Global health experts at the United Nations are recommending that marijuana and its key components be formally rescheduled under international drug treaties.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now put itself in the middle of an interesting international situation. The organization is calling for whole-plant marijuana, as well as cannabis resin, to be removed from Schedule IV – the most restrictive classification of a 1961 drug convention signed by countries from around the world, according to Forbes.
The WHO is also calling for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and its isomers to be completely removed from a separate 1971 drug treaty and added to Schedule I of the 1961 convention. Who also wants CBD containing less than 0.2 percent THC to not be under international restrictions at all.
Let’s explain this a bit further – According to the WHO, marijuana and cannabis resin would remain on Schedule I of the 1961 international treaty. But right now, they are also listed on Schedules I and IV, with Schedule IV being the most restrictive, reserved for drugs that have no medical benefits.
This is completely different from in the United States – where Schedule I drugs are listed as the most dangerous and restricted drugs—like marijuana, heroin, and LSD.
Changing world attitude on cannabis
The WHO recommendations will have to be voted on by the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs. This could take place in March this year when 53 nations will have a chance to vote on accepting or rejecting the changes.
Countries who have historically rejected drug policy reforms, like China and Russia, are expected to reject the WHO recommendations. And chances are that Canada and Uruguay, countries that have already legalized marijuana will vote in favor of the recommended changes, as well as other countries that recognize the medical benefits of cannabis.
Should the WHO recommendations be accepted, it would signal a big change in attitude at the international level toward the drug and its medicinal properties. More so, it would act as a “catalyst for Big Pharma to further assess the global medical cannabis opportunity,” according to BMO analyst Tamy Chen, according to Bloomberg.