Following a recommendation from the World Health Organization, the United Nations’ Commission for Narcotic Drugs voted Wednesday to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a decision which is expected to eventually have a far-reaching impact on marijuana research and medical use throughout the world.
Prior to Wednesday’s vote, cannabis and cannabis resin had been listed alongside drugs such as heroin, methadone, morphine, opium and cocaine.
The U.N. Commission for Narcotic Drugs includes 53 member states, and the vote on marijuana reclassification was very close, passing by a 27 to 25 margin (with an abstention from Ukraine).
The United States and the vast majority of European nations voted in favor.
China, Pakistan and Russia were among the countries that were opposed to the reclassification.
The commission also considered five other recommendations (such as placing specific THC pharmaceutical preparations in Schedule III of the 1961 treaty), but none of the other five garnered enough support to pass.
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