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Photo by MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images

legalization | 01.09.2020

10,000 people wrote to the federal government telling them to end prohibition

“Cannabis has a long history of safe medical use dating from millennia”

Activists on Monday hand-delivered more than 10,000 written comments on cannabis prohibition from U.S. citizens to the federal government.
The comments, hand-delivered by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to the Food and Drug Administration, call on governmental authorities to reconsider prohibition.

The 10,359 public comments were requested earlier this month by the FDA as part of the World Health Organization’s review of the United Nations’ classification of marijuana in the most restrictive category possible. According to NORML, this just doesn’t match up with the plant’s broad therapeutic acceptance and low abuse potential.

“The United Nations’ international prohibition of cannabis is a relic from a bygone era,” said NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano. “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.”

NORML Board of Directors members also submitted their own testimony stating:  “In general, the safety, dependence, and usage profile of cannabis compares favorably to alcohol, tobacco and other unscheduled substances. For this reason, NORML believes that cannabis should be withdrawn from the treaty framework entirely.”

The Board members point out that cannabis has an unusually low toxicity compared to other pharmaceuticals and that, according to the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration, it poses zero risk of lethal overdose.

“Cannabis has a long history of safe medical use dating from millennia,” the Board members wrote. “Over 100 human studies have found cannabis and THC to be therapeutically effective for a wide range of medical conditions.”

As of 1 p.m. EST on April 23, only 6,566 comments had been submitted through the federal website. “With the comments by NORML members, we will have submitted 61 percent of all public comments,” the organization announced on Monday.

The U.S. is a party to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Article 2 of the Convention provides that if a party to the convention has information about a substance, which in its opinion may require a change in international control, it is to notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations. In such an event, the party is supposed to provide information to support its opinion.

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