NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs today voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from its list of the “world’s most dangerous drugs”, a move the Associated Press (AP) is stating could have an impact on global “loosening of international controls on medical marijuana”.
The AP noted, however, that the vote “does not clear UN member nations to legalize marijuana under the international drug control system”.
“The Vienna-based UN agency said in a statement that it had voted 27-25, with one abstention, to follow the World Health Organization’s recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it was listed with heroin and several other opioids,” the article read.
“The drugs that are on Schedule IV are a subset of those on Schedule I of the convention, which already requires the highest levels of international control. The agency voted to leave cannabis and cannabis resin on the list of Schedule I drugs, which also include cocaine, Fentanyl, morphine, Methadone, opium and oxycodone, the opiate painkiller sold as OxyContin…”
The schedules “weigh a drug’s medical utility versus the possible harm that it might cause, and experts say that taking cannabis off the strictest schedule could lead…to the loosening of international controls on medical marijuana”, according to the Associated Press.
There has been longstanding public debate locally over whether or not the government will decriminalize cannabis in The Bahamas following more than two years of consultation and a preliminary report by the Bahamas National Commission on Marijuana (BNCM).
As recently as October, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis advised Parliament the records of individuals convicted for possession of small amounts of marijuana will be expunged next year.
The prime minister has repeatedly stated his support for decriminalizing possession of small amounts and expunging convictions.
The BNCM in its primary report, which was leaked to the media in January, made 24 recommendations but stopped short of recommending the legalization of recreational marijuana.
Its final report was expected to be presented following a national survey to codify the views of the Bahamian public on the matter, however, the local spread of the novel coronavirus has derailed most of the government’s plans.
Meanwhile, the Economic Recovery Committee, which was appointed to make recommendations on how The Bahamas’ economy can recover from the fallout of COVID-19, has recommended the government legalize the cannabis industry with strict controls that would allow production, consumption and exportation of the plant.