In a development that is said to open the door for more research into the medicinal and therapeutic aspects of the plant, the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has voted to remove cannabis from its classification as a dangerous drug.
According to reports, the CND’s 53 Member States voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin.
The historic decision was made after the CND reviewed a series of World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations on marijuana and its derivatives.
It was disclosed that the vote saw 27 in favour, 25 against, and one abstention.
It should be noted that in the Caribbean, there have been moves by many Governments in St Vincent and the Grenadines and the Cayman Islands, for example, to legalise cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Other nations such as Jamaica, Belize, Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and, most recently, Barbados, have decriminalised the drug under certain quantities, and placed restrictions on where it can be consumed.
Reacting to the development, founder of the Cannabis Business Conference and Expo (CANeX), Douglas Gordon who welcomed the move, said “While long overdue, it is a welcomed and important step in the ongoing push towards normalisation of the industry.
“The UN vote will immediately facilitate more scientific and medical research in laboratories around the world. It will also help progressive thinking government leadership around the world to act and move forward in advancing needed legislation and regulations. I am optimistic that this will have a positive impact on the evolution of the industry throughout the Caribbean”.