The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV substances are considered dangerous and addictive according to the UN’s system. Schedule IV is actually a subset of Schedule I controlled drugs — rated as the most dangerous of these.
The December 2, 2020 vote came after the CND—which comprises 53 states—took on board World Health Organization recommendations made two years ago regarding cannabis and its derivatives. These recommendations, which recognized the potential therapeutic effects of marijuana were that:
The fact that the CND is acting on and formalising WHO recommendation couldn’t be bigger in terms of endorsements for the comparative safety of cannabis, but the drug is still staying in the “dangerous” category, just ranking slightly lower in terms of the harm it can cause. Impossible as it sounds, until now marijuana was actually rated as more dangerous than morphine and fentanyl.
After the vote, some countries made statements. The US voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV, while retaining in Schedule I, stating that this move was “consistent with the science demonstrating that while a safe and effective cannabis-derived therapeutic has been developed, cannabis itself continues to pose significant risks to public health and should continue to be controlled under the international drug control conventions”.