UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which comes under the UN Economic and Social Council, is the apex drug policy-making body within the UN. It has vital functions in the international drug control conventions. This commission’s 53 member states have recently voted to remove cannabis from the Schedule IV and move it to Schedule I. Cannabis had been in Schedule IV since 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs alongside highly addictive and dangerous drugs like heroin, 3-methylfentanyl and desomorphone etc. This was done to recognise the medicinal value of the Cannabis plant.

What is 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs?

The convention categorises the drugs from the most restrictive to the least restrictive in the order Schedule IV, Schedule I, Schedule II and Schedule III. The drugs in Schedule I are allowed to be used only to medicinal and scientific purposes. The drugs under Schedule II do not need medical prescriptions and the Governments are not bound to prevent the accumulation of the drugs. The drugs under Schedule III are subjected to lesser restrictions. The drugs under Schedule IV have dangerous properties.

India is a signatory of the treaty.

Cannabis in India

The usage of Cannabis in India is governed by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The act has banned sale and production of cannabis flowers and resin. On the other hand, it allows the use of leaves and seeds. The Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences recently announced that the Cannabis is effective in cancer treatments and shall be used as a restorative drug in cancer patients.

Cannabis in the World

More than fifty countries have adopted the medicinal use of cannabis. The countries such as Canada and Uruguay have legalised the recreational use of Cannabis. Over 15 states in the United States have approved the recreational use of Cannabis and 33 states have allowed the medicinal use of Cannabis.

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