The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNCND) has removed cannabis from its list of the world’s most dangerous drugs despite strong opposition.
Following recommendations by the World Health Organisation, the UNCND voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the highest category of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which also includes cocaine and heroin.
The recommendation passed by a narrow margin with 27 voting in favour and 25 against, while one nation abstained.
In voting against the move, Chile said there was “a direct relationship between the use of cannabis and increased chances of suffering from depression, cognitive deficit, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, among others”.
a direct relationship between the use of cannabis and increased chances of suffering from depression, cognitive deficit, anxiety, psychotic symptoms, among others
Egypt also opposed the change and feared the vote “may be interpreted that these substances are no longer harmful to health” and might result in “more illicit production and trafficking”.
Expressing its disappointment at the vote, Singapore said: “Cannabis is the most widely abused drug in the world and the acceptance of recommendation R5.1 may well compound this dire situation”.
According to research conducted by the University of Bath recently, the potency of cannabis has increased over the past 50 years and the drug is becoming progressively worse in its effects.
Dr Tom Freeman, the main author of the report, said: “More Europeans are now entering drug treatment because of cannabis than heroin or cocaine.”
Last year a US study showed that cannabis acts as a ‘gateway drug’, leading users to other illegal substances such as cocaine.
In November, New Zealand rejected a move to legalise recreational cannabis in a public referendum.