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The official: the UN has declassified weed as a dangerous drug

The UN has voted to declassify cannabis as a Schedule IV drug where it was previously ranked alongside Heroin, Fentanyl, and other Opioids.

In huge news, Cannabis has officially been recognised as a medicine following a vote from the United Nations.

The decision was not without contention, with the Commission for Narcotic Drugs (CND) passing the vote 27 to 25. Countries including Australia, Jamaica, the US, and various European nations voted in favour of this change, while countries such as Russia, Pakistan, China, and Egypt were in opposition. So what does this mean for marijuana?

Photo: David McNew / Getty Images file

With weed no longer considered by the UN as a Schedule IV drug within the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drug international treaty, it opens the door for governments to reconsider how to classify cannabis. Experts suggest the change will likely lead to enhancing medical research and legalisation efforts globally.

Although no international laws will be loosened, the reclassification is a symbolic stepping stone for drug policy reform as these global conventions act as a guide for structuring laws. So maybe don’t be sparking your joints in the street just yet – but there’s definitely reason for a celebratory smoke.

The change is the product of an early 2019 recommendation by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which advocated for the UN to reconsider its stance on marijuana in terms of its harms verse therapeutic benefits. Passing this vote and following WHO’s recommendations represents yet another instance of the war on drugs failing. In this year alone we saw Vancouver and Oregon decriminalise drugs of all kinds whilst New Zealand decided to legalise pill testing at music festivals.

In our home girt by sea, cannabis possession and use in Canberra is cool, and as of this week, NSW may even begin considering different penalties for the possession of drugs. With a focus on diverting a life of crime and early intervention, this potential stance on minor drug possession could be another instance of the global revolution towards drugs.