The United Nations Commission for Narcotic Drugs (CND) voted on Wednesday to accept the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin for medicinal purposes from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It was a close vote – passing 27 to 25, with the United States and notable European nations in favor (and China and Russia against). The WHO had made six cannabis-related proposals for the CND’s consideration back in the beginning of 2019, but the CND passed only the one.
The Single Convention categorizes drugs based on their possible harm versus medical utility, with Schedule IV including those that are considered the most harmful with virtually no medical utility. The U.S. previously confirmed it would be supporting the WHO recommendation to remove cannabis from the restrictive global drug scheduling category and published a statement about its rationale for the vote:
The vote of the United States to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the Single Convention while retaining them in Schedule I is consistent with the science demonstrating that while a safe and effective cannabis-derived therapeutic has been developed, cannabis itself continues to pose significant risks