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  Marijuana Rescheduling Fund Solicits Contributions
Posted by FoM on July 18, 1999 at 20:42:56 PT
Jon Gettman 
Source: NORML 

NORML Washington, D.C. - July 18, 1999) For its first five years the marijuana rescheduling project has not solicited public contributions; all research and education work in support of the marijuana rescheduling petition has been the result of my own volunteer work.

While this has been adequate to successfully launch this rescheduling effort greater financial resources will be required to bring this effort to a successful and constructive conclusion. For this reason I am pleased to announce that with the cooperation and support of the NORML Foundation The Marijuana Rescheduling Fund has been organized to provide support for this rescheduling project. Details on how individuals may contribute to the Rescheduling Fund are contained below.

The purpose of the Marijuana Rescheduling Fund is to provide financial support for this marijuana rescheduling petition. This appeal is for financial contributions to support my work on maintaining and expanding the scientific foundation and integrity of our case. The Fund is administered by the NORML Foundation, and all contributions to the fund will be used to provide direct support for educational work on behalf of the rescheduling petition. The NORML Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization and all contributions to the Marijuana Rescheduling Fund are tax deductible.

Your support will produce even more immediate results - credible and useful reports on the costs and consequences of marijuana prohibition. For example, my present research agenda includes county-level analysis of marijuana and drug arrests, analysis of drug arrest data according to race and sex, and a survey of medical marijuana users on the impacts of existing marijuana laws. All of this information is vital to the existing debate over the marijuana laws, and it is also of great legal relevance to resolution of the rescheduling petition.

Please make a generous tax-deductible contribution today to the NORML Foundation - Rescheduling Fund at the above address. All contributors will receive the Fund's semi-annual financial report and other updates on the petition and the fund's contribution to its resolution. The presentation below will explain more about the rescheduling process and the objectives of this rescheduling fund. This presentation is also available in pamphlet form on request. Any redistribution of this electronic announcement or of the hard copy pamphlet is both welcome and encouraged. Requests for master copies of the pamphlet should be sent to the email address above.

Jon Gettman
Petition Study Director


Marijuana Rescheduling:

Reform Under The Existing Laws of the United States

“Let me emphasize, there is nothing wrong with advocating for change in public policy. From civil rights to universal suffrage, much of what makes our nation great has been the result of courageous reform efforts. Our nation benefits from the airing of dissent. However, we all have a responsibility to be honest in debate about our motives. We all have an obligation to be open with the American people about the risks inherent in what we advocate. To date, advocates of legalization have not been so forthcoming.”
Barry McCaffrey, Director, Office of National Drug Control Policy

Marijuana Rescheduling and Drug Legalization

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) was passed by Congress in 1970 in order to provide for effective regulation of the manufacture and distribution of drugs with dangerous dependence liabilities. The CSA effectively legalized all of the drugs under its jurisdiction and subjected each listed substance to strict regulations according to each of five schedules. The most restrictive of these is Schedule 1 in which manufacture and distribution of listed substances is allowed for research purposes only.

Opponents of marijuana law reform frequently argue that hemp and medical marijuana issues are being used to manipulate the public to support legalization of all drugs. They welcome labeling any reform proposition as the first step toward "drug legalization" as an excuse to avoid talking about specific drugs and the costs and benefits of specific policies. And yet this is what the rescheduling process requires.

Whether or not the nation requires new drug laws is an important issue for public debate. But growing interest in this debate over new laws is no excuse for failing to regulate marijuana fairly according to our existing laws. The goal of rescheduling is the traditional objective of American reform efforts: justice under the law.

About the Marijuana Rescheduling Petition

I began research on the Marijuana Rescheduling Petition in 1994 and wrote the Department of Justice a letter requesting that they reschedule marijuana. They refused, but in an exchange of letters with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) the government acknowledged the significance of my legal argument and invited me to file an administrative petition.

“I filed a 70,000 word review of scientific literature in July, 1995 as a petition to end marijuana prohibition. After a lengthy review the DEA approved the petition in December 1997, recognized that it provided “sufficient grounds” for the end of marijuana prohibition, and referred the petition to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a thorough scientific and medical evaluation.

“When the HHS review is complete DEA will have to subject its proposal for marijuana’s regulation to public comment and requests for a hearing. The purpose of the Rescheduling Fund is to support research and activities that will strengthen the legal and scientific case for marijuana reform. In this way new proposals for marijuana’s scheduling can be held to the highest standards of scientific and public accountability in the rulemaking proceedings that follow completion of the HHS review.”

Jon Gettman, Petition Study Director

The Rescheduling Petition is on-line at:

http://www.norml.org/legal/petition.shtml

The Case for Rescheduling Marijuana

Federal Law: For marijuana to remain a prohibited Schedule 1 substance the federal government must prove that it has a “high potential for abuse”. In simple terms the government must prove that marijuana has a dependence liability similar to cocaine or heroin.

Recent Scientific Discoveries: Before 1988 no scientist knew how marijuana produced its characteristic effects. From 1988 to 1994 a scientific revolution occurred in understanding about the effects of marijuana and cannabinoid drugs. It was discovered that the main ingredients in marijuana activate a natural receptor system in brain, and did not produce their effects from toxic reactions to brain cells, as feared by some scientists. These discoveries have allowed scientists to clarify how marijuana acts on the human body, to explain how it produces effects of therapeutic value to many individuals, and to distinguish the abuse potential of marijuana from other drugs.

The Rescheduling Process: Federal legislation requires a cost/benefit analysis of drug scheduling. This analysis must reconcile the effects of the drug on individual and public health with the economic and social costs of enforcement. In order to retain marijuana’s classification as a prohibited Schedule 1 substance the federal government must not only establish that marijuana has a high potential of abuse, but also that its prohibition has lower social costs than would other marijuana regulations.

Potential Outcomes of the Process: Unless the US Government intends to argue that marijuana is as addictive as cocaine, there are three possible successful outcomes to these proceedings. 1) The regulation of marijuana as a prescription drug similar to Tylenol with Codeine or to Valium. 2) The regulation of marijuana as an over-the-counter controlled substance not requiring a prescription for purchase. 3) The removal of marijuana from regulation under the Controlled Substances Act and its regulation similar to that of alcohol and/or tobacco.

Rescheduling and Further Reform: Definitive proceedings on marijuana will clarify its scientific record and calm hysteria about its effects. The cost/benefit analysis utilized in these proceedings will provide a useful model for evaluating other federal drug policies. Rescheduling marijuana should be the beginning, not the end, of further drug policy reforms.

Endorsements for Rescheduling: Over the last several years the Rescheduling Process has been endorsed by the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse, and the House of Representatives of the US Congress as the appropriate procedure for reviewing the federal legal status of marijuana. It is doubtful that these institutions currently favor marijuana reform, however rescheduling proceedings may be the most effective way to persuade them otherwise.

The Objectives of the Rescheduling Fund

· To continue a successful five-year project that has compelled the United States to prepare for marijuana rescheduling proceedings.

· To support cost/benefit analysis of existing and proposed marijuana laws and policies.

· To compile and distribute reviews of marijuana research findings.

· To expedite nationwide availability of medical marijuana under existing federal laws and regulatory procedures.

How to Contribute to the Rescheduling Fund

The Rescheduling Fund is administered by the NORML Foundation as part of its educational activities. Tax deductible contributions to the Fund should be made by check payable to “NORML Foundation - Rescheduling Fund” and mailed to:

The Rescheduling Fund
P.O. Box 20227
Washington, D.C. 20041

Information on the NORML Foundation is at:

http://www.norml.org/about/foundation.shtml

For more information phone: (202) 483-8751

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