By The Civil Society Forum on Drugs (CSFD)
Cannabis and cannabis resin are controlled drugs under the international drug control conventions. Cannabis is currently listed in Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Schedule IV is the most restrictive schedule in the Convention. It is intended for drugs that are “particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects”, and that do not have “substantial therapeutic advantages” that offset the risk of harm.
“If the World Health Organization finds that a drug in Schedule I is particularly liable to abuse and to produce ill effects (paragraph 3) and that such liability is not offset by substantial therapeutic advantages not possessed by substances other than drugs in Schedule IV, the Commission may, in accordance with the recommendation of the World Health Organization, place that drug in Schedule IV.”
- Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, Article 3.5
All drugs in Schedule IV are simultaneously listed in Schedule I, which is reserved for “substances that are highly addictive and highly liable to abuse.” In addition, cannabis extracts and tinctures are listed in Schedule I of the 1961 Convention, and some of the psychoactive components of cannabis are listed in Schedule II of the 1971 Convention on psychotropic substances.
This means that the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis is only allowed for “medical and scientific purposes”. Production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis for nonmedical use remains prohibited under the drug conventions.