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United Nations classifies marijuana as a ‘less dangerous drug’, decision, for which India voted too, to help further medicinal use

India has voted with the majority at the United Nations to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances in the flagship international Convention on narcotic drugs.

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. The Schedule IV features the names of highly addictive opioids such as heroin and marijuana was placed in the same list for close to 6 decades.

After exerting strict control over the use of marijuana for close to 59 years, about 27 Member States of the CND voted to remove the drug from the list. As per reports, a total of 53 member states took part in the historic move with 25 Member States voting against its removal from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Only one member abstained for voting during the motion.

India has voted with the majority at the United Nations to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances in the flagship international Convention on narcotic drugs.

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 can also make governments reconsider the recreational benefits of the drugs. 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.

The decision comes at the backdrop of 6 World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations in 2019, regarding the scheduling of marijuana by the United Nations. Although CND was supposed to vote on the issue in March 2019, several Member States had sought for more time to analyse their positions.

CND Member States express their views on the historic decision

Ecuador, for instance, has emphasised on the need for a regulatory framework for sale, use and production of cannabis. It had accepted all the recommendations of WHO and voted for the motion. Chile, on the other hand, voted against the motion and claimed that there is a direct relationship between the use of cannabis and increased chances of suffering from depression, cognitive deficit, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, among others.”

United States removed cannabis from Schedule IV but however retained it in Schedule I. It stated, “(United States is) consistent with the science demonstrating that while a safe and effective cannabis-derived therapeutic has been developed, cannabis itself continues to pose significant risks to public health and should continue to be controlled under the international drug control conventions”.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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