By Arré Bench Dec. 04, 2020
The last few months has seen much brouhaha over the possession of a few grammes of weed – arrests have been made and the entertainment industry has been demonised. Meanwhile, India has voted with majority nations at the United Nations to remove cannabis from the list of most dangerous substances.
During the coverage in the Sushant Singh Rajput case, a section of the media spent significant energy to demonise stars as “druggists” and “ganjedis”. WhatsApp chats made it to prime time and actors even talking about “maal” were branded as addicts.
While the Narcotics Control Bureau continues to make high-profile arrests over a few grammes of cannabis possession, India has voted with majority nations at the United Nations to remove cannabis from the list of most dangerous substances.
#ExpressFrontPage | The decision taken by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) on Wednesday at its ongoing 63rd session will lead to changes in the way cannabis is regulated internationally.https://t.co/P32YzszZQF
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) December 4, 2020
The decision taken by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) at its 63rd session will lead to changes in the way cannabis is regulated internationally. The countries were sharply divided, with the vote being won by 27 to 25.
“The CND zeroed-in on the decision to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs – where it was listed alongside deadly, addictive opioids, including heroin,” the UN said in a news release on December 2.
Based on @WHO recommendations, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs reclassified cannabis out of the most dangerous category of drugs on Wednesday, leading to changes in the way it is internationally regulated. https://t.co/wqxmJ7uynG pic.twitter.com/4J0CxZluqR
— United Nations (@UN) December 4, 2020
A senior diplomat told The Wire that the vote was largely divided between “First World versus developing and Islamic countries”. He stated that India was an “exception” in that regard. The United States and the EU states had supported the proposal, with Russia, China, Japan, Singapore, Iran, Pakistan and Nigeria in the negative aisle.
The World Health Organization had recommended removing cannabis from Schedule IV in January 2019. Their recommendations were based on a report of the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, which observed that it did not find evidence that cannabis plant and cannabis resin produced ill-effects similar to other substances in Schedule IV.
Sources confirmed that India has voted along with 26 other countries to remove Cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, where it is listed alongside opioids like heroin. | @DevirupaM https://t.co/VLeiC4MrRs
— The Wire (@thewire_in) December 4, 2020
Cannabis has now been rescheduled “at a level of control that will prevent harm caused by cannabis use and at the same time will not act as a barrier to access and to research and development of cannabis-related preparation for medical use”. India did not deliver an explanation of its vote, but as per sources, the Indian position was that the medical use of cannabis was “promising”. The recreational use of cannabis will continue to be strictly banned in India.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor pointed out how a similar recommendation by him a couple of years back was not received well. “Now, even as the NCB arrests Bollywood stars for cannabis possession, India has joined a majority in the @UN Drugs Commission to delist it as a dangerous drug. Ah well!” he tweeted.
Though i've never consumed cannabis myself, I was attacked for a policy recommendation to legalise it 2yrs ago. Now, even as the NCB arrests Bollywood stars for cannabis possession, India has joined a majority in the @UN Drugs Commission to delist it as a dangerous drug. Ah well! https://t.co/1QSjfBDNmm
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) December 4, 2020
The move has been hailed as a step in the right direction.
As a medical oncologist, I would like medical use of cannabis and its products to see light of day. It can be a great help to patients with advanced cancers and those needing pain and palliative care.
— Dr. AMARENDRA (@Doc_Amarendra) December 4, 2020
Great to see that we as a country are expanding our horizon a little more. We need leaders who believe that there are bigger things to tackle than arresting people who use cannabis recreationally. I hope the NCB is listen and btw, whats the status on the SSR case? 🤔
— BroadSword (@sheldonbenny191) December 4, 2020
#cannabisLegal should be the way forward. Zero sense in persecuting folks for something like this whose extract also has medicinal usage. #NCB should focus on the psychotropic drugs which have taken a toll through the Punjab. @ShashiTharoor https://t.co/94aVB0xxsM
— Sanjoy K Roy (@SanjoyRoyTWA) December 4, 2020
A minute’s silence for Navika Kumar and her primetime pastime of analysing messages and demonising an entire industry.