A United Nations commission has reportedly chosen to remove cannabis from a list that categorized the drug as one of the most dangerous globally. The decision also recognizes the plant as having medicinal value.
CNN reports that on Wednesday (December 2), the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs approved a recommendation from the World Health Organization to remove marijuana resin from its Schedule IV classification under the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The new designation removes cannabis from the same categories as opioids like heroin.
“This is welcome news for the millions of people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes and reflects the reality of the growing market for cannabis-based medicinal products,” a group of drug policy advocacy organizations said in a news release.
The vote will now mean cannabis and its resin are no longer classified as among the most harmful substances, but they’ll still be subject to restrictions under the Schedule I category.
“We welcome the long overdue recognition that cannabis is a medicine,” said Ann Fordham, executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, in a statement. “However, this reform alone is far from adequate given that cannabis remains incorrectly scheduled at the international level.”
The designation may not have an immediate impact on how governments control scheduled substances. It could, however, give support to medical cannabis legalization efforts in countries in the United Nations. The United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and South Africa were all countries who voted in favor for the move, which passed 27-25.