NORML Delivers Over 10,000 Citizen Comments To The FDA Calling For The Reconsideration of Cannabis Prohibition

NORML today hand-delivered over 10,000 written comments from US citizens calling on federal and international agencies to amend the international prohibition of cannabis. The public comments, which were requested earlier this month by the US Food and Drug Administration, will be considered as part of the World Health Organization’s ongoing review of the plant’s international classification.

Under international treaties, the marijuana plant is classified in the most restrictive schedules available for controlled substances. NORML maintains that this scheduling does not accurately reflect the plant’s widespread therapeutic acceptance and relatively low abuse potential.


The United National’s international prohibition of cannabis is a relic from a bygone era. 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.

Members of NORML’s Board of Directors also submitted their own written testimony to the FDA, opining: “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 For this reason, NORML believes that cannabis [ultimately] should be withdrawn from the treaty framework entirely.”

As of 1pm EST on April 23rd, there are only 6,566 comments submitted through the federal site. With the comments by NORML members, we will have submitted 61% of all public comments should that number hold.

Background per

The United States is a party to the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances (Psychotropic Convention). Article 2 of the Psychotropic Convention provides that if a party to the convention or WHO has information about a substance, which in its opinion may require international control or change in such control, it shall so notify the Secretary-General of the United Nations (the U.N. Secretary-General) and provide the U.N. Secretary-General with information in support of its opinion.

Paragraph (d)(2)(A) of the CSA (21 U.S.C. 811) (Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970) provides that when WHO notifies the United States under Article 2 of the Psychotropic Convention that it has information that may justify adding a drug or other substances to one of the schedules of the Psychotropic Convention, transferring a drug or substance from one schedule to another, or deleting it from the schedules, the Secretary of State must transmit the notice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary of HHS). The Secretary of HHS must then publish the notice in the Federal Register and provide opportunity for interested persons to submit comments that will be considered by HHS in its preparation of the scientific and medical evaluations of the drug or substance.

45 thoughts

      1. Says right in the article that it was a political decision! Greed is the only reason it’s still illegal! The government is making way too much $ by withholding the BEST medicine and marketing their deadly drugs and by locking up and charging law abiding citizens. End the war on the American people!!!

      2. Thank you for sharing, Joshua. Your body, your rights. It is your situation, so you choose what is best for you, and you chose health and better quality of life… isn’t that just your Human Right?


  1. Thank you for “being the change you seek” as Gandhi said. Thank you for action taken!

  2. Legalize my medicine!!!! Don’t wanna become addicted to pain pills . I’ve lost too many people to addiction & it runs in my family . Please do the right thing here .

    1. As a cancer patient with a lifelong existence with PTSD ,I can appreciate several positive aspects of my cannabis use. With cancer treatment and cancer pain. the cannabis reduces the need for highly addictive pain medication and reduces the side effects of chemotherapy. It has also helped to reduce side effects of PTSD such as anxiety ,depression ,and stress. It is ridiculous to consider this for anymore the face value.

  3. Idiotic not to reform these laws.legelize it tax and regulate it, decriminalize it. It is a medicine and it’s natural. Plus a $$$$ maker for the state’s that legalize it. Legalize it Don t criticize it. Don t go by 1o37 laws or 1970 laws. This is 2018, get with the program. U have the research and a patient.

  4. I repeat once again. It is absolutely appalling that the United States of America is a signatory to an agreement that countries who execute people for cannabis use as a mere excuse saying that they are only enforcing international law when they take someone’s life. I don’t want my country to be a part of that. Get us the hell out of these international treaties.

    DO NOT WAIT for WHO or the UN or anyone to de-schedule it first! U.S. exceptionalism says we can do it. Just forget about WHO notifying the U.S. and all that shit. WTF are you doing, Congress? What a rigamarole! FDA recommends to WHO then WHO recommends to the HHS. Now that is some f***inn bullshit. The U.S. just does it and WHO makes the change. Look, if the WHO was ever really going to de-schedule they should have done it long already, like last freakin’ time.

    Bullshit red tape:

    Paragraph (d)(2)(A) of the CSA (21 U.S.C. 811) (Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970) provides that when WHO notifies the United States under Article 2 of the Psychotropic Convention that it has information that may justify adding a drug or other substances to one of the schedules of the Psychotropic Convention, transferring a drug or substance from one schedule to another, or deleting it from the schedules, the Secretary of State must transmit the notice to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary of HHS). The Secretary of HHS must then publish the notice in the Federal Register and provide opportunity for interested persons to submit comments that will be considered by HHS in its preparation of the scientific and medical evaluations of the drug or substance.

  5. Mmm-mm-m-mm-mm!

    Now that’s what I call marijuana policy reform activism!

    Go Justin!
    Go Carly!
    Go Joy!

    This is how we overturn failed international treaties!!!

    Everyone, get your NORML associate or significant other to record your political event! We don’t have to be Hollywood Directors to record historical moments! We just have to show up to important events with a cell phone cam and empty cell-memory!

    Thank you Justin and Carly for setting up a NORML sign up for the FDA to protest international treaties under the WHO. It’s about damn time.

    Record it fellow NORML members!

  6. FDA, get it right. Cannabis does not belong besides Heroin and Methamphetamine. This is a basically harmless substance. This is 2018. Please consider re-scheduling. People’s lives matter.

  7. I have Crohn’s disease. The use of marijuana and extracts from such plant have greatly reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the impact of them on my life. No other pharmaceutical drug has been able to give me such relief as marijuana has. I have been able to be a productive member of society again because of its use.

  8. I am glad to see the Progress that Cannabis has made. Glad to see Legalazation Reacretionaly in Mi is Close. The only Bad is the History and Pain that State and Federal laws have Done to good Hardworking Family’s. It will always be Tainted Tax Money for Me. Progress through Pain.

  9. Please stop putting people in cages because they use a harmless plant for their medicine.

  10. It seems that the anti-cannabis group, known as the GOP (Republicans), are starting to jump onto the legalization train. This is because they fear losing on this issue to the Democrats who, as a party, have embraced the idea of ending Federal Prohibition.

    My friends, don’t start trusting the GOP on this issue. They have never been our friend and for decades have been perfectly happy to lock us up in their prisons!

    Vote Democrat whenever possible for the foreseeable future and throw the GOP bums the hell out!

    Don’t be lazy – if you have the right to vote then use it. We cannot afford to be complacent since that is at least partly what caused our nation to end up with the Orange Trumpy Dumpty being our president.

  11. We are fed pills to take care of reactions from pills to take care of reactions from pills. All of the pills being approved by the FDA. Time and Time again we see people die from some of these pills that are approved by the FDA. We see children who look like zombies due to all the pills they are fed, due to their medical condition only to continue to have all the side effects of their medical condition, now along with the side effects of pills approved by the FDA. If any human being can watch only one video of this HERB being used to treat these kids condition and stop the effects of their condition within seconds maybe minutes and not see the use of this HERB, then all I can figure is they are bought out by the pharmaceutical companies.
    We take up land far and wide,that could be use to house the less fortunate, and rebuild our forest the earth so badly needs,to plant tree after tree to use for building materials and papers which takes heavy amount of chemicals to produce. While we could use twice as less land space if not way more to produce HEMP which uses less chemicals to produce paper products, building materials, also clothing, ropes, etc., Etc. Which leads me to believe more money is going into government pockets to keep it illegal.
    We allow alcohol and tobacco to be sold in store all the while we have years of data proving the harms it causes to the body. Yet, we for some reason think this all natural HERB that they can’t show us has killed anyone is as bad as heroin! Give me a break we all know who’s in the government pockets there!
    It is time to quit filling your greedy pockets and allowing these industries to continue to keep us from progress in all directions and make marijuana legal across the board! Your greed will become the end of your political careers, WE THE PEOPLE have had all your lies we can stand! Make the change happen or we will find the ones that will!

  12. Speaking of 10,000:

    NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano writes on Alternet that Texas arrested just under 65,000 Texans for marijiana possessions in 2016; thats only 10,000 less than previous years after Harris County (Houston) and Bexar County (San Antonio) started its cite and release program… and yet Texas STILL arrests more of its citizens for marijuana possession than any other state in the Union.

    Anyone who thinks these numbers aren’t tied to international drug law, the black market and industries that profit off prohibition is fooling themselves.

    The most important act of legalizing prohibited states without voter initiatives begins with excercising our 1st amendment rights at the state and local level: But Texas is inextricably economically tied to national and international drug policy. Canada trading marijuana with Colombia helps legalize marijuana in Texas. What we purchase… whether state legal or illegal marijuana across the nation… affects marijuana legalization in Texas. Our marijuana economies are a joint resolution.

    Changes in local urban drug policy will continue to lower arrests and put pressure on the state legislature. But with gerrymandered districts from Texas in the Supreme Court today, theyre unlikely to help compensate for supressed Democratic votes in time to elect a Democratic Governor this year… in time to redraw districts before 2020 elections.

    The positive way of looking at these numbers? Thats 10,000 more Texans who are likely to vote for a Democratic marijuana reforming candidate. And while Dallas could improve its cite and release to avoid arrest records, the most prohibitionist Congressman alive is Pete Sessions in Dallas County… and we only need 1,200 more Democrats to show up and vote him out… or 1,200 Republicans to not vote for him. And those are some good numbers…

  13. I’ve been hoping for this for almost my whole life. Sure hope it materializes soon. I’m getting old!

  14. Take it off the schedule one and decriminalize it. That’s all will take! Good job everyone! soon… this will all fall into motion!

  15. I hope they take Pot off their list, as it doesn’t belong on it. I am sure the right thing will eventually happen.

    Legalize, and then get on with other things.

  16. Marijuana is non-toxic, it has never been solely attributed to a single death in the history of man kind. It was made illegal to protect the profits of certain industries that were threatened by hemp and marijuanas uses, it is a renewable resource with endless uses, rope, paper, fuel, Medicine, cosmetics, entertainment, ect. What is really mind blowing is how the federal government has gotten away with keeping marijuana illegal in the face of proof it absolutely shouldn’t be. How many good American citizens who were contributing to society had their lives ruined and were locked up at the annual average cost of $50,000.00 to the American tax payer, paid to private foreign corporations that own most of America’s prisons. So foreign corporations get rich off of us locking up our own neighbors over a substance that is non toxic and a mirical medication for many.

  17. If our government continues with there bullshit laws there will be civil war,our government is to be for the people not against the people ,we should have the right as americans to choose a safer alternitive to pain meds .has never killed anyone.cannabis should be legalized its time to stop the political bulshit

    1. Russell Davis,
      If more concerned cit9izens simply got out and voted like they meant it, that would do the job and save bloodshed!

  18. We ask the federal government to quit locking up good people that are responsible enough to choose a far safer alternative to alcohol.

    The American People

  19. If im free why cant i use pot to reliviate my ptsd syptoms if i fought for freedom!!!! God made seed before he made man. This argument is so kindergarten legalization now!!!


    Most of the “citizen petitions” the FDA receives are not from marijuana activists like us, but rather from some of the worst, prohibitionist, murderous pharmaceutical companies in existence (in this case Insys Therapeutics) profiting off of synthetic THC while blatantly investing in the prohibition of superior, whole plant marijuana.
    Thanks to investigative reporting by Tom Angell in the above link, we have a better understanding of how synthetic pharmaceutical patent owners use petitions to delay the manufacture and patenting of generic versions of their drugs, in order to make billions of dollars in the few months of delay… in this case for Insys Therapeutics version of dronabinol.
    Insys Therapeutics is the infamous company out of Arizona that donated half a million dollars to stop legalization there, primarily by running scare ads and propaganda to the large retirement community.
    What the article doesn’t mention is how Insys went to court in three states for paying kickbacks to doctors to overprescribe fentanyl. Insys Therapeutics is a murderous organization and yet the FDA is letting them sell more fentanyl and synthetic THC while the real medicine from the synergy of whole plant marijuana just barely gets a citizen petition to question its medical efficacy. Sure, there are different reasons why the FDA process is slow, to ensure quality or to delay competition. Meanwhile, every minute, Insys is killing another American for FDA approved profit.
    We need to elect a Congress that will reform the synthetic FDA patenting of life as we know it, and leave whole plant treatments like marijuana open source for future generations.

  21. Anyone who tries marinol or synthetic THC and tries whole plant cannabis finds out right away that whole plant marijuana is far better, safer, more affordable and effective.

    When I went to my local Democratic debates this past Sunday there was a woman who asked about providing better health care for people with dimentia, and if there was any treatments out there.
    It was getting late and I still had signs to put up but I stayed after. She asked if I thought CBD oils on the market would help. I told her that studies from the Salk Institute show that its the THC in whole plant marijuana that attacks the two proteins that cause dimentia and alzheimers. So she asked was there anything legal in Texas she could try? Honestly, my mind never even wandered to synthetic THC because I don’t consider it medicine. “While Texas NORML is working hard to expand Texas law into a functional medical marijuana program that includes a list of other ailments including dimentia as early as January of next year, your best bet is to get access to a strain of marijuana that has comparible doses of CBD and THC as the various cannabinoids work in synergy with eachother… if your mother needs THC and doesn’t want to get high than she might prefer a strain with more CBD but she still needs some THC.”

    The better answer would have been, “Here, let me hook you up; get your mother high.”

    But there was a reporter in the room. I’m with my wife and kids, and its just not legal in Texas. All I could do for the desperate woman was whisper “non violent civil disobedience” then go put up Beto signs.

  22. This government is the most corrupt in the entire history of the United States, don’t expect anything…. and I mean anything good to come for “we the people” for the next 2 years and 8 months.

    This prohibition is riddled with hypocrisy and racism no doubt.
    The cost of human suffering from this is Uncalculatable. However no one who has the political authority and clout will do anything to rectify this problem. Eric Holder had the power and did nothing, only after he was out of office does he acknowledge this problem, ex house speaker John Boehner was the mouthpiece for the anti-marijuana morons for YEARS, now that he’s out of office he is lobbying for marijuana reform? WTF. Obviously Those anti marijuana paychecks dried up and he’s looking to supplement his income. And if you’re not up on current affairs….chumps –“trumps” entire cabinet picks are made up of …. you guessed it , White, wealthy former heads of Gigantic cooperations

    The system is rigged for the white, wealthy men and corporations, whom have deep roots with tobacco and alcohol lobbyists, who in turn purchase the politicians votes. The point I’m trying to make is don’t vote, it doesn’t matter which soulless puppet holds the position, someone will get to them, line there pockets and create the next generation of yes men and Women.

    Be defiant, consume cannabis in all its forms, enjoy you family and friends, see it as sticking your middle finger up to all of the people whom advocate keeping this prohibition. I’m American, I’m free, I will be dammed if some one tells me how to live my life, fuck these store bought laws.

    1. Apparent Outsider,
      You give bad advice when you say “don’t vote.”

      I say, if you support marijuana legalization, vote Democratic! Do not vote Republican. They are in power now, and they are ramping up more arrests, more forfeiture, more drug war.

      If you oppose fascist white supremacism, vote Democratic!

      1. Good call, Dain. “Not voting” may matter greatly for a Republican that doesn’t want to vote Democratic in Dallas County to get rid of Pete Sessions, the most prohibitionist Congressman in the history of the Universe…
        …But for a Democrat in Texas “not voting” may matter greatly in that if about 500,000 more Demoracts out of the 25 million Texans that didn’t vote during Texas primaries would just get their @$$ out and VOTE Texas would be Democratic instead of Republican already, and already state legalize fairly taxed marijuana.
        Texas Democrats are for small farmers.
        Texas Republicans want to fu€k small farmers in their ears of corn and leave them out to dry to Big Agriculture. The lies are going dry like west Texas. Wake up Texas!!! Vote Democratic and let’s legalize Hemp and Marijuana!!!

    2. And once again the double standards: . . . Holder had the power . . . etc etc

      What about Jeff Sessions? Doesn’t he have the power? Why is he given a pass in your comments?

  23. I really love y’alls Magazine back in the day and am so happy y’all are fighting for the legalization of marijuana. I want to become a member but I’ll have to wait until next month. I’ll only be able to donate $5 a month I wish it could be more but I’m disabled and I barley make enough to pay all my bills but for a cause like this I’ll figure out a way to come up with the minimum donation to become a member and fight for the legalization of marijuana but for now y’all keep up the good work

    1. Give where you can Billy; Use this website to navigate to your local NORML Chapter and find out how you can testify at your local Health Committee at your state Capitol.

  24. Marijuana should not be a schedule 1 controlled substance. Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and is not physically addictive.

    I have always heard that marijuana is a gateway drug, and I have to agree. But alcohol is also a gateway drug. Keeping marijuana illegal and in the underground market is more harmful than if it was legal and regulated.

    The illegal nature of marijuana does not stop people from acquiring it. It does however force them to find drug dealers. These dealers often have access to other more harmful drugs, so I would argue that the illegality is the only gateway part of marijuana.

    Society can benefit by legalizing marijuana. We can collect more tax revenue and make it harder to find drug dealers

  25. I had a spinal cord injury that caused wide spread muscle twitches called muscle Fasciculations. I had 2 major surgeries and ended up with lots of metal installed on my spine.
    Medical cannabis has been the only medication I’ve tried (and I’ve tried many) that quiet the muscle twitching and overactive nerves I have (hyperreflexia and spasticity)
    It also helps make my chronic pain manageable so I do not need pharmaceutical pain meds like Oxy.
    We all know why they won’t re schedule. They don’t want a healthy society. It’s not good for long term financial growth.
    Please wake up your friends and neighbors. It’s time we put People before profit and that means we must rise above the corporate corruption embedded into the regulatory agencies. We deserve a choice.

  26. Cannabis is medicine. And not the addictive crap that’s being pushed and supported by the drug companies. Who are major donars to many politicians I’m sure.

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