Cannabis was removed from the UN Schedule IV drugs list in a narrowly decided vote on Wednesday.
Cannabis was previously on the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs’ list, which includes heroin, fentanyl analogues and other opioids that are often deadly, features the world’s most tightly controlled and dangerous drugs. It follow’s last year’s recommendation from the WHO to remove legislative barriers for research into the medical uses of cannabis.
The vote between UN members over taking cannabis off Schedule IV was close, with 27 member states voting in favour of the resolution to declassify the drug, including the US and European countries.
China, Egypt, Russia, Pakistan and Nigeria were among the 25 nations that opposed it.
However, cannabis smokers will be less pleased to hear that this doesn’t provide a path towards full legalisation, because cannabis was not removed from the UN Schedule I drugs list, which already requires the highest levels of international control. That list includes cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, methadone, opium and oxycodone, the opiate painkiller sold as OxyContin.
According to Metro, the body cited “‘the high rates of public health problems arising from cannabis use’ and did not back the WHO’s recommendation to remove ‘extracts and tinctures of cannabis’ from Schedule I”.
Therefore, it remains the case that UN member states will not be able to legalise cannabis under the international drug control system.