Anyone with an opinion on cannabis who wants to speak their mind may have a perfect opportunity to do so. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced that it is seeking public comments on cannabis and cannabis-related policies. The request for feedback and comments comes as officials prepare to write an official statement for the World Health Organization (WHO), which is considering changing its recommendations on international cannabis laws.
Federal Government Seeking Public Comments About Marijuana
The FDA recently published its call for public comments on the U.S. government’s federal register.
According to the document, the FDA “is requesting interested persons to submit comments concerning abuse potential, actual abuse, medical usefulness, trafficking, and impact of scheduling changes on availability for medical use” of cannabis and a number of drugs.
The FDA plans to gather and review these comments in preparation for writing an official statement on cannabis and cannabis laws. From there, the agency will send its statement to the WHO.
“WHO will use this information to consider whether to recommend that certain international restrictions be placed on these drugs,” the FDA said.
Currently, international laws and agreements call for the prohibition of cannabis. Theoretically, this obligates countries to make marijuana illegal.
But in practice, that’s not always the case. For example, Uruguay has legalized marijuana despite belonging to international treaties calling for the criminalization of weed.
Additionally, Canada is part of the same treaties. But the country is nonetheless moving ahead with plans to legalize cannabis on Oct. 17.
Now, in light of all this, international groups are reconsidering whether or not marijuana should be illegal. As part of that, the WHO is seeking to study and gauge the effects and impacts that legalizing marijuana might have.
Before weighing in on the issue, the FDA wants to hear from the public. And that’s where the agency’s call for comments comes in. Members of the public have until Oct. 31 to submit comments and feedback.
How to Participate
If you want to take part in these efforts, you have a couple different options.
The quickest way is to submit an electronic statement. To do that, visit the U.S. government’s Regulations page. From there, you can simply type in your comments and provide all necessary information.
As an alternative, you can also mail in a hardcopy of your comments. To do that, check out the FDA’s announcement, which includes detailed instructions and the mailing address.
You should be aware that all electronic comments are made public. So are hardcopy comments sent through the mail.
If you want your comments to remain private, you will have to mail your comments to the FDA. On top of that, be sure to include two copies of your statement.
The first copy should clearly be labeled: “THIS DOCUMENT CONTAINS CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION.” Then, the second copy should have all sensitive information blacked out.
The FDA will still need to make your comments publicly available. But if you black out the sections you do not want to be made public, the agency said it will publish only the blacked-out, redacted version of your statement.
Either way, be sure you submit all statements no later than Oct. 31 if you want them to be included in the FDA’s comments to the WHO.
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Author: Nick Lindsey