UN reclassifies marijuana as less dangerous drug; paves way for medicinal use
First Published Dec 5, 2020, 1:31 PM IST
In a historic decision, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has removed marijuana and its derivatives from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
A United Nations commission voted on Wednesday to remove cannabis for medicinal purposes from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs, a highly anticipated and long-delayed decision that could clear the way for an expansion of marijuana research and medical use.
The Schedule IV features the names of highly addictive opioids such as heroin and marijuana that were placed in the same list for close to 6 decades.
With the categorisation of marijuana as a less dangerous drug, it is believed that the medicinal and therapeutic potential of the drug can now be recognised.
The landmark decision will also pave the path for legalisation of marijuana for medicinal use in different countries.
It must be mentioned that medicinal cannabis programmes are allowed in over 50 countries, while other countries such as Uruguay, Canada, Mexico, Luxembourg have permitted its recreational use.
“This is a huge, historic victory for us, we couldn’t hope for more,” said Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent researcher for drug policy who has closely monitored the vote and the position of member states. He said that cannabis had been used throughout history for medicinal purposes and that the decision on Wednesday reinstated that status.
It can also make governments reconsider the recreational benefits of the drugs. The vote by the Commission for Narcotic Drugs, which is based in Vienna and includes 53 member states, considered a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization on reclassifying cannabis and its derivatives.