuing “guidelines/manual of good practices on the international drug control requirements for the cultivation, manufacture and utilization of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes” and to “support Member States in complying with the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, on requirements for cultivation, manufacture and utilization of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes.”

The INCB states:

“Objective of the Guidelines:
1. Improve implementation of the international drug conventions
2. Comply with the regulatory control and monitoring requirements of the licit trade 3. Monitor cannabis-related activities in national settings
4. Meet reporting obligations in accurate and timely manner”

The development of the guidelines has flown under the radar (Chapter 5). A consultant was hired, and a series of stakeholders meetings held, during a pandemic. The important discussions on the WHO’s recommendations for changes in the scope of control of cannabis and cannabis-related substances eclipsed INCB’s work in 2020. In 2021 the agenda of Member States’ Vienna delegations will be centered around two major upcoming events (UN Crime Congress in March, and General Assembly special session on corruption, in April).