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Understanding the UN System & Our Role at CND67 - Midterm Review



The United Nations, Vienna, annually hosts sessions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. These sessions offer opportunities to grassroots non-profit organisations, like those affiliated under Cannabis Embassy, to engage within the UN system, and to facilitate engagement with a broad spectrum of stakeholders. In so doing, Cannabis Embassy has an active impact through presenting on policies that impact the communities they represent, both from their respective countries and beyond. CND sessions further allow presenting organisations to engage with their respective government representatives - an opportunity that remains rare on home ground for many.

Read the latest article published in this series of content about the Cannabis Embassy and CND67
Cannabis Embassy, ​​Get to know the international network impacting global cannabis policy  

This year, the 67th session of the CND marks the mid-term review of a decade-long process, the Ministerial Declaration,adopted in 2019 –  Implementation of all international drug policy commitments.The high-level segments on 14 and 15 March are dedicated to the review. The regular session and side events run 18-22 March. Online public attendance is possible through  UN WebTV.

Learn more about the contributions made by Cannabis Embassy members to the High-level midterm review on our organization website.


The United Nations comprises funds and programmes, as well as specialised agencies made up of independent international organisations, outlined in this chart, together referred to as the UN System.

The various UN system entities have specific mechanisms in place whereby civil society organisations may participate in policy reviews, dialogues, and present on matters most important to the communities they represent.

Operating at the top of the UN system alongside the Security Council, the UN Economic and Social Council  (ECOSOC) serves as the “principal body for coordination, policy review, policy dialogue and recommendations on economic, social and environmental issues as well as implementation of internationally agreed development goals”.

The CND, established by the ECOSOC in 1946 to assist in the supervision of how international drug control treaties are applied, also functions as the governing body of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as mandated by the General Assembly. The UNODC falls under ECOSOC as well as the Secretariat.

Cannabis Embassy works in partnership with Fields of Green for ALL from South Africa. This non-profit organisation holds special consultative status with the ECOSOC.

Cannabis Embassy members and guests are able to present in the side events (21 March, Room M7), intervene in plenary, and pose questions at CND sessions as well as this year’s high level segments.

UN veteran activists of the Cannabis Embassy have dedicated much of their focus toward developing an intimate understanding of the UN system since as early as 1998. Understanding how the UN system works and navigating the interpretations of international cannabis law —the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances— has proven profoundly impactful in policy reviews.

Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, independent researcher and co-founding member of Cannabis Embassy, has articulated an interpretation of the Single Convention which makes amendments to existing conventions unnecessary to lawfully regulate cannabis. Instead, it leverages the unique ability to interpret the treaties by member states. For years, international institutions like the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) have argued that treaty amendments were required prior to any national legalisation (Lex Ferenda). The interpretation-based reforms, not requiring prior treaty amendment (Lex Lata), are appliedLex Ferenda). Reforms based on interpretation, not requiring prior amendment of the treaty (Lex Lata), are applied only in Malta and Switzerland at the moment, but it already highlights the bias and partiality n their attempts to oppose domestic reforms undertaken by member states.

Indeed, evidence-based approaches taken in  Lex Latainterpretations of drug treaties can contribute to actual change in both cannabis and drug policy at an international level. The contributions of Cannabis Embassy members in the  reclassification of cannabis in December 2020 is evidence of this.

Through attending CND67, Cannabis Embassy finds itself in an optimal position to educate attending government officials, international policymakers, and fellow activists from around the globe on how to use the UN system, as it applies to the treaties that govern drugs and the people who use them.

Side Events

On Thursday, 21 March, in room M7, Cannabis Embassy presents two side events, each exploring human interactions with cannabis and how these are impacted by current interpretations of the international drug treaties. Through these dialogues, Cannabis Embassy aims to highlight solutions from a perspective Lex Lataperspective. Both events can be attended online or in-person.

March 21, 9am (CET) –#AandA: Access and Availability, from Palliative Care to Primary Care

This side event invites attendees to dive into transformative dialogues exploring critical aspects on the access and availability of internationally controlled drugs in healthcare spaces. Cannabis Embassy aims to unravel complexities surrounding patient-access to such substances, while contributing to shaping a future where essential medicines are accessible to all.


Link to participation (ZOOM)

The event is sponsored by ENCOD and co-sponsored by: Fields of Green for ALLNow Mexico, FAAAT-Mediterranean Medicines Forum, Veterans Action Council, Council of the International Cannabinoid Medicines Association-PatientsStudents for a sensible drug policy.


March 21, 13am (CET) – Cannabis & Biopiracy

This event features testimonials from South African and Aotearoa-New Zealand stakeholders, as well as a keynote presentation by geographer and cannabis researcher Chris S DuvallFollowing up on half a day of Cannabis Embassy Campus training on Wednesday, 13 March, this side event seeks to highlight how biopiracy (the appropriation of genetic resources and/or associated traditional knowledge through illegitimate and/or illegal methods) through intellectual property affects the human rights of small-scale farmers, local communities, and indigenous peoples, and accelerates threats to biodiversity and ecosystems.

The event further aims to highlight how and why cannabis and cannabis communities are susceptible to biopiracy. With the upcoming WIPO Diplomatic Conference on Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge in Geneva in May 2024 (which the Cannabis Embassy is closely monitoring), this event is crucial in introducing biopiracy as well how international legal controls impact efforts to protect cannabis biological heritage and traditional knowledge as global reforms continue in cannabis.


Link to participation (ZOOM)


The main sponsor of the event is o Fields of Green for ALL, and is co-sponsored by:Umzimvubu Farmers Support Network, Association of Traditional and Natural Healers, Now Mexico, FAAAT-Mediterranean Medicines Forum, Veterans Action Council, ICEERS-International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service, Council of the International Cannabinoid Medicines Association-Patients


March 22, 13pm (CET) – Coca Leaf

On 22 March, Cannabis Embassy supports an online side event sponsored by Now Mexico and co-sponsored by FAAAT-Mediterranean Medicines Forum e from ENCOD on Coca Leaf. The consultation features presentations from three panellists followed by an interactive segment in which attendees can share their perspectives, challenges, solutions, and recommendations regarding coca leaf policy in Latin America.


Participate in the event on line at 13pm CET, March 22nd.


Cannabis Embassy Campus

Extending education opportunities beyond the confines of the UN, Cannabis Embassy hosted a Campus event on 13 March in Vienna. The Campus covered two sessions designed to educate attendees (1) on the history of international cannabis law and global citizen advocacy to change policy as well as (2) the harms that are experienced through biopiracy when policies are not human rights-focused, evidence-based, and inclusive.

The first session covered the history of advocacy at the UN by Cannabis Embassy members, marking out impactful milestones and the resulting empowerment of people who have a relationship with cannabis in all its versatile uses.

The second session discussed Legacy and Biopiracy, closely examining the pressing issues faced by legacy cannabis communities - small scale farmers, local communities, and indigenous peoples - highlighting the interplay between cannabis, intellectual property, human rights, historical justice, and global solidarity. The session also included a case study presentation from the Aotearoa Indigenous Peoples Trust on biopiracy risks and protection mechanisms in New Zealand, and explored the current harms of regulations founded in prohibitionist ideologies and their impacts in excluding communities.




Support the Cannabis Embassy

Bringing the Cannabis Embassy team to the UN, as well as continuing our global efforts, depends on generous donations and sponsors.

Support the Cannabis Embassy's ongoing efforts at the UN and beyond as we shape a world where humanity lives in harmony with Cannabis sativa L.. here.




[Disclaimer: Please note that this text was originally written in Portuguese and is translated into English and other languages ​​using an automatic translator. Some words may differ from the original and typos or errors may occur in other languages.]


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