Europe and Americas Lead the Way in Historic U.N. Marijuana Vote

Image via Formula Swiss

In a tight vote, the U.N. reclassified marijuana on December 1.

Cannabis and cannabis resins will no longer be listed as Schedule IV drugs.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs made the recommendation by a 27-25 margin.

Marijuana was previously considered by the U.N. to be “one of the most dangerous [drugs] and regarded as exceptionally addictive and producing severe ill effects." With the vote, marijuana will be removed from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which was signed in 1961.


The following countries voted in favor:

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Czechia, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands. Poland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, United States, Uruguay


The following countries voted against:

Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Egypt, Hungary, Iraq, Japan, Kasakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Russia, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan


The following country abstained:



In the U.S., marijuana remains a "drug of abuse" with no medical benefits, according to the FDA and the DEA. The MORE Act, if passed by Congress, would change that.

While supporting the U.N. recommerndation, the U.S. still had reservations, with the delegate stating:

"The United States voted yes on Recommendation 5.1, consistent with the science demonstrating that while a safe and effective cannabis-derived therapeutic has been developed, cannabis itself continues to pose a significant risk to public health, and should continue to be controlled under the international drug conventions.”


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.