Congress Tells the DEA That UN Drug Treaties are a Joke, Don’t Let Them Stop You from Rescheduling Marijuana

March 4, 2024 · Cannabis.net

With Germany legalizing recreational cannabis this past week, it appears UN Drug treaties around cannabis cultivation and processing are out the window.  While Cannabis.net has been beating the drum over the past year in multiple articles that the US using the excuse of not rescheduling marijuana because of “violations of international drug treaties” is a complete farce. The UN actually changed its own scheduling of cannabis resin 4-years ago, while the US has yet to update their scheduling of the plant.  Ironcially, the US has started to import cannabis from Jamaica with DEA approval for medical testings as well.

It appears the US Congress is picking up the baton from Cannabis.net and telling the DEA not to worry about international drug treaties as it reschedules cannabis in the current months or weeks.

Sydney Kamlager-Dove, a Democrat in Congress, is pushing for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reevaluate its position regarding the rescheduling of marijuana. She disputes claims that postponing would violate the agency’s commitments under international treaties and asks the Department of health and human services (HHS) to give its proposals first priority. Furthermore, Kamlager-Dove stresses the need of openness and demands that the DEA reveal any outside factors influencing its decision-making process.

While some, like Rep. Andy Harris, express concerns about potential treaty violations, legal experts and lawmakers argue in favor of rescheduling. They point to revisions in global cannabis policies and examples from countries like Canada and Uruguay to support their stance. Advocates for rescheduling contend that moving marijuana to Schedule III aligns with treaty objectives of safeguarding public health and safety.

Debate Surrounding Treaty Obligations and Rescheduling

The debate over marijuana rescheduling is intensifying as questions arise regarding its potential conflict with international treaty obligations. While some, like Rep. Andy Harris, voice concerns over treaty violations, others, including legal experts and lawmakers, argue for rescheduling, citing evolving global cannabis policies and examples from countries like Canada and Uruguay. Advocates assert that moving marijuana to Schedule III could align with treaty goals of promoting public health and safety.

Support for rescheduling comes from various quarters, emphasizing its potential benefits and alignment with changing global norms. Rescheduling, according to supporters, may result in a more comprehensive drug policy that addresses the unequal effects of prohibition and places a higher priority on harm reduction and scientific research. In the meanwhile, appeals for responsibility in determining drug policy—especially when it comes to a substance with major medical and societal ramifications—highlight more general concerns for openness in the decision-making process.

As stakeholders navigate the complexities of international agreements and domestic law, the DEA’s decision on rescheduling carries substantial weight. It not only shapes federal policy but also signals the United States’ stance on drug regulation globally. With diverse interests and perspectives in play, the debate highlights the need for a nuanced approach that considers public health, scientific evidence, and international obligations.

Support for Rescheduling

Support for the rescheduling of marijuana is widespread among advocates, who underscore its potential benefits and alignment with changing global attitudes. Advocates argue that rescheduling could usher in a more holistic approach to drug policy, prioritizing harm reduction and scientific inquiry. By acknowledging the medicinal properties of marijuana and easing restrictions, proponents believe it would enhance access for patients and researchers alike. Moreover, they contend that such a move would address the inequities perpetuated by prohibition, particularly impacting marginalized communities disproportionately.

Proponents emphasize how important it is to recognize marijuana’s medical benefits and modify laws accordingly. They contend that rescheduling would promote a more compassionate and fact-based approach to cannabis legislation in addition to reflecting societal advancements in cannabis understanding. Rescheduling, according to supporters, may create new avenues for medical innovation and patient care by removing barriers to research and treatment, ultimately leading to better public health outcomes.

Rescheduling is being pushed mostly because of larger social justice issues related to drug laws. A lot of supporters draw attention to how low-income people and communities of color are disproportionately affected by marijuana prohibition. They contend that by easing the severe penalties associated with criminalization and creating avenues for both community reinvestment and economic development, rescheduling is a step in redressing these past injustices.

Stakeholders are advocating for a balanced and inclusive strategy that stresses equality, scientific evidence, and public health as support for rescheduling builds. They stress how important it is to have open, cooperative decision-making procedures that take into account the many interests and points of view involved. In the end, the push for rescheduling marijuana is a reflection of a larger trend toward more reasonable and progressive drug laws that put harm reduction, social justice, and human rights first.

Social Justice Implications

There are significant social justice implications to the marijuana rescheduling issue in addition to health and scientific ones. The disproportionate effects of marijuana prohibition on marginalized communities—people of color and those from low-income backgrounds, in particular—are highlighted by critics of the existing drug policy. Current laws have led to racial inequities in arrest and imprisonment rates by criminalizing marijuana use and distribution, which has prolonged cycles of poverty and disenfranchisement.

Marijuana rescheduling offers an opportunity to alleviate these injustices by reducing the punitive impacts of prohibition while also giving opportunities for economic empowerment and community development. Advocates claim that such reforms are critical for redressing historical injustices and creating a more just society. Furthermore, rescheduling may allow for the erasure of prior marijuana-related convictions, giving people an opportunity to rebuild their lives and reintegrate into society without the weight of a criminal record.

In addition, proponents assert that rescheduling marijuana might open doors for economic growth and entrepreneurship, especially in areas where the war on drugs has disproportionately impacted the population. Legislators may promote a flourishing and diverse cannabis sector that serves the interests of all societal members by regulating marijuana in a way that puts social equity first. Therefore, the push to reschedule marijuana is about more than just altering drug laws; it’s also about promoting social justice and building a more just future for everybody.

Bottom Line

The discourse surrounding marijuana rescheduling intertwines intricate facets, from treaty obligations to social justice concerns. While apprehensions exist regarding treaty adherence, proponents advocate for rescheduling, citing evolving global cannabis policies and the necessity for a compassionate approach to drug regulation. The drive for rescheduling stems from its potential benefits, such as improved medical access and redressing the disproportionate impact of prohibition on marginalized groups. Navigating these complexities demands transparency and inclusivity in decision-making processes. The forthcoming DEA verdict on rescheduling holds immense significance, shaping not only domestic policy but also the nation’s stance on drug regulation worldwide. Amid diverse interests, the discourse underscores the need for a balanced approach, considering public health, scientific evidence, and social equity. Ultimately, the advocacy for marijuana rescheduling reflects broader societal shifts toward progressive drug policies prioritizing harm reduction, social justice, and human rights. (Full Story)

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