UN : Marijuana is no more a Dangerous Drug in 2020  | UPSC

UN : Marijuana is no more a Dangerous Drug in 2020 | UPSC


UN removes cannabis from ‘most dangerous drug’ category, what this means

      WHY IN NEWS:

Currently in India, the 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.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Health : Drugs


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

  • This decision that could influence the global use of medicinal marijuana, decades after it was first placed on the list.

Ongoing 63rd session, CND has chosen to affirm a World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation from 2019 to remove cannabis from its ‘most dangerous’ category.

  • 27 Member States voting in favour, 25 against, and one abstention.
  • India was part of the voting majority, along with the US and most European nations.
  • China, Pakistan and Russia were among those who voted against, and Ukraine abstained.
  • 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.
  • Also it is illegal to use any form of cannabis in preparing drink from it.


  • According to the WHO, cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa.

The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

  • The Mexican name ‘marijuana‘ is frequently used in referring to cannabis leaves or other crude plant material in many countries.

UN : Marijuana is no more a Dangerous Drug in 2020  | UPSC

Marijuana  | UPSC

  • Most species of cannabis are dioecious plants that can be identified as either male or female.

The unpollinated female plants are called hashish.

  • Cannabis oil (hashish oil) is a concentrate of cannabinoids — compounds which are structurally similar to THC.
  • It is obtained by solvent extraction of the crude plant material or of the resin.
  • The WHO says that cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug in the world.

Marijuana  UPSC

Marijuana | UPSC


  • The Vienna-based CND, founded in 1946, 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.

Cannabis has been on Schedule IV–the most dangerous category.

  • Since it was first scheduled, however, global attitudes towards cannabis have changed dramatically.
  • Many jurisdictions permitted cannabis use for recreation, medication or both, despite it remaining on Schedule IV of the UN list.
  • Currently, over 50 countries allow medicinal cannabis programs, and its recreational use has been legalised in Canada, Uruguay and 15 US states, as per UN News.


  • In January 2019, the WHO made six recommendations related to scheduling of cannabis in UN treaties.
  • The proposals were to be placed before the CND’s session in March that year.
  • Members overwhelmingly voted to postpone the vote, requesting additional time.

Then, at its currently ongoing session, the CND rejected five of the six proposals, but approved the key one to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV.

  • However, both substances will continue to remain on Schedule I, the least dangerous category.


  • The reclassification of cannabis by the UN would not immediately change its status worldwide as long as individual countries continue with existing regulations.
  • Now many nations follow the lead of international protocols while legislating.

CND decision would add momentum to efforts for decriminalising cannabis in countries where its use is most restricted, while further legalising the substance in others.

  • Scientific research into marijuana’s medicinal properties is also expected to grow.
  • The CND reviews and analyzes the global drug situation, considering supply and demand reduction.
  • It takes action through resolutions and decisions.


      IASbhai WINDUP: 


  • The Commissions actively contributes to the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
  • Sustainable development and the mandates of the Commissions are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
     SOURCES:  IE   | UN : Marijuana is no more a Dangerous Drug in 2020 | UPSC



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