Search Results for: DEA scheduling

DEA releases 2020 Drugs of Abuse Resource Guide

Digital guide issued as a tool for law enforcement, practitioners, and the public

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has released the 2020 edition of Drugs of Abuse, A DEA Resource Guide, which is designed to be a reliable resource on the most commonly abused and misused drugs in the United States.

Released on a periodic basis, Drugs of Abuse provides important science-based information about the harms and consequences of drug use, describing a drug’s effects on the body and mind, overdose potential, origin, legal status, and other key factors.  In addition, the guide outlines U.S. drug regulation, including drug scheduling and chemical controls.  The 2020 digital edition updates the 2017 Drugs of Abuse publication with the most current information on new and emerging trends in drug misuse and abuse, including fentanyl, marijuana and marijuana concentrates, vaping, and stimulant drugs.

Because education plays a critical role in preventing substance abuse, this comprehensive guide is intended as a tool not just for medical practitioners and law enforcement officials, but also for educators, families, and communities.  Drugs of Abuse also offers a list of additional drug education and prevention resources, including the DEA websites: www.DEA.govwww.getsmartaboutdrugs.com for parents, www.justthinktwice.com for teens, www.campusdrugprevention.gov for colleges and universities, and www.operationprevention.com for school and work curriculum.

How Rescheduling Could Have Changed Cannabis Marketing

By Celeste Miranda

COLORADO: The DEA schedules substances, chemicals and drugs into 5 classified categories. Between Schedule 1 to 5 the level of potential for abuse gets more likely as the number goes down, so Schedule 1 is listed as the most dangerous for the public and Schedule 5 the least.  A Schedule 1 drug has been identified by the government as a substance with no potential for medicinal use and a high potential for abuse. Aside from cannabis schedule I also includes ecstasy, peyote and heroin. This DEA scheduling makes cannabis highly illegal to carry without the proper permits and also bars any scientific research on the medicinal value of the plant.

For the last couple of months the DEA has been pushing back their announcement on rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II. Last week they announced that cannabis would remain Schedule 1 which has equally angered and saddened the cannabis community. Not only does this continue the war on patients that has been raging across the country, but the negative effects of federal restrictions are more severe than cocaine and oxycodone blanket every aspect of the plant from research to marketing.

Real scientific research feeds an educational marketing platform.  One of the biggest problems that cannabis has faced is a lack of scientific research. Being classified as Schedule I, any relevant scientific research outside of cannabis that comes from a sterile government garden and is carried out by only a few government approved scientists. The ability to prove that the plant has medicinal value and move past a Schedule I classification is being blocked by that same classification. If and when the feds finally reschedule cannabis we will be able to partake in valuable research that will only fuel marketing efforts. If all of the research analysts that have been dying to get well grown hydroponic, outdoor and aeroponic cannabis into their laboratories were finally able to, there would be a bounty of research to fuel new content that will bring in an entirely untapped target demographic. Educational based platforms are the only way to ensure that no target client is left out of a marketing campaign and currently the cannabis education is mostly just conjecture or experiential. With real, hard data proving the medicinal value of cannabis the entire industry could change.

The DEA: Four Decades Of Impeding And Rejecting Science

This report, co-published by DPA and MAPS, illustrates a decades-long pattern of behavior that demonstrates the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner or to act in accord with the scientific evidence.

The report’s case studies reveal a number of DEA practices that maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules. In addition to marijuana, the report also examines the DEA’s speed in moving to ban MDMA, synthetic cannabinoids, and synthetic stimulants. In contrast to the DEA’s failure to act in a timely fashion when confronted with evidence for scheduling certain drugs less severely, the agency has shown repeatedly that it can move quickly when it wants to prohibit a substance.

The report recommends that responsibility for determining drug classifications and other health determinations should be completely removed from the DEA and transferred to another agency, perhaps even a non-governmental entity such as the National Academy of Sciences. The report also recommends the DEA should be ordered to end the federal government’s unjustifiable monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana available for federally approved research. No other drug is available from only a single governmental source for research purposes.

 

New Report Blasts DEA For Spending 4 Decades Obstructing Marijuana Science

WASHINGTON: The Drug Enforcement Administration has been impeding and ignoring the science on marijuana and other drugs for more than four decades, according to a report released this week by the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug policy reform group, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a marijuana research organization.

“The DEA is a police and propaganda agency,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said Wednesday. “It makes no sense for it to be in charge of federal decisions involving scientific research and medical practice.”

The report alleges that the DEA has repeatedly failed to act in a timely fashion when faced with petitions to reschedule marijuana. The drug is currently classified as Schedule I, which the DEA reserves for the “most dangerous” drugs with “no currently accepted medical use.” Schedule I drugs, which include substances like heroin and LSD, cannot receive federal funding for research. On three separate occasions — in 1973, 1995 and again in 2002 — the DEA took years to make a final decision about a rescheduling petition, and in two of the cases the DEA was sued multiple times to force a decision.

The report criticizes the DEA for overruling its own officials charged with determining how illicit substances should be scheduled. It also criticizes the agency for creating a “regulatory Catch-22” by arguing there is not enough scientific evidence to support rescheduling marijuana while simultaneously impeding the research that would produce such evidence.

Missed Deadline Pushes Alaska Marijuana Initiatives To General Election

ALASKA:  Because the Legislature did not meet its midnight deadline, three citizen’s initiatives are expected to be moved from the August primary to the November general election.

The switch would happen because of a constitutional rule requiring a 120-day waiting period after a legislative session before an initiative can be put to a vote. It would affect ballot questions to slow down the proposed Pebble Mine, to regulate marijuana like alcohol, and to hike the minimum wage. The rule does not apply to referenda, so a measure to repeal the new oil tax law would stay on the August ballot.

The rescheduling of initiatives is expected to help the anti-repeal effort, which the oil industry has sunk millions of dollars into. That’s because the initiatives are expected to bring more liberal-leaning voters to the polls, and that increased turnout will no longer affect the primary.

Roundtable Discussion for Nurses Week 2019: Why Are You A Cannabis Nurse?

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According to a gallop poll done in late 2018, nurses consistently rank at the top of the country’s most trusted professionals. More than four in five Americans (84%) again rate the honesty and ethical standards of nurses as “very high” or “high,” earning them the top spot among a diverse list of professions for the 17th consecutive year.

And this week, America celebrates them.

National Nurses Week begins on National Nurses Day, May 6, and concludes on May 12, the birthday of the most famous of nurses, Florence Nightingale.

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Today’s cannabis nurses, play various roles including being a patient advocate and educator and are tasked with the key role in helping patients and their caregivers, understand cannabis, from how they can use it, how often to use it, and help them figure out drug interaction from their other medications.

In addition to guiding the use of cannabis in a way that minimizes unwanted side effects, cannabis nurses must also identify drug interactions, assist in titrating or tapering doses, test strains, and educate the patient and family members – encouraging them to discuss treatment with other healthcare providers in the continuum of care.

We spoke with several cannabis nurses who attended the recent Cannabis Nurses Network Conference earlier this year, joined us in a roundtable discussion to ask the important question: Why are you a Cannabis Nurse?

“I am a cannabis nurse because I believe in the power of the plant to heal our bodies and minds in a natural way.  I believe in cannabis therapeutics because our bodies have an Endo-cannabinoid system that is dependent on our ingestion of cannabinoids and we have research now that suggests when we are deficient in cannabinoids that it actually leads to other illness and disease processes.  Cannabis is a wellness drug we should all consume in some form.” –James Schwartz BSN, LNC, CEO

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“I became a cannabis nurse by accident. After a critical illness left me on a ventilator, in a coma, my recovery was difficult. Wheelchair bound, with serious PTSD, I spent endless hours researching a road to recovery. Crippled by pain, insomnia and anxiety, nothing seemed to help. It was my children who suggested I try cannabis. Like many people I currently see at Magnolia Wellness, I had to overcome my personal biases and give cannabis a try. There is an old saying about “and the children will lead us”, let me tell you this, it will be cannabis nurses holding their hands! Health and wellness are the right of everyone, and cannabis can help give them that. I became a cannabis nurse to educate and facilitate their successful path.” –Barbara Blaser RN

“I am a cannabis nurse because this is where I am called at this time in my life. I knew from a young age this plant was special. I only regret that I never questioned the propaganda of the past but vow to fight for the right for humankind to use this plant in any way they may find useful to increase quality of life for now and all future generations.” –Dawn-Marie Steenstra LPN, SDC, IC, QA, SCC

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“I believe in it. I believe cannabis medicine changes lives, and as long as I have air in my lungs, I will fight for access for my patients. Everyone deserves autonomy to their health care, and I will die fighting for that right.” -Gina Lucero RN

 

“I am a Cannabis Nurse because cannabis has helped me through my second battle with breast cancer and my lifelong struggles with anxiety and depression. There is a world of education necessary to teach other nurses and it is important to change the stigma of cannabis as it relates to Scheduling and the therapeutic benefits it has as medicine. Raising awareness for Cannabinoid Therapeutics and alternative therapies that enhance the Endocannabinoid System has become a passionate part of my nursing career. As a nurse it is necessary to learn about the future of healthcare and the importance of alternative therapies to assist in the crisis of the national opioid epidemic as well as our national crisis of suicide. Cannabis will change the way we look at heaTHCare.” –Nique Pichette, MSN RN

“As a Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Registered Nurse I’ve been directly involved in the care of many Michigan patients whose end-of-life journey was significantly affected by the use of medical cannabis. Watching their successes and struggles I saw the need for unbiased scientific cannabis education.” -Cathleen Graham RN CHPN

“Cannabis has made an enormous impact in my own life, and in the life of my daughter, by sparing our individual health crises.    These are the reasons for my passion doing this work.   I find it rewarding to utilize my own life experiences and the knowledge gained to educate patients in need, as this gives purpose to the pain and furthers my own healing process in return.   I believe promoting cannabis as a viable medical option and requiring that patients are prioritized over profits will promote a badly needed health care paradigm shift, thereby improving outcomes for those patients who are falling between the cracks of our current system.  Having my own quality of life spared by cannabis, I am wholly committed to this pursuit, and won’t stop advocating until cannabis access is considered a basic human right.” -Janna Champagne, BSN, RN

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“When I first became knowledgeable about cannabis medicine I was in disbelief. Over the last 12 years I have been a hospice nurse, and the suffering both physically and mentally that I have witnessed is very real. I have spent a great deal of time learning the science while at the same time seeing the miracles of cannabis for patients. Reading and digesting the vast research and benefits of cannabis can seem like a slap in the face to any nurse who has spent their career trying to improve patient outcomes and quality of life. Where was this tool, this miracle plant when I was witnessing so many pre-mature deaths and so much suffering?  Apparently, it was being hidden by our own government under the guise of a schedule 1 drug, with no medicinal benefits and a high potential for abuse. The truth is, that even now while some people can and do benefit enormously from cannabis medicine, others are still suffering and being criminalized for trying to.  It is impossible to get the full health benefits from this plant when current US researches aren’t being allowed to research it, when patients are being told what specific cannabinoid they can or cannot have, how many plants they may can grow or what percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol they can have. This plant and its benefits are not understood when nurses and doctors still claim to be “anti-pot”.  How can anyone even be allowed to be a health care provider and not comprehend the enormous importance of the ECS and the relationship of cannabis to supplement this system. How can we as nurses not fight for justice that this plant and every victim of the government deserves? I am a proud cannabis nurse because I am an educated patient advocate. I am a Cannabis Nurse because every nurse should be.” –Marcie Cooper, MSN RN APHN-BC

“Cannabis chose me to carry her message. Cannabis taught me about the endocannabinoid system, the largest receptor signaling system in the human body, responsible for modulating and creating systematic homeostasis. Cannabis taught me about endocannabinoid deficiency, and the benefits of supplementing this deficiency with cannabinoids, acupuncture, nutrition, and mindfulness. Cannabis has taught me how to be a better nurse, a non-judgmental nurse, a fierce patient advocate nurse, a “woke” nurse aware of my mission and responsibility to help lead a revolution in healthcare, allowing cannabis wisdom to be our guide.” –Heather Manus, RN

Cannabis Nurses Network promotes and provides quality Education for ongoing continued learning. Through education and shared information, nurses are supported in gaining knowledge, experience, and confidence. Knowledgeable nurses who have understanding of the Endocannabinoid System and Cannabinoid Therapeutics are making major impacts within the healthcare and legal systems, as well as, the wellness and cannabis industries worldwide.

 

For Nurses Week, during Nurses Week, CNN is offering discount membership, CNNC 2020 Early-bird tickets, and a new online Continued Education Program, “Rooted in Science: Nourished by Nature.” For more information, log to https://www.cannabisnursesnetwork.com/

Will A Federal Appellate Court In New York End Cannabis Prohibition?

By David Wenger, Esq.

NEW YORK: Should a 12-year-old girl in Colorado with intractable epilepsy be restricted to the boundaries of Colorado in order to have access to life-saving medical cannabis?

Alexis Bortell suffered from multiple daily seizures and nearly died in her disabled veteran father’s arms several times until she began using medical cannabis—since then, she has not had a seizure in four years. Should she be prevented from travelling with her medication, not receive in-state tuition rates because she was forced to move from Texas, and not receive any Veterans Benefits coverage for her medication?

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Should the parents of a 7-year old boy from Georgia be able to provide medical cannabis to him to keep him alive?

Jagger Cotte was diagnosed at age one with Leigh’s Disease, a rare congenital disease which kills 95 percent of afflicted babies by age four if diagnosed by age two. He became a one-year-old hospice patient, unable to speak, walk, masticate food, and otherwise handle daily activities. He began experiencing near-constant pain, shrieking in agony. Until he began treatment with medical cannabis. He suddenly stopped screaming in pain, has been able to interact with his parents, and against all medical odds, is still alive! Should Jagger’s parents face the Hobson’s choice of foregoing their son’s medical treatment and subjecting him to the uncompromisingly painful and ultimately fatal effects of his illness, or procuring and providing and traveling with medical cannabis for their son in violation of federal law?

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Should a Veteran machine-gunner from Florida who served in Iraq for 14 months be denied Veterans Administration access to the only medication that works for his PTSD?

Jose Belen witnessed severe close-range combat and watched several of his close-friends including his best friend and roommate die violently in front of him. He returned home broken, often suicidal, unable to forget the horrors of what he saw, and was declared mostly-disabled by PTSD. He started treating with medical cannabis—and is now able to cope with his PTSD and lead a productive life. Should the VA prescribe and pay for his medication after his service to the country?

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These are among the questions at stake in the federal appellate court case Washington v. Whitaker (formerly Washington v. Sessions, Case No. 18-859) argued before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City on Wednesday, December 12, 2018 challenging the constitutionality of the Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule 1 classification of ‘marihuana.’ Schedule 1 requires a drug to have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” (21 U.S.C. § 812(b)(1)).

In the lower court, Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein dismissed the Complaint challenging Schedule 1’s constitutionality, not on the merits, but on legal procedural grounds. He found that the Plaintiffs were required to exhaust their remedies through the administrative DEA rescheduling petitioning process, which the Plaintiffs claimed is futile. Judge Hellerstein wrote: “I emphasize that this decision is not on the merits of plaintiffs’ claim . . . this decision should not be understood as a factual finding that marijuana lacks any medical use in the United States . . .” (SDNY Case No. 17-cv-5625, Opinion & Order at 12). During the oral argument on February 14, 2018, Judge Hellerstein had said to Plaintiffs’ counsel Michael Hiller: “How could anyone say that your clients’ lives have not been saved by marijuana?”

Reacting to Judge Hellerstein’s decision on procedural grounds, Mr. Hiller commented:

“Resigning the plaintiffs to the petitioning administrative process is tantamount to a death sentence for those patients who need cannabis to live. The time has come for the courts to abandon decades-old precedent, notched with obsolete legal technicalities, and catch up with modern science and contemporary principles of constitutional law . . . . This case will continue to move forward. Notwithstanding the outcome today, we remain confident that the final disposition of this case will include a finding that the classification of cannabis under the [CSA] is unconstitutional – freeing millions of Americans to safely treat their conditions with a plant that maintains their health and their lives.”

On Wednesday December 12, Second Circuit Court of Appeals Judges Dennis Jacobs, Guido Calabresi, and Jed Rakoff (by designation) listened intently to the constitutionality challenge to the Schedule 1 classification. Mr. Hiller told the Court that: 2.1 million patients across the United States rely on medical cannabis to treat illnesses and ailments; the Plaintiffs/Appellants’ ‘right to life’ is infringed by their inability to treat themselves with available medication; Judge Hellerstein had said there was no question on the merits; 33 states have legalized medical cannabis; and the US government holds numerous medical cannabis patents.

The questions and comments from the Panel of judges at oral argument were truly remarkable.

  • Judge Jacobs asked rhetorically: “We have a situation where one part of the government [FDA] said it’s a medicine and another part of the government [DEA] says it’s a crime to use?”
  • Judge Calabresi, citing how courts in other constitutional systems provide guidance to administrative agencies, asked: “Should the Court tell the FDA/DEA to expedite a review of cannabis, i.e. tell the agencies that Schedule 1 will be ruled unconstitutional so the agencies should take expedited action?” In response, Judge Jacobs said: “We might be able to rush it along.”
  • Judge Rakoff, known for making historic, transformative decisions, remarked: “The usefulness of cannabis for medicine has been known for decades.” He asked: “Why can’t the Court just take judicial notice that medical use of cannabis is proven?”

Despite these eye-opening remarks from the judges, the outcome at the Second Circuit is impossible to predict. Among potential outcomes, the Court may: affirm the lower court’s decision without a reasoned decision, affirm the lower court’s decision but with wording in line with Judge Calabresi’s suggestion urging the administrative agencies to reschedule, send the case back to the district court for a hearing on the merits, or as Judge Rakoff suggested the Court can take judicial notice that medical use of cannabis is proven and strike down Schedule 1 as unconstitutional for lack of any rational basis.

The timing is also unpredictable – a decision may issue within a week, usually within six months. Any outcome other than a remand to the lower Court will likely be placed before the Supreme Court.

Throughout history, the courts have been called upon to address fundamental social and societal questions. In instances where Congress and government agencies sometimes struggle to address these questions, the courts are often the source of change, such as with legalizing abortion and gay marriage.

The Second Circuit judges at the argument clearly fully appreciated the absurdity that is Schedule 1’s classification of cannabis. Watch closely.


David Wenger is a New York City attorney and specialist in the US cannabis industry. David is the author of the seminal White Paper on the industry, “The Green Regulatory Arbitrage: A Case For Investing In US Multi-State Vertically-Integrated Cannabis Companies,” published on New Cannabis Ventures. The Paper is available here.

OPINION: Marijuana Legislation In New Jersey

By: Jamel Holley, NJ Assemblyman

Led by our dynamic Union County State Senator, Nick Scutari, New Jersey is poised at the brink of an era ready for common sense, modern, post-prohibition style drug policy and the legalization of marijuana.

Admittedly, I was skeptical during the early stages of this discussion, concerned about the well being of my constituents. However, after listening to the perspectives of many, learning even more about the destruction done to my community, understanding how the criminal justice system has excessively injured so many young people —hearing from every side— I’m ready to say drug laws and policies have got to change. I commit to leading the charge supporting the legalization of recreational adult use of marijuana in New Jersey and implementing a common sense approach to regulation, through appropriate legislation and licensing.

Though a number of my respected peers in the Legislature have expressed some skepticism and concern, I whole heartily believe that the people of New Jersey are prepared to break ground on a new era of responsible drug policy. I believe that the theories that marijuana is a social ill akin to our deadly opioid crisis do not hold water. Therefore, it is time to move beyond spotty, ineffectual, Rockefeller-style drug policy.

Under the current laws, the State of NJ spends around $127 million per year on enforcement of the draconian marijuana policies that have negatively impacted the lives of so many families. For far too long, young people – minority young people in particular – have been systematically held back with respect to student loan eligibility, job placement, and general advancement in life due to the outdated drug policies that I seek to overturn. Regressive fine structures have placed nonviolent young people in vicious cycles of institutional poverty, by labeling them as criminals —this over a substance yielding no body counts, as opposed to the high rates of death from both tobacco use and alcohol, which are legal and regulated.

Aside from the clear and undeniable relief from the disproportionately punitive nature of the status quo drug laws and the current inappropriate scheduling of cannabis, the positive effects of legalizing are plentiful. When this legislation passes, we will be able to focus on developing an industry that will generate much needed revenue. These funds can be used for a number of different items; one added benefit to additional revenues is funding for a comprehensive mental health program.

When legalized, we will no longer have large sets of talented youths forgoing opportunity and the ability to contribute to society because we are bleeding them dry with fines. We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to what is going on here. It is time to give these men and women the chance to expunge these low level non-violent crimes and give them the ability to contribute to society.

New Jersey has a unique opportunity to set the standard for marijuana regulation nationwide. Other States will begin to look to us to see how we regulate this industry. Using some of the fallbacks and successes from other States, we can develop a plan that serves all New Jerseyans to make this mutually beneficial.

As a legislator, I have always felt that progress is the name of the game. Senator Scutari has effectively demonstrated the case for legalizing recreational marijuana in New Jersey. Together, we know New Jersey is ready to stop taking policy cues from the movie Reefer Madness (circa 1936), along with other racist films that date to the 1930s. Twenty-first century New Jersey is ready to increase industry and reduce predatory fine structures. New Jersey is ready to enforce laws that are more pressing, generating revenue for things that matter, like affordable pre-school and higher education, progressive leave policies, and so many other, important matters that require more capital than can be gained from chipping away at the most financially disenfranchised in our state. New Jersey is prepared for sensible drug policies and all the healing and opportunity that they can afford.

2017 Year In Review: NORML’s Top Ten Events In Marijuana Policy

#1: Public Support In Favor Of Adult Use Legalization Reaches All-Time High

Sixty-four percent of US adults – including for the first time a majority of self-identified Republicans – believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal, according to nationwide polling data published in October by Gallup. The percentage is the highest level of support ever reported by Gallup, which has polled the question since 1969. Gallup’s results came just two months after a national Quinnipiac poll reported that 61 percent of voters support adult use legalization – the highest percentage ever reported in that poll’s history.

#2: Legal Cannabis Industry Responsible For 150,000 Full-Time Jobs

The legal cannabis industry is responsible for the creation of an estimated 150,000 full-time jobs, according to state-by-state data published in September by the content provider Leafly.com. The total represents a 22 percent increase in the number of full-time cannabis-related jobs created since 2016. States reporting the largest number of cannabis-related jobs were California (47,711) Colorado (26,891), and Washington (26,556).

#3: Adult Use Laws Do Not Adversely Impact Traffic Fatality Rates

The enactment of statewide laws regulating the adult use and sale of cannabis is not associated with subsequent changes in traffic fatality rates, according to an analysis of traffic safety data published in June in the American Journal of Public Health. “We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle fatality rates in the first three years after recreational marijuana legalization,” authors concluded. Another study published last year in the same journal reported that the enactment of medical marijuana legalization laws is associated with a reduction in traffic fatalities compared to other states, particularly among younger drivers.

#4: Canadian Lawmakers Pledge To Legalize Adult Use By 2018

Liberal Party members introduced comprehensive legislation in April to regulate the use, cultivation, and sale of marijuana by those age 18 and older. Members of the House of Commons overwhelmingly approvedthe measure in November. The legislation now awaits action from the Senate. Liberal Party members have pledged to enact the legislation by summer 2018.

#5: Presidential Commission Ignores Evidence That Cannabis Mitigates Opioid Abuse

A final report issued in November by a Presidential commission on opioids refused to acknowledge scienceestablishing that legal cannabis access is associated with reduced rates of opiate usehospitalization, and mortality. Members of the commission had received over 10,000 communications from the public urging them to consider the role of legal cannabis in addressing the opioid crisis.

#6: Medical Marijuana Access Linked To Lower Medicaid Costs

Patients use fewer prescription drugs in states where access to medical cannabis is legally regulated, according to data published in April in the journal Health Affairs. Researchers reported, “[T]he use of prescription drugs in fee-for-service Medicaid was lower in states with medical marijuana laws than in states without such laws in five of the nine broad clinical areas we studied. … If all states had had a medical marijuana law in 2014, we estimated that total savings for fee-for-service Medicaid could have been $1.01 billion.” The findings are similar to those of a 2016 study which reported that medical cannabis access was associated with significantly reduced spending by patients on Medicare Part D approved prescription drugs.

#7: Anti-Cannabis Zealot Jeff Sessions Named US Attorney General

Members of the US Senate in February confirmed the nomination of Republican Congressman Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General. As a member of the US House of Representatives, Sessions once supported the death penalty for certain marijuana offenders and stated publicly, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.” As Attorney General, he has aggressively lobbied leadership to reject legislation protecting the rights of patients and providers in medical cannabis states from federal prosecution, and continues to mischaracterize as a substance that is “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

#8: Vermont Governor Vetoes Marijuana Depenalization Measure

Republican Gov. Phil Scott vetoed legislation in May that sought to eliminate criminal and civil penalties for the adult possession and cultivation of marijuana. However, a slightly amended version of the measure (S. 22) is likely to once again go before the Governor early next year – at which point he indicates his intention is to sign the bill into law. Vermont would be the first state to legislatively pass reforms protecting adults from both civil and criminal sanctions for possessing or growing small amounts of cannabis.

#9: New Hampshire Decriminalizes Minor Marijuana Offenses

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu signed marijuana decriminalization into law in July. The law took effect in September. Under the act, the possession of up to 3/4 of an ounce of cannabis and/or up to five grams of hashish by those age 18 or older is no longer criminal. New Hampshire was the only remaining northeastern state where minor marijuana violations were classified as criminal offenses.

#10: World Health Organizations Says CBD Is Safe, Should Not Be Restricted

Use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations issued in December by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile,” WHO determined.

World Health Organization: CBD Should Not Be Subject To International Drug Controls

SWITZERLAND: Use of the naturally occurring cannabinoid CBD (cannabidiol) possesses no likely abuse potential and should not be subject to international drug scheduling restrictions, according to recommendations issued this week by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.

Stated WHO: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions. Current evidence also shows that cannabidiol is not likely to be abused or create dependence as for other cannabinoids (such as Tetra Hydro Cannabinol (THC), for instance). The ECDD therefore concluded that current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol and postponed a fuller review of cannabidiol preparations to May 2018, when the committee will undertake a comprehensive review of cannabis and cannabis related substances.”

In September, NORML submitted written testimony to the US Food and Drug Administration in opposition to the imposition of new international restrictions regarding CBD access. The FDA is one of a number of agencies that advised WHO with their review.

preliminary report issued by the WHO in November affirmed that CBD was generally safe, well-tolerated, and that there “is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Despite the international health agency’s acknowledgment that CBD is therapeutic, safe, and well-tolerated, it remains classified under US law as a schedule I controlled substance.

“The domestic classification and criminalization of cannabidiol as a schedule I controlled substance is out of step with both available science and common sense,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said. “It is yet another example of the US government placing ideology over evidence when it comes to issues related to the cannabis plant.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.