In 1961, The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs classified marijuana as a Schedule IV drug, the most dangerous category. Now, cannabis has been removed from the list per the World Health Organization’s recommendation.
The drug’s declassification opens up the door for more research into its medicinal and therapeutic uses. Cannabis was previously listed alongside deadly and addictive opioids, like heroin, but UN News announced that it is no longer considered a risky narcotic by the UN or most international medical communities.
It was removed from the list after a vote by the 53 Member States that make up the UN commission. The vote was 27 to 25 with the United States, Great Britain, the European Union, and South Africa in favor of declassification.
Although its declassification holds no immediate policy implications, it does demonstrate the turning tide of public opinion on marijuana as more medical experts and studies recognize it for its potential in treating mental and physical illnesses such as epilepsy.