The UN has recently accepted recommendations made by the World Health Organization which reschedule cannabis and cannabis related substances, effectively accepting the medical potential of cannabis.
Until today, cannabis and derivatives of cannabis have been maintained in Schedule IV of the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This schedule is for those drugs which have a high potential for abuse and harm and at the same time provide extremely limited medical use.
The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs adopted the recommendations of WHO that cannabis should be removed from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention.
The WHO’s most significant recommendation with the highest consequence for international control of cannabis, is the first recommendation 5.1, which was to:
“Delete cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention”.
The vote passed with a majority of 27 votes for and 25 against with 1 abstention. This means that cannabis will be removed from Schedule IV.
Cannabis and its derivatives are now maintained in schedule I rather than being in schedule I and IV. This is a major win for cannabis advocates around the world with considerable symbolic and some practical implications for cannabis regulation.
Removal of cannabis from schedule IV means that the UN accepts the opinion of the WHO that cannabis is not “liable to produce ill-effects” on the scale of other drugs in Schedule IV, and that cannabis has significant potential therapeutic value.
The fact that cannabis remains in Schedule I means that it is still subject to strict international control.
It is likely that individual regions will continue to apply their own interpretations of the place of CBD in international control. Just last week, the highest EU courts determined that the 1961 Convention does not implicate CBD in international narcotics control.
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