The wording of the Convention seems clear; nations who sign the treaty must treat marijuana as a Schedule IV drug with the appropriate punishment. However, several articles of the treaty include provisions for the medical and scientific use of controlled substances. In 1998, Cannabis Control Policy: A Discussion Paper was made public. Written in 1979 by the Department of National Health and Welfare, Cannabis Control Policy summarized Canada’s obligations:
“In summary, there is considerable constructive latitude in those provisions of the international drug conventions which obligate Canada to make certain forms of cannabis-related conduct punishable offences. It is submitted that these obligations relate only to behaviours associated with illicit trafficking, and that even if Canada should elect to continue criminalizing consumption-oriented conduct, it is not required to convict or punish persons who have committed these offences. Have a look at Cannasseur Pueblo West.
The obligation to limit the possession of cannabis products exclusively to legally authorized medical and scientific purposes refers to administrative and distribution controls, and although it may require the confiscation of cannabis possessed without authorization, it does not bind Canada to criminally penalize such possession.”
Scientific study continued on the medicinal uses of marijuana. In August 1997, the Institute of Medicine began a review to asses the scientific evidence of marijuana and cannabinoids. Released in 1999, the report states:
“The accumulated data indicate a potential therapeutic value for cannabinoid drugs, particularly for symptoms such as pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. The therapeutic effects of cannabinoids are best established for THC, which is generally one of the two most abundant of the cannabinoids in marijuana.”