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Former DEA Leaders and GOP AGs Demand Public Hearing on Cannabis Rescheduling

Former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) leaders and Republican state attorney generals have called for a public hearing on plans to reschedule cannabis in the US.

Just a day before the deadline for public comments to be submitted passed last Thursday, 18 state attorney generals and nine former DEA administrators penned a letter to the agency calling on them to host administrative hearings on the landmark legislation.

The dual letters both argue that the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) plans to move cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III substance would represent that ‘most significant relaxation of narcotics restrictions’ in the history of the Controlled Substances Act.

As such, a public hearing on the proposals was ‘in the public interest’, and therefore in the interest of US states.

“As DEA made clear in the Proposed Rule, additional data and rigorous scientific analysis is needed to determine whether marijuana is appropriately placed into Schedule III,” the former DEA officials said.

“Sifting through the competing claims about marijuana’s pharmacological effects, potential for abuse, and implications for public safety, are best done at a hearing.”

Should public hearings be called, it is expected that the timeline for pushing rescheduling through could be delayed until after the presidential election in November.

Since opening the doors to public comments on rescheduling in May, some 22,000 comments have been submitted.

While the policy’s critics, such as the campaign group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM) have argued that the 60-day window is insufficient and should be extended by another 30 days to gather comprehensive feedback, others have come out in support of the proposed changes.

Truck drivers have called on the DEA to support rescheduling despite concerns from their employers about safety risks. While few of the over 20,000 comments on the DEA’s rule-making process come from truck drivers, those that do are overwhelmingly in favor of the change, Benzinga reported.

Drivers argue that cannabis should be treated similarly to alcohol, citing its lower risk in accidents. The American Trucking Associations, however, raise safety concerns and suggest that reclassification would still require strict regulations to prevent impaired driving.

 

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