The UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) took a number of decisions on Wednesday (02), leading to changes in the way cannabis is internationally regulated, including its
reclassification out of the most dangerous category of drugs.

Accordingly, The U.N. voted to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from a category of the world's most dangerous drugs, which could impact the global medical marijuana industry.

"In reviewing a series of World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations on marijuana and its derivatives, 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.

The CND’s 53 Member States voted to removed cannabis – where it had been placed for 59 years – from the strictest control schedules, that even discouraged its use for medical purposes.  

However, Wednesday's vote does not clear U.N. member nations to legalize marijuana under the international drug control system. While some nations have legalized the sale and use of cannabis for recreational purposes, many countries have moved to decriminalize marijuana possession.
Moreover, according to news reports, the decision could also drive additional scientific research into the plant’s long-heralded medicinal properties and act as catalyst for countries to legalize the drug for medicinal use, and reconsider laws on its recreational use. 

Grow cannabis as an export crop - Diana Gamage

Meanwhile, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) National List MP Diana Gamage recently brought up a proposal in parliament to cultivate the cannabis plant for the export market as a solution to solve the country's debt crisis.

Pointing out that her proposal is not to legalise cannabis for recreational purposes, she emphsised that cannabis should only be cultivated as an export crop under the absolute control of the government.

In an interview with an English newspaper, Gamage said that "the exportation of marijuana, more accurately termed “cannabis”, has proven to be (one of the) the number one profit-earning industries in the world and many other countries are already actively engaging in it. From Switzerland to South Korea, Italy, Australia, and Israel are presently engaging in this. The revenue they have made is unbelievable because the health sector is only going to be developing in an upward spike in the years to come."

"I’m not proposing this to be used as a drug for recreational purposes at all. This proposal does not seek to induce substance abuse in any way, as with heroin or cocaine. My proposal is that cannabis ought to be cultivated under the absolute control of the Government and only for the purpose of exportation. There are actually many countries interested in cannabis grown in Sri Lankan soil to be used as a medicinal drug," she told Sunday Morning.

Global cannabis sales for 2020 will reach USD 19.7 billion, an increase of 38% over 2019 sales of USD 14.8 billion—even reflecting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic—according to updated market forecasts published by BDSA (formerly BDS Analytics), the leader in comprehensive, accurate and actionable cannabis market intelligence and consumer research.