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Report: 97% of public comments support cannabis rescheduling

More than 7,000 comments were received in the first week - and the public comment period remains open until July 22.

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If the public comments are any indication, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposal to reschedule cannabis is well on its way to approval.

The government agency has only been accepting submissions for two weeks – with nearly seven weeks yet to go – but the agency has received more than 11,000 submissions so far. More than 7,000 comments were received in the first week.

How does it break down?

Recent analysis from cannabis data firm Headset found that 97% of the comments submitted through May 29 were in favor of the proposed regulation. The peak of support occurred on May 23, with 2,657 comments expressing approval, while opposition remained minimal throughout the period.

Review of the comments after the period analyzed by Headset showed that the overwhelming support continues.

The DEA’s notice of proposed rulemaking cites the Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendation, stating that cannabis has a lower potential for abuse compared to Schedule I and II substances, accepted medical use, and limited physical or psychological dependence. The notice also acknowledges a 2023 HHS recommendation recognizing the accepted medical use of cannabis for treating conditions such as anorexia, nausea, vomiting, and pain.

What they’re saying

The comments submitted to the Federal Register reflect a wide range of perspectives on the rescheduling proposal. The first official comment posted was from a USMC veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain. He wrote of gratitude for the “leadership” of government officials, saying, “This first step of rescheduling cannabis is going to (benefit) the lives millions of people in the US.”

“The cannabis plant saved my life,” the commenter, who submitted anonymously, wrote. “I am now pain free, full mobility and in a strong positive mental state, since being in Nevada State Medical Program since 2017. With Blessing of Love and Respect to all those serving the USA. God Bless America.”

Another comment pointed to the potential benefits for individuals with disabilities, such as autism: “Current regulations before this have hindered access to potentially beneficial treatments.” The commenter, who identified as an autistic adult, shared their personal experience using CBD oil to manage symptoms like anxiety, behavioral issues, and sleep problems.

For those who oppose the change, commenters cited concerns about public health harms, the lack of research supporting the use of high-THC products for medical purposes, and the potential risks to young people. One comment also questioned whether botanical cannabis would meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use and raised concerns about safety, citing associations with psychosis and other mental health issues.

Commenters who believe rescheduling does not go far enough also had a strong presence among the submissions. “Rescheduling cannabis is a step in the right direction, but frankly it should be descheduled entirely,” wrote one individual. That sentiment was echoed throughout the comments.

“Do my thoughts change anything? Nope,” they wrote. “Will anyone care I shared this opinion? Probably not, but deschedule and legalize the damn plant.”

The overwhelming public support for rescheduling cannabis is also reflected in other arenas. For example, a January 2024 Pew Research study found that 88% of U.S. adults support the legalization of marijuana for either medical or recreational use.

The public comment period will remain open until July 22, after which the DEA will review all information that was provided on the record. In addition, the agency may grant an administrative hearing to hear more evidence about the proposal.



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