Wednesday, December 2, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) accepted Recommendation 5.1 by the World Health Organization (WHO) to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It will remain a Schedule I substance. The recommendation indicates that the CND at least tacitly acknowledges that cannabis does have medical utility, but will remain subject to measures of control.
The recommendation received just enough support to be approved, with 27 votes in favor, 25 votes against, and Ukraine alone abstaining. The five remaining recommendations, including one that would have made a legal distinction between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), were not approved.
While this will not have immediate implications for the global cannabis industry or individual medical cannabis programs, it will likely encourage many countries around the world to reassess how cannabis is classified or scheduled within their jurisdictions. Should these nations decide to reclassify or reschedule cannabis, it could make it easier for patients to obtain access to medical marijuana. It could also stimulate more research into cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines.
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