Marijuana Reclassification: Feds Seek Public Comment for WHO Report

Should the World Health Organization recommend governments reclassify marijuana from its current designation as a dangerous, addictive Schedule I controlled substance, incapable of providing any medicinal relief to anyone? In the US., seeing as 30 states plus Washington D.C. now have some legalized form of it, it certainly seems about time. t’s about time to have the public weigh in.marijuana policy

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a release soliciting public comment regarding the potential or actual abuse, medicinal uses, trafficking dangers and impact of scheduling changes on its availability for medical use of marijuana (as well as a number of other substances that are currently being reviewed internationally) for information to put in its won review to the WHO.

Why Rescheduling Marijuana Matters

L.A. marijuana attorneys recognize most of the legal challenges that the cannabis industry confronts – from banking to investment to insurance to property disputes – so much of it comes down to the fact that pot is illegal under U.S. federal law – plus international law, per global drug policy agreements. It is in the most restrictive category of scheduling, meaning even research is supposed to be severely restricted. Technically, countries signed on to the global drug treaties aren’t supposed to turn around and legalize the drugs on that list, but that didn’t stop Canada or Uruguay.

Comments gleaned from the public will be weighed by U.S. policy officials with the FDA in preparing comment to submit to the WHO, which intends to use this recommendation to decide whether it should adjust national or international controls.

WHO’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence announced earlier this year that a component of cannabis, cannabidiol, that has medical benefits absent intoxicating effects, shouldn’t be classified as a Schedule I per international drug control conventions. It’s generally considered to have a positive safety profile, and there isn’t evidence to indicate that it is prone to abuse the way THC is, according to the agency. Preparations to de-schedule pure CBD were recommended.

The committee has agreed it will initiate an critical, in-depth review of the cannabis plant, resins and extracts, as well as the active ingredient THC. It was this review that sparked the FDA’s request for public comment. Similar comments were sought by the administration prior to an earlier pre-review on the drug by the UN.

Evidence-Based Policy for Marijuana 

What Los Angeles marijuana attorneys and other marijuana advocates hope is that by turning a critical eye to the hard facts of marijuana’s effects, the federal government will inevitably conclude reform at home is necessary. As the deputy director of NORML stated, cautious analysis of pertinent scientific review has never resulted in support of a hard-line marijuana scheduling approach. In fact, compared to other legal substances like tobacco, prescription drugs and alcohol, the potential for marijuana abuse is minimal, and certainly doesn’t warrant the ongoing criminalization of the drug under either international or national law. Instead, prohibition is not a logical, impartial response to this type of public policy matter which – in the worst case scenario – is a public health concern (not even a risk). There hardly any justification for continued classification as a dangerous drug.

A spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project agreed, saying it’s long past time federal drug schedules be revisited, particularly with regard to marijuana, which we know has significant value as a medicine and also is objectively less harmful than a number o medical products that are already legal.

True, pot is not not entirely harmless. But that’s true of pretty much any product. Given that the U.S. was the one who ushered in the era of marijuana prohibition, it seems only appropriate we be the one to take us out of it. If we were basing decisions on evidence-based policy, descheduling marijuana makes the most sense.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

Trump Administration Seeks Public Comments On Marijuana Reclassification, Oct. 10, 2018, By Tom Angell, Forbes.com

More Blog Entries:

Danger of ‘De Facto” Cannabis Legalization for California Neighbors, Oct. 7, 2018, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog