Following a United Nations ruling, weed will now be officially recognised as a medicine
Confirming something most of us already know, the United Nations has removed cannabis from its list of the world’s most dangerous drugs. The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted yesterday (December 2) to officially recognise weed as a medicine, after a recommendation from experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Out of the 53 member states, 27 voted in support, including the US, the UK, and European nations, while 25 voted against, including China, Russia, and Nigeria. Although marijuana has been removed from the list of drugs thought to have little medical benefits, it still remains banned for non-medical use.
“This is welcome news for the millions of people who use cannabis for therapeutic purposes,” a group of drug reform NGOs said in a press release, “and reflects the reality of the growing market for cannabis-based medicinal products.”
Anna Fordham, the executive director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, added: “The original decision (in 1961) to prohibit cannabis lacked scientific basis and was rooted in colonial prejudice and racism. It disregarded the rights and traditions of communities that have been growing and using cannabis for medical, therapeutic, religious, and cultural purposes for centuries, and has led to millions being criminalised and incarcerated across the globe.”
BREAKING: A United Nations commission voted on Wednesday to remove cannabis for medical use from Schedule IV, the harshest category of drugs, a highly anticipated development that could symbolically clear the way for more medical research and usehttps://t.co/nKLHT4oirl— Isabella Kwai (@BellaKwai) December 2, 2020
In its removal recommendation, WHO noted that cannabis can have adverse effects and cause dependence, but asserted that it helps in reducing pain and nausea, as well as easing symptoms of medical conditions, including anorexia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. WHO also said that marijuana doesn’t carry a significant risk of death, unlike other drugs on the list, including fentanyl, heroin, and morphine.
The medical benefits of weed have become harder and harder to ignore in recent years, with many countries leaning towards its legalisation. Canada became the world’s largest country to decriminalise the drug in 2018, while in August 2019, Luxembourg announced that it would do the same, becoming the first European nation to do so.
Over in the UK, public support has been growing for legalisation, which MPs predict will happen in five to ten years. In July 2018, medical marijuana was legalised in the UK after decades of confusion and racist controversy, with cannabis-based medicine becoming available on the NHS in November last year.
America’s legal cannabis business is already booming, with sales expected to exceed $15 billion by the end of 2020. This fact exposes the stark hypocrisy of approximately 40,000 people being locked in US prisons on marijuana charges, as cannabis arrests made up 40 per cent of all drug arrests in 2018. Read more about the fight to free America’s cannabis prisoners here.