Success: Agency Asks to Declassify Marijuana


Target: DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart

Goal: Thank the DEA for its progressive stance in asking the FDA remove marijuana from the Substance I list of drugs and encourage it to further declassify marijuana

A previous ForceChange petition called for the decriminalization of marijnana. U.S. officials are slowly coming around to recognize that Americans do not want marijuana to be classified as one of the most dangerous drugs, on the same level as heroin. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has received reduced funding for arresting and investigating marijuana-related offenses. Now the DEA is calling for the FDA to declassify marijuana from a Substance I drug to a Substance II drug. This is a bold move on the DEA’s part that reflects Americans’ wide desire to end arbitrary criminalization of medically beneficial marijuana.

The DEA had previously petitioned the FDA to lower the harsh penalties for marijuana but had failed in 2001 and 2006. Cannabinoid research is very widespread internationally, with virtually zero negative effects of ingesting marijuana for medicinal purposes. However, because it is a Schedule I drug in the United States, marijuana research is severely lacking within the states; the FDA claims that there is little medicinal marijuana research, obviously because it is not legal. According to the Huffington Post, even the FDA has admitted that medical marijuana is of interest for helping treat or relieve the pain of AIDs, cancers, glaucoma, and other conditions. The DEA’s request to reclassify marijuana is the first step in helping to reduce the negative stigma around the drug and encouraging medical research involving it. The DEA is starting to reflect the majority of Americans’ thoughts about legalizing or declassifying marijuana as a hardcore drug.

Thank the DEA for its increasingly moderate stance on marijuana and encourage it to move further in declassifying cannabinoids from hardcore drug status.


Dear Michele M. Leonhart,

I recently heard of news about the DEA and its involvement with marijuana and marijuana convictions. I read that the DEA received reduced funding for marijuana-related raids and arrests. The new DEA proposal to declassify marijuana from its longstanding Schedule I drug classification is a monumental and necessary step in reducing marijuana-related crime and ending the unjust treatment of marijuana offenses.

Most Americans agree that marijuana should be decriminalized or legalized, which is a very different stance than that of the federal government. However, your department’s recent move to reclassify marijuana as a different schedule is a step in the right direction to reflecting the American people’s views about marijuana and cannabinoids. Internationally acclaimed research centers, such as many in Israel, have shown that cannabinoids have many therapeutic and medically beneficial purposes that can be employed virtually universally to treat pain and other issues. However, none of this research can be possible without legalizing or declassifying marijuana.

Thank you for your progressive move in asking the FDA to declassify marijuana down from a Schedule I drug, and I encourage you to move further in decriminalizing cannabinoids.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: National Counter Proliferation Center via Wikimedia Commons

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