UN drug agency loosens global controls on cannabis, following WHO advice

Source: Reuters Published: 2020/12/3 18:58:40

The UN drug agency's member states on Wednesday narrowly voted to remove cannabis from the most tightly controlled category of narcotic drugs, following the World Health Organization's recommendation to make research into its medical use easier.

A photo taken in the late hours of August 17, shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) at their headquarters in Geneva Photo: VCG

The annual Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime's governing body, voted 27-25 with one abstention to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a global text governing drug controls, a UN statement said.

The vote followed a 2019 WHO recommendation 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."

Other drugs in Schedule IV include heroin, fentanyl analogues and other opioids that are dangerous and often deadly. Cannabis, by contrast carries no significant risk of death and it has shown potential in treating pain and conditions such as epilepsy, the WHO found.

The UN statement on the meeting in Vienna of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs did not say which countries backed or opposed the change, or why the vote was so close.
Newspaper headline: UN loosens global controls on cannabis


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