INCB: Cannabis Medical Uses Not Be Used for Legalization

February 27, 1999 - 0:0
VIENNA The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said research into the possible medical uses of cannabis should not be used to justify legalization of all cannabis use. The Vienna-based INCB which monitors United Nations drug control treaties said in its annual report it welcomed and encouraged serious, scientific research on the alleged medical properties of cannabis, but, warned against misusing the research efforts for blanket legalization purposes.

INCB President Dr. Hamid Ghodse said that should the medical usefulness of cannabis be established, it would be a drug no different from most narcotics and psychotropic substances. Cannabis prescribed for medical purposes would also be subject to licensing and other control measures under international treaties. He called for an end to the increasing political battle over cannabis since it has had a negative effect on attitudes towards drug use, particularly among young people.

The board also monitors the availability of drugs for proper medical purposes noted the low availability of morphine, codeine and other opium-based pain killers in developing countries. Whereas certain psychotropic substances were over prescribed in some countries, Europeans were the world's top users of stress reducing drugs and Americans North and South record consumers of performance enhancing drugs or stimulants, it said.

The International Narcotics Control Board supervises the 1961 single convention on narcotic drugs, the 1971 convention on psychotropic substances and the 1988 UN convention on illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. (IRNA)