A United Nations commission voted on Wednesday to remove cannabis for medical use from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs, such as heroin, a highly anticipated and long-delayed decision that could clear the way for marijuana research and medical use.
The vote by the Commission for Narcotic Drugs, which includes 53 member states, considered a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization on reclassifying cannabis and its derivatives. But attention centered on a key recommendation to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — where it currently sits, alongside dangerous and highly addictive opioids like heroin.
Experts say the approval of the recommendation will have no immediate implications for loosening international controls, and governments will still have jurisdiction on how to classify cannabis. But many countries look to international conventions for guidance, and U.N. recognition is a symbolic win for advocates of drug policy change who say that international law is out of date.
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