New legislation would reschedule marijuana, redefine CBD

A new bill introduced in the House by Republican Rep. Griffith H. Morgan of Virginia would reschedule cannabis under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, the harshest classification reserved for substances with serious potential for abuse, which also includes heroin, cocaine and MDMA.

In addition to rescheduling cannabis, the bill also proposes to exclude cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana. Specifically, CBD would be defined as cannabis not containing more than 0.3% THC based on dry weight.

Cannabidiol is a cannabis compound with significant therapeutic effects and does not create the psychoactive or mood-altering effects of THC that are more traditionally associated with marijuana. According to Project CBD, “scientific and clinical research—much of it sponsored by the US government—underscores CBD’s potential as a treatment for a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, alcoholism, MS, chronic pain, schizophrenia, PTSD, depression, antibiotic-resistant infections, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders.”

While H.R. 715 would not end the federal prohibition on cannabis entirely, it would likely make it easier for banks and financial institutions to work with state-compliant cannabis-related businesses. Eight states have already made both recreational and medical marijuana use legal. Twenty-three states permit some form of medical cannabis, and another 14 states have decriminalized it to varying degrees.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has launched a letter-writing campaign in support of the bill. Supporters can add their name to NORML’s letter or write their own. Click here to add your name.

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