THE United Nations has voted to take cannabis off its list of the world’s most dangerous drugs.
The move, sparked by a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation paves the way for more countries to embrace medical marijuana uses and even legalise cannabis for recreational purposes.
A vote by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs yesterday agreed – albeit narrowly by 27 votes to 25 – that cannabis and cannabis resin did not belong on Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Yesterday’s landmark ballot in Vienna was a response to last year’s detailed report from the WHO which concluded marijuana and cannabis resin “should be scheduled at a level of control that will prevent harm caused by cannabis use and at the same time will not act as a barrier to access and to research and development of cannabis-related preparation for medical use”.
Cannabis had been on the list alongside dangerous and potentially fatal substances such as heroin, cocaine, opium, fentanyl, methadone, morphine and oxycodone.
The WHO’s recommendation was that cannabis posed little risk of death and offered potential for widespread medicinal uses in pain management and treatment of epilepsy.
It has not yet been revealed which of the UN members voted for declassification, or which single member abstained.
While yesterday’s decision does not automatically allow UN states to fast-track legalisation, it does make the process much easier by having the support of both the WHO and the UN.