United States government wants to hear public opinions on marijuana reclassification

Published Apr 22, 2019 10:24 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Thomas Peipert

Now that legal marijuana is such a booming industry in Canada and other regions that have adopted legislation that allows citizens to purchase and cultivate their own cannabis crops in the comfort of their homes. The Trump administration is seizing the moment and requesting that members of the public submit their personal opinions on the reclassification of the long-banned substance. More specifically, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is seeking public comment on whether marijuana along with a few other drugs that are being reviewed at the national level. The question many Americans are asking is why now.

According to global policy agreements that are currently in place, marijuana is listed as a schedule 1 drug which means that it should be illegal and not ever available in the form of a prescription from a healthcare provider. All countries that are a part of the international Drug Treaty are not technically allowed to introduce marijuana legalization that provides access to the substance in any way shape or form. Other areas such as Uruguay and Canada have gone ahead with legal marijuana anyway, but the United States wants to know how Americans feel about such a change before choosing whether to move forwards with any federal level adjustments.

Where can you go to make sure that your voice is heard?

If you are an American citizen with an opinion on marijuana legalization, you can visit www.regulations.gov to find the notice titled International Drug Scheduling Convention on Psychotropic Substances. The World Health Organization wants interested people to submit comments, personal evidence, and anything relevant to five different drug substances including marijuana plants, resin, tincture, extracts, and CBD products. All submissions must be made by April 27, 2019 and must include the docket at the top of the page in both hand-written and online submitted opinions.

Where to mail a submission

If you are unable to get online long enough to complete an online submission, or simply prefer written letters then it must be mailed on or before April 25, 2019, for consideration and should be sent to the address provided below:

Dockets management staff Food and Drug Administration

5630 Fishers Lane Room 1061

Rockville MD

20852

The WHO’s panel of experts will meet to discuss marijuana reclassification in June where all submission along with clinical trials and evidence will be thoroughly analyzed to make a decision going forward. The hope is that international legal marijuana scheduling would apply pressure to the regions who have chosen not to allow cannabis in either recreational or medicinal markets. Last year the non-psychoactive cannabinoid called cannabidiol or CBD garnered worldwide attention when placed in this very same position, and it was ruled that the element had medicinal capabilities that should be further studied. That recommendation launched a brand-new section of cannabis research focused solely on the many therapeutic benefits of CBD. A similar reaction to marijuana could be all that’s needed to garner support and findings to uncover the true possibilities for the plant species as a treatment and recreational substance of choice for human beings all over the world.

Why should you participate?

It is incredibly rare for the federal government of the United States to take into consideration what the public truly want’s beyond statistics polls and minor research studies that aren’t considered by lawmakers. A change in the status of marijuana in the US could spark a worldwide shift that would lead to an entirely different world than what so many of us know today. Criminalizing cannabis has left thousands of innocent people in harm's way either financially or mentally after being forced into the prison system for self-medicating. It is time to stand up and make a change, and every single voice counts in a public consensus of this scale.

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