Health Minister Appeals to WHO to Provide More Leadership on Cannabis

Geneva, Switzerland – Minister of Health, Dr. Chris Tufton made a call on the World Health Organisation, WHO, to remove cannabis from its current classification as a Schedule 1 Drug (illegal drug) deemed to have no medicinal benefits to a Schedule which reflects its important potential for medicinal use.

“Removing cannabis from its current classification, is an important step in facilitating efforts by countries like Jamaica to promote its medicinal uses while maintaining a sound public health approach,” the Minister said.

Dr. Tufton’s recommendations comes amidst WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence ongoing review of the medicinal value of cannabis.

The Minister, who maintains that there are medicinal and economic benefits to be derived from cannabis, has also urged the WHO to be more assertive in distinguishing between the medicinal and recreational dimensions in the interest of public health. He asked the WHO to provide clear leadership on the public health approach to the development of new policies on cannabis now being advanced in many countries

“There is a challenge with special interest groups with significant resources, seeking to leverage the medicinal objective for achieving a more liberal approach to the recreational use of cannabis. The discussion must be clear and based in science,” the Minister said.

He added that, “the WHO cannot be absent from this important public policy agenda. I strongly urge the WHO to champion the public health approach to this global policy challenge. The WHO must support the development of public health and appropriate regulatory standards for all uses.”

Dr. Tufton tendered his position while addressing the 70th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland this morning under the theme ‘Building Better Systems for Health in the Age of Sustainable Development”