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UN spokesperson responds to cannabis guidelines letter enquiry

A spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has responded to calls for transparency on the Cannabis Initiative Guidelines effort.

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UN spokesperson responds to cannabis guidelines letter enquiry

A spokesperson for the UN secretary-general has responded to two letters calling on the INCB for transparency and accountability regarding its Cannabis Initiative Guidelines effort, stating that it is not the role of the secretary to facilitate discussion.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for United Nations (UN) secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, responded to an enquiry regarding two letters sent on 2 December raising concerns regarding the secretive work surrounding the Cannabis Initiative Guidelines, calling for transparency and accountability.

The letters have been sent by 181 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) from 56 countries to Guterres and International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) president, Jagjit Pavadi.

The Cannabis Initiative Guidelines effort is being developed to support Member States with the harmonisation of monitoring, control, and reporting practices regarding cannabis in order to “ensure availability of cannabis-based substances for medical and scientific purposes” – whilst preventing their diversion and abuse. The initiative is being supported financially by the Government of Japan.

When questioned on whether the secretary-general would be willing to facilitate a mediation with the INCB and concerned NGOs due to the lack of transparency, he commented: “The narcotics control board is a Member State body – they set their own rules. As a matter of principle, the secretary-general always believes that civil society should be heard and should be given space to express their opinion.

And that: “It is not the role of Sectary general to do that.”

The UK’s Cannabis Industry Council is one of the 181 NGOs backing the letter. Chair of the CIC, Professor Mike Barnes, leading medical cannabis expert in the UK, commented: “The INCB is producing an important document that will determine the future of cannabis worldwide in terms of international controls.

“However, the process is mired in secrecy despite the secretary-general’s office publicly stating that such processes should be open and civil society should be heard. This is just not good enough.

“The secretary-general must not hide behind nuanced regulations but openly state that the INCB must open the process to scrutiny and be transparent about a vitally important public health issue.”

The NGOs highlight that the INCB President pledged to organise consultations with civil society stakeholders during the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in March 2021, but that the organisations are still waiting to see this commitment upheld.

The letters were sent on the one year of the medical cannabis vote by the UN to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, recognising the medicinal value of the plant.

The document states: “…since 2020, INCB has been developing Guidelines in complete opacity, raising concerns about the legitimacy and scope of the process, a fuzzy mandate, and risks of conflicts of interest. While not binding, these Guidelines will impact and shape trade and production of a traditional, herbal medicine and a plant indigenous to many regions of the world. It will directly impact the lives of many of us…

“…we believe INCB should not shape alone – without us – the economic, social, environmental, and cultural future of our communities. INCB has made many questionable statements on “medical cannabis” that science subsequently invalidated. The trust in a functioning international legal order that the 2 December 2020 vote affirmed is being threatened by INCB’s isolated initiative. There has been such a noticeable lack of transparency and accountability, coupled with the controversial positions taken by INCB, that many have expressed concerns.”

International

Colombian-grown cannabis flower reaches Switzerland

The shipment follows updates to Colombia’s cannabis export policy.

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Colombian-grown cannabis flower reaches Switzerland
Home » News » International » UN spokesperson responds to cannabis guidelines letter enquiry

Allied Corp has shipped 1728kgs of Colombian-grown commercial cannabis flower to Switzerland. 

The shipment has been made as a part of the previously announced export approval of 7100kgs of Colombia-grown cannabis. This shipment of 1728kgs to Switzerland will be followed by 1500kgs weekly until the 7100kg threshold is met.

After the enactment of Colombia’s new legislation allowing for the legal export of dried cannabis produced in Colombia in April 2022, Allied submitted several applications for export. 

Read more: Colombia votes in pro-cannabis president Gustavo Petro

After receiving approval for export, Allied’s first export was shipped in June 2022 and the second shipment was in July 2022. This latest recurring shipment in August 2022 is now turning into a weekly cycle of 1500kgs.

This makes Allied Corp the first company to ship commercial cannabis flower from Colombia to an international market.

CEO and Chairman of the Allied Corp board, Calum Hughes, commented: “We are the first company ever to ship a Colombian commercial shipment of dried cannabis to an international market – now we are not only duplicating our shipments but are doing so at a commercial scale.

“This is the largest known legal shipment that we know of out of Colombia. This accomplishment speaks to the quality of our team, and most importantly our product.”

Allied has said that it has multiple strains in the production pipeline including over 15,000 THC plants created for multiple batches to fulfil its 2022 quota.

Hughes added: “From decades of production expertise, manufacturing and supply chain quality assurance, regulatory expertise and logistics coordination – the team has performed.

“The three years of genotyping and phenotyping followed by the regulatory knowledge needed to execute the export have proven successful.

“We can now boldly claim that we are not only the first to pull it off, but we have been able to duplicate the orders at commercial scale; the largest that we know of.

“We have now done it for three months in a row and are tightening this cycle to now ship 1500kgs every week.”

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges

The basketball star has been sentenced to nine years for allegedly smuggling cannabis medicines into Russia.

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges
Home » News » International » UN spokesperson responds to cannabis guidelines letter enquiry

American basketball player, Brittney Griner, aged 31, has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia after she was caught in possession of cannabis.

As well as a nine-year sentence for possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis, the WNBA star and two-time US Olympic champion has also been ordered to pay a fine of ₽1m (~£13,745).

Some reports have suggested that the development could see the US and Russia negotiating over a prisoner exchange.

Read more: Billy Hood CBD appeal reduces sentence to ten years

President Joe Biden’s office released a statement on the sentencing of what it describes as the “wrongfully detained” Griner, who has been detained since February,

Biden stated: “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. 

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said the star was being used as a “political pawn”.

In a press briefing by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC co-ordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, Jean-Pierre stated: “We have repeatedly called for Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“Under President Biden’s direction, the US government continues to work aggressively, pursuing every avenue to bring home Brittney, Paul Whelan, and every American held hostage and wrongfully detained around the world.

“As you all know, we have made a substantial offer to bring her and Paul Whelan home.  We urge Russia to accept that proposal.

“I’m not able to share more publicly at this time, but we are willing to take every step necessary to bring home our people, as we demonstrated with Trevor Reed. And that’s what we’re going to do here. I can assure you this is something the President and our national security team are focused on every single day.”

Griner has 10 days to appeal the verdict.

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Flora Growth partners with Colombia’s largest indigenous tribe in joint cannabis venture

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

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Flora Growth Colombia

Flora Growth has entered an agreement with one of Colombia’s main indigenous tribes to process and distribute cannabis products.

Flora Growth has entered into a joint venture agreement with Pharma Indigena Misak Manasr Sas, the largest indigenous tribe in Colombia, on the development of cultivation best practices, manufacturing, export and marketing of cannabis and cannabis-containing products.

Under the agreement, the outdoor cultivator, manufacturer and distributor will provide Manasr regulatory advice, technical and business support related to product development and distribution, promotion of products to be marketed under the Flora brand portfolio, and cannabis derivatives to complete product production.

Additionally, Manasr will work closely with Flora in developing cannabis pharmaceuticals and products and help advance the approvals and authorisations required for exports of cannabis from Colombia.

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

“Through this partnership, we will collaborate with the tribe on the processing and distribution of their Colombian-grown cannabis while offering Manasr a powerful platform for product distribution. In return, Flora will be able to leverage the tribe’s unique regulatory positioning to expedite exports and increase global market penetration of Colombian cannabis goods.

“We look forward to a long-standing relationship with such a powerful community partner.”

The initial term of the agreement is three years, however, the intention is to create a “lasting and mutually beneficial relationship for the foreseeable future”, the company said.

This announcement comes two weeks after Flora Growth’s CEO Luis Merchan met with Colombian Senator Gustavo Bolivar, the author of a new bill to legalise recreational cannabis.

Bolivar, the key author of the bill, and Merchan discussed the top tenants of the bill, the bill’s implications for companies such as Flora in Colombia and what legalisation means for the country’s burgeoning domestic and international cannabis markets.

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