UN removes cannabis from ‘most dangerous drug’ category

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News: United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs(CND) has voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

Facts:

  • Earlier Status: Cannabis was a part of both Schedule I and IV of the UN’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs — and while drugs in Schedule I can be used for medicinal purposes with state consent, drugs in Schedule IV are strictly controlled and their usage is a criminal offence.
  • Present Status: Now, both cannabis and cannabis resin will only remain on Schedule I which includes the least dangerous category of substances.
  • Status in India: Currently in India, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985, illegalises any mixture with or without any neutral material of any of the two forms of cannabis – charas and ganja — or any drink prepared from it.
  • Significance: This decision has opened the door to recognising the medicinal and therapeutic potential of cannabis.

Additional Facts:

  • Cannabis: It is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.According to WHO, cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug in the world.
  • Commission on Narcotic Drugs: It is the UN agency mandated to decide on the scope of control of substances by placing them in the schedules of global drug control conventions.It was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Vienna,Austria.
  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961: It is an international treaty to prohibit production and supply of specific (nominally narcotic) drugs and of drugs with similar effects except under licence for specific purposes, such as medical treatment and research.India is a party to the convention.

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