Historic vote by UN drug commission reschedules cannabis

Historic vote by UN drug commission reschedules cannabis

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, marking a milestone in cannabis history. The Commission today voted to accept the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation, essentially recognizing the medicinal value of cannabis by moving it to the less-restrictive Schedule I.


CND Monitor: Results of the votes on the WHO cannabis scheduling recommendations.


The outcome has sweeping implications for international cannabis – certain to affect the change and development in national laws and regulations, induce investment and speed up research. Moreover, it signals a change in morals, according to Richard Rose, long-time American cannabis activist and entrepreneur.

Changing value system

“Schedule IV for cannabis is a relic of the most extreme international drug laws inherited from 1950s morals and is representative of long discredited value systems connected to racism, intolerance, disrespect for indigenous peoples and cultures that were the hallmark of the colonial age,” Rose wrote on his blog, The Richard Rose Report.

“This isn’t just another brick in the wall coming down, it’s a big hole blasted right through it,” Rose told HempToday. “This Treaty was what every prohibitionist country pointed to as to why they couldn’t legalize. Canada and Uruguay have been violating it for years without consequence, so they decided to do the right thing end the cruel charade.”

Independent researcher Kenzi Riboulet-Zemouli whose CND Monitor tracks global cannabis issues, said: “With this decision, the UN closes a 60-year denial of what has been documented being among the most ancient medicinal plants humankind domesticated.”

CBD footnote rejected

The recommendation, which passed 27-25 with one abstention, was among other WHO proposals, including two with potential to affect the CBD sector.

First, Commissioners rejected a proposal that would have introduced CBD into the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs through insertion of an exempting footnote, with 28 countries voting against that proposal vs. 23 in favor and 2 abstentions.

Avoiding precedent

U.S. and European members voting against the footnote said they want to avoid setting “a precedent that the CND now has to start adding footnotes,” which would “displace the presumption that things are not controlled unless explicitly stated to be controlled.” EU and U.S. officials have repeatedly reaffirmed that CBD is not scheduled in international drug conventions, and therefore is not subject to drug controls, reminding as well that CBD which may be present in industrial hemp products is similarly exempt.

Meanwhile a second WHO recommendation that would remove the wording “cannabis extracts and tinctures” from the 1961 convention and replace it with “cannabis preparations,” was rejected by the Commission. Observers have suggested that change would have positively affected the CBD sector by simplifying treaty law. That proposal failed, with 27 Commissioners voting against, 24 in favor, and 2 abstentions.

Article written by HempToday and originally posted at https://hemptoday.net/historic-vote-by-un-drug-commission-reschedules-cannabis/