Over 400 Physicians And Medical Experts Demand U.S. Gov Fully Deschedule Cannabis, Citing Insufficiency Of Rescheduling

Zinger Key Points
  • A non-profit of over 400 medical experts argue for complete cannabis descheduling, emphasizing the inadequacy of rescheduling.
  • Rescheduling cannabis keeps federal prohibitions, disproportionately impacting communities of color and limiting medical cannabis access.
  • The group of physicians proposes a new regulatory system for cannabis, aiming for better public health and consumer protection.

Doctors for Drug Policy Reform (D4DPR), a non-profit organization representing over 400 physicians and licensed medical practitioners, recently released a position paper outlining the critical need to deschedule cannabis entirely from the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA), moving beyond the limited step of rescheduling. 

Despite the U.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesrecent proposal to reclassify cannabis to Schedule III thus acknowledging its medical benefits, D4DPR argues that rescheduling is insufficient for comprehensive reform.

Cannabis Regulation: From Open Use To Strict Controls

Historically, cannabis was unregulated in the U.S. until the early 1900s. D4DPR’s position paper reviews how harsh restrictions began with the 1932 Uniform Narcotic Drug Act and escalated over the decades. Despite recommendations for decriminalization from the Shafer Commission in 1972, strict controls under the CSA have persisted, classifying cannabis alongside substances with “no currently accepted medical use” and a “high potential for abuse.”

Related news: Did You Know Cannabis Lobbying Isn’t New? Early 1900s Pharmacies Pushed To Sell ‘Marijuana Cigarettes’ For Fifty Cents

Rescheduling's Limited Impact On Federal Prohibition

The policy paper, modeled after a letter D4DPR sent to the White House on 4/20 of this year, also highlights that while rescheduling to Schedule III would alleviate some federal penalties and recognize the medical utility of cannabis, it would still uphold the federal prohibition on the cultivation, distribution and sale of cannabis products not FDA-approved. This restriction continues to disproportionately affect people of color and limits the availability of cannabis for therapeutic use.

The physicians group stresses that “the federal descheduling of cannabis would empower states to choose for themselves whether to regulate, decriminalize, or continue to prohibit cannabis." This approach would respect state sovereignty and provide a public health framework for regulating cannabis, ensuring consumer protection and facilitating access to medical cannabis for those in need.

Proposing New Rules For Cannabis Regulation

The medical professionals non-profit criticizes the FDA’s framework for approving plant-based products like cannabis, which contains hundreds of cannabinoids and compounds. This process, they argue, is overly burdensome and unlikely to approve a significant number of cannabis products for medical use.

Instead, D4DPR proposes a separate regulatory system for cannabis, outside the CSA, to better address its medical and adult use. This model would not classify cannabis products as “drugs” under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, offering a potentially transformative approach to cannabis policy in the U.S.

Guiding Hemp Cannabinoid Regulation And Safety

In addition to its advocacy for descheduling cannabis, D4DPR has also recently issued recommendations on regulating intoxicating cannabinoids synthesized from hemp. These guidelines aim to address safety, labeling, and distribution practices, ensuring responsible oversight and consumer protection.

Read also: Biden Admits Marijuana Pardons Did Not Expunge Records: Not A Good Look For Dems As Trump Moves Up In Polls – Benzinga

The involvement of health professionals like those in D4DPR highlights the importance of informed medical and scientific perspectives in navigating the complexities of cannabis regulation, ensuring that policy decisions are grounded in public health principles and empirical evidence.

Photo: Courtesy of amedeoemaja on Shutterstock

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsFDAcannabis reschedulingControlled Substances Actdeschedule cannabisDoctors for Drug Policy ReformWhite House
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