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STOP THE DRUG WAR!
I need your help this week. On Tuesday the “UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem” (UNGASS) begins in New York, the UN’s highest-level drug policy session in 18 years. I’m writing to ask you three things:
1) Sign our Change.org petition to President Obama calling for stronger US action on global drug policy reform — calling for reform of the UN drug treaties to allow for legalization of marijuana or other drugs, for the supremacy of human rights, stronger support for public health measures and more. This petition will continue through next January, but if enough people sign it by Sunday night, we will share it with our contacts in media who are working on stories about next week’s UNGASS.
2) If you run or work with an organization, please consider endorsing our sign-on statement to the UN and the US government. There are hundreds of organizations on the statement already, including some of the leading civil rights, HIV/AIDS groups and religious coalitions, among many others. But we need hundreds more to make the kind of impression on media that we want the statement to have. To endorse the statement, just email me at [email protected], and feel free to contact me with any questions.
3) If you believe it’s important for the US drug policy reform movement to play a role in UN drug policy and US foreign policy on drug issues, please make a generous donation to support this campaign. The UNGASS is next week, but global drug policy and our work goes on. The next big UN drug session is just three years away this time, 2019 — the work we’ve done so far is just the beginning.
We’ve done more than organize sign-on letters and petitions. Last week we held a teleconference for media, featuring legislators from Canada and Mexico talking about the prospects for marijuana legalization in those two countries. Next week we are hosting a meeting of NGOs from around the world for how to end the death penalty for drug offenses. We have secured coverage in a range of prominent media outlets, like WashingtonPost.com and the International Business Times, and there are many more that are likely to write stories for UNGASS next week. We have spoken at the UN, for legislative coalitions in Washington, we have brought new and important organizations into drug policy reform. And there is more to come, with your help.
Again, I hope you will sign our petition to President Obama, and that you will help us with an organizational endorsement for our sign-on statement if you can, by Sunday night. Thank you for your support!
David Borden, Executive Director
P.O. Box 9853
Washington, DC 20016
“U.S. and U.N. Drug Policy Reform”
By David Sherfinski – The Washington Times – Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Former New Mexico Gov. and 2016 Libertarian White House hopeful Gary Johnson says he thinks President Obama is going to remove marijuana from the government’s “Schedule I” list of narcotics considered particularly harmful and addictive on his way out of office.
“It’s going to be just like alcohol,” Mr. Johnson told The Washington Times Tuesday. “I’m going to predict that Obama, when he leaves office, is going to deschedule marijuana as a Class I narcotic. I wish he would have done that to this point, but I think he’s going to do that going out the door. That’s a positive.”
Marijuana is currently on the Schedule I list alongside drugs like LSD and heroin. The Drug Enforcement Agency defines Class I drugs as having a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton, among others, has suggested reclassifying the drug under Schedule or Class II. Those drugs include cocaine, but also certain painkillers like oxycodone that are available with a medical prescription.
Mr. Johnson’s campaign followed up by saying that the former governor would prefer that the president remove marijuana from the controlled substances list entirely, allowing states to legalize and regulate as they and their voters choose.
But the campaign said most discussion and a more likely near-term step has centered around reclassifying it to Schedule II, which would remove a barrier to prescribed medical uses, though they said that either move would be a step in the right direction.
Mr. Obama has said that Congress can move on such a reclassification.
“What is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” Mr. Obama said in a 2014 interview with CNN. “It’s not something by ourselves that we start changing … no, there are laws undergirding those determinations.”
Tom Angell, chairman of the advocacy group Marijuana Majority, said the attorney general and the secretary of Health and Human Services can move to get rescheduling done without further legislation under the Controlled Substances Act.
“It’s tough to predict what the president will do on this issue before he leaves office, but if he’s willing to uphold his pledge to set policy based on science, and he listens to the majority of Americans who support marijuana reform, he will exercise his administrative authority for rescheduling,” Mr. Angell said.
Mr. Johnson pointed out that there are still some “dry counties” in the country with respect to alcohol and predicted marijuana would eventually be in that same category.
“I think every municipality has to realize that all the planes to Denver every single weekend are filled up, and that they’re missing out, and Colorado is absolutely vibrant,” he said. “Is it due to marijuana? I think it’s a contributing factor.”
“I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve been to Colorado, but I think you can sense vibrancy, and it’s there,” he said.