Apart from marijuana legalization advocates, Friends of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (FNIDA) have also recognized that the federal authorities’ restrictions on marijuana are inhibiting cannabis research. FNIDA also raised the issue of federal limitations to Congress.
FNIDA submitted a proposal to a Senate committee on federal restrictions indicating that the status of marijuana and other drugs on the controlled substances list is inhibiting researchers from conducting studies on the drugs.
The group (FNIDA) also requested a federal agency, NIDA, to release a report containing all the research hurdles associated with the controlled substance status of cannabis.
In a new document published by the Senate, FNIDA describes itself as a coalition of more than 150 scientific and research communities, patient groups, and other organizations whose commitment is to prevent and treat drug use disorders.
The group aims to have the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, as well as the Department of Education and related agencies adopting their language in the financial report for the year 2019. The recommendations made by FNIDA were published earlier this month by the Government Publishing Office, although it is not certain when they submitted their statement.
FNIDA is concerned that the federal restrictions are hindering research on drugs classified as Schedule 1, such as cannabis or its compounds. Currently, we need every information regarding the drugs, and instead of heaping on the restrictions, the agency should be lowering them and other hurdles inhibiting scientists from conducting research. The Appropriations Committee directed NIDA to write a report on the barriers to research on drugs and components that are classified as controlled substances.
Some members of FNIDA, such as Kevin Sabet, publicly challenged the letter submitted to the Senate. Sabet argued that rescheduling of the drug is not a must to supporting research efforts. Kevin Sabet is the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana; he also serves on the group’s Board of Scientific Advisors.
In 2015, Sabet’s group said that drug rescheduling would not solve the challenge for the need for more research on the drug; instead, it would encourage the illicit operators to continue manufacturing poor quality products.
Sabet wrote in the Huffington Post that reclassifying marijuana would only serve as a victory to marijuana advocates as it would be distracting and meaningless.
In a law review article submitted in 2013, Sabet argued that for legitimate marijuana research to proceed, it is not a must for marijuana to be rescheduled because the Schedule 1 status of weed does not prevent it from being tested and studied for medical purposes. However, Sabet did not acknowledge the fact that the research programs can be delayed by restrictions laid out on Schedule 1 substances.
Bertha Madras commended the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) for rejecting the petition for rescheduling pot. She further said that it would be unethical to move marijuana to Schedule II of controlled substances.
In April, NIDA Director Nora Volkow said that it becomes difficult to research once drugs are classified as Schedule I, which is usually done to protect the public.
This news is likely to be welcomed by the marijuana industry, including Organigram Holdings Inc. (TSX: OGI) (NASDAQ: OGI) and Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTCQB: MCOA), since the growing consensus that marijuana’s current scheduling is a barrier to research will pile pressure on the federal authorities to revise this classification eventually.
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