The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has removed cannabis from the list of the world’s most dangerous drugs.
The UN agency adopted the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
53-member states voted 27-25 to remove cannabis from the Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Ukraine was the only country that did not vote.
“This formal, and long overdue recognition of the medical use of cannabis (including in herbal form) should facilitate the much-needed medical provision and further research,” the UN agency said in a statement.
Countries that opposed the decision include Kenya, Nigeria, Japan, Russia, Togo, Egypt, China, Cuba, Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Iraq and Libya.
South Africa and Morocco are the only African countries that supported the decision to remove cannabis from Schedule IV.
Other countries that voted yes include Jamaica, Mexico, Canada, Germany, France, Colombia, United Kingdom, Thailand, Australia, Spain, Switzerland, Poland and Croatia.
“Decades of efforts have been necessary to remove cannabis from Schedule IV, with implications that will slowly but surely be seen over the next decades,” the statement read.
The WHO recommendations to remove cannabis from Schedule IV were first revealed in January 2019. It has therefore taken nearly two years for member states to weigh the repercussions of accepting and rejecting the proposal.
More than 50 countries have adopted medical cannabis programmes. Other countries like Uruguay, Canada and 15 states in the United States have legalized the recreational use of cannabis.
The US and Canada use cannabis to treat chronic pain, insomnia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, reducing cancer and multiple sclerosis pain.
Hemp, which is a type of cannabis, can be used to make paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, insulation, clothing, paint, food, biofuel and animal feed.
Globally, cannabis is the most lucrative cash crop.
Featured Image: Cannabis plant. [Source: Euro Weekly News]