The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has again announced that it is receiving public comments about the possible reclassification of cannabis in international treaties.
The agency revealed in a federal register notice that it was opening a 30-day comments period on a matter about which it had received comments back in March but the comments period was shorter since the UN was due to meet shortly after to discuss the World Health Organization’s recommendation that marijuana and THC should be reclassified and that CBD shouldn’t be subjected to any international restrictions since it wasn’t addictive and didn’t carry any potential for abuse.
The expected discussion of the WHO’s recommendations didn’t take place in March as had been expected and the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs agreed to postpone the inclusion of this matter on its agenda.
The FDA had earlier indicated that if the UN Narcotics Commission postponed consideration of the matter, then the federal agency would reopen the comments window. The notice published this week is a result of that promise and it allows the members of the public to share their views using electronic means or through mail.
Technically speaking, the reclassification of marijuana under the existing international treaties may not necessarily give UN member countries the liberty to legalize the drug since the rescheduling proposed by the World Health Organization (WHO) would still retain some degree of control on the drug.
However, any rescheduling would indicate that the UN, one of the most influential intergovernmental entities in the world, was recognizing that a lot more is now known about marijuana to warrant the organization to revisit its classification of this often controversial plant and its compounds.
The existing restrictions notwithstanding, countries are beginning to make their own decision to legalize recreational marijuana. Uruguay set the pace and Canada followed suit in 2018. By the end of this year, Mexico will have also legalized recreational marijuana in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling which declared that it was unconstitutional to bar adults from consuming recreational marijuana.
As for medical marijuana, one can almost fail to count all the countries that have either legalized it or are in the process of doing so. Medical marijuana has even gained acceptance in Asia (Thailand, for example) and yet this part of the world was notorious for its zero-tolerance for the drug.
Back home, the federal government through its different entities like the DEA, Congress and the National Institutes for Health (NIH) seems to be realizing that the marijuana tide cannot be stemmed for much longer and they are taking steps to ease cannabis research or even explore the best ways through which to reform the prohibitionist laws currently in force.
For now, industry watchers believe entities like Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA) and MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) feel optimistic that the U.S. response to the proposed UN reclassification of marijuana will be favorable in light of all the positive public input that the FDA continues to receive each time it asks for such feedback.
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