After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested public comments on whether to change marijuana’s classification as a drug with no medical use and a high potential for abuse, a leading US cannabis advocacy group turned in more than 10,000 responses for a survey that could shift drug laws all over the world.
In early April 2018, the FDA requested public comments regarding cannabis as a Schedule I drug, grouped with heroin and cocaine, among other drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) is conducting a review on international prohibition of cannabis and will consider all of the comments gathered by the FDA in the United States, as well as similar bodies in other nations.
The Washington, D.C.-based cannabis advocacy group, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) hand-delivered more than 10,000 comments from concerned Americans on Monday, April 23, 2018 to the FDA’s offices in suburban Washington.
International treaties categorize marijuana similarly, placing it in the highest level of controlled substances, preventing research and therapeutic applications from helping countless people in need.
“The United National’s international prohibition of cannabis is a relic from a bygone era,” NORML deputy director Paul Armentano said of the Schedule I classification in a written statement. “This decision, which was largely a political one made over 50 years ago, does not accurately reflect either the available science or the rapidly changing political and cultural status of cannabis worldwide.”
Along with delivering the comments, NORML officials also submitted their own concerns with current international cannabis restrictions.
“In general, the safety, dependence, and usage profile of cannabis compares favorably to alcohol, tobacco and other unscheduled substances,” the statement from NORML’s board of directors said. “For this reason, NORML believes that cannabis [ultimately]should be withdrawn from the treaty framework entirely.”
The 10,000 comments collected by NORML were more than the 6,566 comments collected on the federal regulations.gov site where people could submit their thoughts online. NORML’s efforts account for 61 percent of the total contributions from Americans to the WHO review.
Comments can be submitted until midnight Monday, April 23, 2018 online.
A video of NORML officials delivering the public comments to the FDA’s Rockville, Maryland, office is available on its Facebook page.