A United Nations commission voted Wednesday to remove cannabis for medicinal purposes from a category of the world's most dangerous drugs, a highly anticipated move that could clear the way for an expansion of research and medical use.

The vote by the Commission for Narcotic Drugs, which is based in Vienna and includes 53 member states, considered a series of recommendations from the World Health Organization on reclassifying cannabis and its derivatives. Attention centered on a recommendation to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which listed it alongside dangerous and highly addictive opioids.

Experts saythe vote will have no immediate impact on international controls, but many countries look to global conventions for guidance, and U.N. recognition is a symbolic win for advocates of drug policy change.

New York Times