On the occasion of the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) was notified by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) that it received special consultative status to the United Nations. This status allows SAM to designate official representatives to the UN headquarters in New York, Geneva, and Vienna, and submit written and oral statements to the Council. SAM representatives have already been discussing marijuana policy at UN meetings since its founding, but now the organization has become official.
“We are immensely grateful for this honor,” said Dr. Kevin Sabet, president of SAM and a former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, who has represented both the Bush and Obama Administration at international drug policy meetings in the past. “This decision speaks volumes to the drug policy work SAM’s volunteers and staff does at home and abroad. Though we don’t often tout our international work, we have been honored to be involved with several international organizations, including the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, and we look forward to further helping craft drug policy on the international level.”
While SAM’s primary focus is fighting marijuana commercialization in the United States, it has been extremely active at the international level in the past few years. It’s side events at the annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna, for example, are among the most widely attended of the meeting. Additionally, SAM has testified in numerous countries, including Canada and in the Caribbean, and regularly consults with organizations and governments in virtually every continent. Just recently, SAM played a key role in preventing Norwegian oil pension funds from investing in marijuana companies.
“Our work knows no boundaries. It’s important other countries learn from both our mistakes and things we should be proud of in US drug policy,” Sabet said.