A United Nations commission has voted for the removal of Marijuana from the list that categorized it to be a part of the most dangerous drug list. This move has put into importance the medicinal value of the plant.
The World Health Organization on Wednesday recommended the removal of cannabis and cannabis resin from its Schedule IV classification under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. After the recommendation, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs approved this. Cannabis and one of its derivatives were placed alongside heroin and other opioids.
The Schedule IV substances are generally categorized as a subset of Schedule I drugs. This primarily means that these substances are considered to be “highly addictive and highly liable for abuse”.
A group of drug policy advocacy organizations said in a news release, “This is welcome news for the millions of people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes and reflects the reality of the growing market for cannabis-based medicinal products.”
Cannabis soon to be legalized?
The vote conducted on Wednesday states that Cannabis and its resin will no longer be considered as one of the most harmful substances despite having medical benefits. However, it will remain to be a restricted subject under the Schedule I category.
Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, stated “We welcome the long-overdue recognition that cannabis is a medicine, however, this reform alone is far from adequate given that cannabis remains incorrectly scheduled at the international level.”
This move could give a boost to medical cannabis legalization efforts in several countries that look to the United Nations for guidance as it may not have an immediate impact on how governments control scheduled substances.
The United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and South Africa were among those who voted in favor, while countries including Brazil, China, Russia, and Pakistan voted against.
There were four more recommendations of Cannabis and its resin from WHO but the members rejected it. This mainly included the removal of extracts and tinctures of cannabis from Schedule I status and classifying a psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Alfredo Pascual, an analyst for the trade publication Marijuana Business Daily, said, “The message that the removal from Schedule IV sends cannot be overstated.