The Trump administration is calling for the public’s opinion on the reclassification of marijuana to see where Americans stand and to redetermine the White House’s stance on global drug policies. The FDA is particularly interested in opinions about marijuana’s “abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use.”
Within global drug policy agreements marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, and due to this classification marijuana cannot be legalized under global drug treaties, Forbes reports. Nations that are signatories of said drug control treaties are prohibited from legalizing marijuana/cannabis. Yet, Canada is a signatory but has legalized medicinal marijuana and will legalize recreational marijuana on Oct 17.
Leslie Kux of the FDA said that public comments “will be considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding the abuse liability and diversion of these drugs” and that their goal is to “gather information on the legitimate use, harmful use, status of national control and potential impact of international control.”
The World Health Organizations’ Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) determined that CBD does have medicinal benefits. The agency also said that CBD should not be grouped into the same category as THC and other intoxicating substances that are subject to international drug control conventions.
The United Nations said, “CBD has been found to be generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. There is no evidence that CBD as a substance is liable to similar abuse and similar ill-effects as substances…such as cannabis or THC, respectively. The Committee recommended that preparations considered to be pure CBD should not be scheduled.”
A new FDA notice reads, “Any comments received will be considered by [the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] when it prepares a scientific and medical evaluation for drug substances that is responsive to the WHO Questionnaire for these drug substances. HHS will forward such evaluation of these drug substances to WHO, for WHO’s consideration in deciding whether to recommend international control/decontrol of any of these drug substances.”
Paul Armentano of NORML said, “A careful review of the relevant science does not now, nor has it ever, supported a hard-line approach to cannabis scheduling. Cannabis’s abuse potential relative to other substances, including legal substances like alcohol, tobacco and prescription medications, does not warrant its continued criminalization under either U.S. or international law. By any rational assessment, cannabis prohibition is a disproportionate public policy response to behavior that is, at worst, a public health concern. But it should not be a criminal justice matter and international laws should no longer classify it as such.”
Meanwhile, the federal government will await the UN’s review in November to make any recommendations regarding marijuana, and the FDA has issued a letter to the DEA stating that CBD should be “removed from federal control.”
Support marijuana legalization by submitting your opinion by Oct 31 at regulations.gov.