UN removes Cannabis off dangerous drugs list, India too votes in favour of reclassification

UN removes Cannabis off dangerous drugs list, India too votes in favour of reclassification

India on December 3 voted along with the majority at a United Nations convention to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of most dangerous substances, news reports suggest. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND)’s decision came during the ongoing 63rd session and is expected to lead to changes in the way cannabis is regulated across various countries.

The annual convention 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, UN said in a statement. This came after the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended making research into cannabis’ medical use easier.

In 2019, the WHO had recommended 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 include Schedule IV include heroin, fentanyl analogs, and other opioids that are dangerous and often deadly. However, cannabis carries no significant risk of death and it has shown potential in treating pain and in medical conditions such as epilepsy, according to the world health body.

The production, manufacture, possession, sale, purchase, transport, and use of cannabis remains a punishable offense in India under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.