U.N. Votes to Drop Cannabis from Narcotics-level Drug List

Another stride in Cannabis was made on Wednesday when the United Nations voted in favor of taking Cannabis off of the Schedule IV list of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This is a massive achievement, considering that list put Cannabis in league with addictive opioids like Heroin. 

According to The New York Times, the Commission for Narcotic Drugs is based in Vienna, and includes 53 member states, and that experts say that the vote will have no immediate impact on loosening controls because each government will be responsible when it comes to jurisdiction. It does, however, serve as a symbol that change is coming on the horizon. 

“This is a huge, historic victory for us, we couldn’t hope for more,” said Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli, an independent researcher for drug policy who has closely monitored the vote and the position of member states. He told The New York Times that “cannabis had been used throughout history for medicinal purposes and that the decision on Wednesday reinstated that status.”

The idea of changing the classification of marijuana was first made by the World Health Organization in 2019, but there were delays to pass it. According to The New York Times, “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.”


Here’s a rundown of the votes on the WHO’s cannabis recommendations, as shared by Marijuana Moment:

APPROVED: Remove marijuana from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention.

REJECTED: Add THC and dronabinol (synthetic or plant-derived THC medication) to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention and, if approved, delete them from Schedule II of the 1971 Convention.

REJECTED: If the second recommendation is adopted, add tetrahydrocannabinol to Schedule I of the 1961 Convention and, if approved, delete it from Schedule I of the 1971 Convention.

REJECTED: Delete “extracts and tinctures of cannabis” from Schedule I of the 1961 Convention.

REJECTED: Add footnote to clarify that CBD products containing no more than 0.2 percent THC are not subject to international control.

REJECTED: Add “preparations containing dronabinol” to Schedule III of the 1961 Convention.


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