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UN drug agency votes to remove cannabis from list of most dangerous drugs

The WHO had recommended loosening control on cannabis, to make research into its medical use easier. It was earlier put in the same category as heroin and synthetic opioids.

By: Deutsche Welle | Updated: December 3, 2020 12:42:19 pm
The vote came on the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendation to make research into the medical use of cannabis easier. (AP Photo)

The UN drug policy body voted on Wednesday to remove cannabis from the mostly tightly controlled drugs.

Member nations of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted 27-25 to remove it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which allows national bans for drugs with “particularly dangerous properties.” One country abstained from voting.

Cannabis was earlier in the same category as heroin, fentanyl analogues and other opioids. The vote came on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to make research into the medical use of cannabis easier.

Research for medical use

In 2019, the WHO had recommended in a report that “cannabis 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.”

However, the commission has not yet legalized cannabis. It is still listed among drugs that are “highly addictive and liable to abuse.”

The WHO recommended that cannabis still be listed under Schedule I level of control, as it recognized “the high rates of public health problems arising from cannabis use.”

The WHO had also recommended that “extracts and tinctures of cannabis” be removed from Schedule I, which has not been followed by the UN body.

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