Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2020. 6:47 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Complex Magazine reports that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs has voted to remove cannabis as a Schedule IV controlled substance, which is the designation reserved for the most dangerous substances, such as heroin.
The vote to change the designation was close, with 27 voting to change the classification which means a substance is “highly addictive and highly liable for abuse,” and 25 voting not to. The classification also means that a substance is “particularly harmful and of extremely limited medical or therapeutic value.” The classification change comes more than two years after the World Health Organization made the recommendation to makes the change on the grounds that cannabis does not meet the criteria to be listed as Schedule IV.
While the WHO had conceded that cannabis can cause dependence and have adverse effects, it also acknowledged that there are benefits which include pain relief and nausea as well as the potential to ease symptoms of conditions such as as anorexia, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis.
Over the past few years, there has been a gradual shift in the perception of marijuana use, with many countries, including Belize, either decriminalizing small amounts for personal use or legalizing it altogether for medical and recreational use.
Prime Minister John Briceno, during his election campaigning, had stressed that legalization of marijuana holds tremendous economic potential for Belize and would be an option explored by his government.
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