Cannabis, locally known as bhang or Marijuana has been removed from a category of the world’s most dangerous drugs.
This is after a United Nations commission voted for the move on Wednesday, removing cannabis from a category where it was listed alongside dangerous and highly addictive opioids like heroin.
The Vienna-based Commission for Narcotic Drugs removed cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs together with a series of other recommendations from the World Health Organisation on reclassifying the plant and its derivatives.
Although this latest development will have no immediate impact because governments still have authority over how to classify cannabis, it will give the greenlight to for more expansive research and medicinal use of marijuana.
The commission is made up of 53 member states; 27 voted in favour of reclassifying cannabis while 25 voted against.
Cannabis laws in Kenya
The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act states that: “Any person who has in his possession any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance shall be guilty of an offence.” This includes cannabis.
If a person satisfies the court that the cannabis was intended solely for his own consumption, s/he will be senteced to 10 years in prision and in every other case to imprisonment for 20 years.
“In respect of a narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, other than cannabis, where the person satisfies the court that the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance was intended solely for his own consumption, to imprisonment for twenty years and in every other case to a fine of not less than one million shillings or three times the market value of the narcotic drug or psychotropic substance, whichever is the greater, or to imprisonment for life or to both such fine and imprisonment,” reads a section of the Kenyan Constitution.