The United Nations (UN) Commission has removed marijuana from the list of the most dangerous drugs in the world. UN recognition is an important beginning to legitimize the health benefits of marijuana.
As cited News24xx.com from CNN, Thursday, December 3, the United Nations Narcotics Commission approved the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Agenda IV under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics.
The designation of cannabis under Agenda IV places marijuana and its derivatives in the same category as heroin and other opioids.
Substances classified as Agenda IV are part of the list of drugs in Agenda I.
By that classification, marijuana is considered not only “highly addictive and highly criminalized,” but also labeled “extremely dangerous and of very limited medical or therapeutic value.”
“This is good news for the millions of people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes and reflects the realities of the growing market for cannabis-based medicinal products,” a group of drug policy advocacy organizations said in a news release.
A vote held on Wednesday, December 2 decided that marijuana and cannabis resin were no longer classified as the most dangerous substances and recognized as having medical benefits. But they are still subject to restrictions under the Agenda I category.
“We welcome the long-overdue recognition that marijuana is a drug,” said Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Consortium on Drug Policy, in a statement.
“However, these reforms are far from adequate given that marijuana remains wrong at the international level.”
This move is largely symbolic and may not have a direct impact on how the government controls narcotics. But it could give a boost to efforts to legalize medical marijuana in countries that call for UN guidance.
The votes collected were 27-25 votes to reset the status of marijuana and cannabis resin. The United States (US), Great Britain, Germany, and South Africa were among those voting in favor. Meanwhile, countries such as Brazil, China, Russia, and Pakistan voted against.
Members also rejected four other recommendations from the WHO regarding cannabis and its derivatives, which included removing cannabis extracts and tinctures from Agenda I status and classifying the psychoactive component of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.