NORML Delivers Over 10,000 Public Comments To FDA Regarding International Classification Of Cannabis

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: NORML staffers on Wednesday hand-delivered over 10,000 public comments to the US Food and Drug Administration calling on the agency to recommend amending the substance’s illicit status under international treaties. The agency had requested public comments so that they could be “considered in preparing a response from the United States to the World Health Organization regarding the abuse liability and diversion” of marijuana and certain other substances.

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It is the second time this year the FDA has sought the public’s feedback with regard to cannabis scheduling. In April, NORML staffers also delivered over 10,000 written comments to the agency from members of the public.

Writing to the FDA on NORML’s behalf, Deputy Director Paul Armentano opined “that cannabis be removed from the international drug conventions so that nations that wish to do so may further expand their regulations governing cannabis’ use, possession, production, and dispensing for either recreational or medical use.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

 

Court Rejects Challenge To DEA’s Classification Of Marijuana Extracts

CALIFORNIA: A three judge panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied a petition filed by the Hemp Industries Association challenging the DEA’s authority to establish a new administrative drug code specifically for marijuana extracts. The DEA first announced the proposed rule change in 2011, but did not enact the new policy until January 13, 2017.

In a decision filed on April 30, the Court rejected petitioners’ arguments – opining the DEA’s classification of marijuana extracts does not conflict with the provisions of either the Agricultural Act of 2014 (aka the ‘Farm Bill’) or the Consolidated Appropriations Act, which limits the Justice Department from spending federal dollars to intervene in state-sanctioned activities involving marijuana or industrial hemp. The Court also dismissed petitioners’ argument that the rule substantively amended the federal Controlled Substances Act. Justices opined that such extract products, including those containing primarily CBD, were already classified under federal law as schedule I controlled substances.

The DEA has long contended that it possesses broad regulatory authority over “all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L.,” including “the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin.” The agency includesamong this definition products containing cannabidiol or any other non-THC cannabinoids derived from the marijuana plant. It further states, “[T]he Agricultural Act of 2014 does not permit entities [who are not registered with the DEA] … to produce non-FDA-approved drug products made from cannabis.”

Over a dozen states have enacted legislation in recent years exempting certain persons who possess extracts high in cannabidiol from criminal prosecution. Legislation to approve the retail sale of CBD extracts to adults in Kansas is awaiting gubernatorial action. Indiana lawmakers approved a similar law in April. Several pieces of legislation seeking to exclude CBD from the federal definition of marijuana are pending in Congress. In 2015, Nora Volkow, the Director of the US National Institute on Drug Abuse, publicly acknowledged that CBD is “a safe drug with no addictive effects.”

Petitioners say that they intend to appeal the ruling.


The case is Hemp Industries Association et al., v. US Drug Enforcement Administration et al., (No. 17-70162).

Federal Reclassification Of Marijuana Could Have Major Impact On Medical Uses

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Federal authorities have announced that they are reviewing the possibility of loosening the classification of marijuana, and if this happens, it could have a far-reaching impact on how the substance is used in medical settings, experts said.

Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is listed alongside heroin and LSD as among the “most dangerous drugs” and has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced last week that it is reviewing the possibility of reclassifying it as a Schedule II drug, which would put it in the same category as Ritalin, Adderal and oxycodone.

Medical experts are welcoming the review, saying it could ease restrictions for researchers, so that they can better understand which compounds in marijuana could be used to help patients.

The American Medical Association told ABC News that the group supports the review “to help facilitate scientific research and the development of cannabinoid-based medicines.”