The United Nations (UN) has voted to remove cannabis from a list that categorized it as one of the most dangerous drugs. The move recognizes the plant as having medicinal value.
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.
But attention centered on a key recommendation to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — where it was listed alongside dangerous and highly addictive opioids like heroin. The reclassification passed 27 to 25, with an abstention from Ukraine. The United States and European nations were among those who voted in favor, while the likes of China, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Russia were opposed.
While the vote isn’t expected to have an immediate impact on loosening international controls because governments will still have jurisdiction over how to classify cannabis, it is still considered a win for advocates of drug policy change as many countries look to global conventions for guidance. Also, the change will most likely bolster medical research and legalization efforts around the world.
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