UN removes marijuana from list of most dangerous substances
The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has removed marijuana from its list of most dangerous drugs.
The UN on Tuesday voted to remove cannabis sativa as a Schedule IV controlled substance, a designation reserved for the most dangerous substances, such as heroin.
In a statement, UN said marijuana will now stay on a list of Schedule I drugs alongside cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone and others, which require the highest international control levels.
This particular classification is a subgroup of Category I, in that a substance is considered to be “highly addictive and highly liable for abuse,” but also “particularly harmful and of extremely limited medical or therapeutic value.”
The decision comes after a recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reclassify marijuana.
The narrow 27-25 vote comes after WHO launched the recommendation more than two years ago to remove the substance from its previous classification, arguing that “the inclusion of cannabis and cannabis resin in Schedule IV is not consistent with the criteria for a drug to be placed in Schedule IV.”
The WHO committee stated that, while cannabis can cause dependence and have adverse effects, there is something to be said about its benefits, which includes reducing pain and nausea, in addition to easing symptoms of medical conditions such as anorexia, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.
The committee cited its “limited robust scientific evidence on the therapeutic use of cannabis.”
In Kenya, chorus has been growing for the legalisation of marijuana, popularly known as weed.
Cannabis Sativa is the world’s most popular drug and is the highest value therapeutic crop known at the moment, despite being illegal in many parts of the world, including Kenya.
In 2018, former Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth wrote to the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to facilitate him in preparing a Bill, the Marijuana Control Bill, which sought to decriminalise the growth and use of the stimulant.
Marijuana is considered a narcotic in Kenya and its cultivation, possession and use are a criminal offence under the Penal Code.
One can be jailed for between 10 and 20 years, if convicted even as the drug is widely used or abused by many people locally.
Scientists have hailed the drug’s medicinal value with research showing that it is effective in fighting chronic pain, some cancers, glaucoma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression among others.