The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs narrowly voted by 27-25-1 to reclassify medically approved derivatives of the marijuana plant, recognizing such non-smoked medications as Epidiolex within the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
Marijuana remains in the Schedule I classification alongside cocaine and opioids, meaning the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs has not approved of the legalization of the substance. The vote was only barely approved, along global west versus south lines generally.
There were four additional recommendations from the World Health Organization on marijuana and all four were rejected.
Dr. Kevin Sabet, founder and president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), former senior drug policy advisor to the Obama Administration, and ONDCP head delegate to the UN released the following statement in response:
“Today’s vote did not legalize marijuana or get anywhere close to that. It did not sanction pot dispensaries or high THC products being sold there. This was really nothing more than a reclassification by the United Nations to acknowledge the limited scope of therapeutic benefits from medications that are derived from the marijuana plant. Epidiolex and Marinol are two drugs that have passed the scientific muster and have proven to be effective at providing relief to patients suffering from very specific disorders.
“We have long praised efforts to approve medications and treatments from marijuana derivatives that have proven efficacy, and today’s vote was just a recognition of this.
“This vote should in no way shape or form be seen as an endorsement of ‘medical marijuana’ or the legalization of the substance. As it stands, marijuana will remain in the Schedule I classification of the International drug control treaties and members of these treaties should do everything in their power to uphold their International obligations to reducing substance abuse and drug trafficking.”