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A Decision More Than 50 Years In The Making

Pictured: NORML and MassCann members, founders, friends, and supporters including the author (second from left) gather at the Summit Lounge in Worcester for a “Back to NORML” celebration earlier this month

I’m pleased to see the government acknowledge that marijuana is a legitimate therapy and doesn’t belong in Schedule I

When I founded NORML over 50 years ago, it was clear to me that marijuana possessed medical properties and that the federal government had no business treating it as a Schedule I drug like heroin.

That’s why one of my first decisions as NORML’s Director was to file an administrative petition calling for marijuana to be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

As a result of our initial petition, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s own Administrative Law Judge determined: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”

Over the years, NORML has been a party to virtually every rescheduling petition filed before the federal government. We also have been involved in numerous legal battles challenging the constitutionality of cannabis as a Schedule I substance.

That is why, some 50 years after NORML first began this fight, I am pleased to see the federal government finally acknowledge what we – and millions of Americans – have known all along: That marijuana is a legitimate therapy for many Americans and that it doesn’t belong in Schedule I.

Of course, this isn’t the end of our fight for cannabis freedom. However, it marks a significant and hard-fought victory that validates NORML’s position then – and now.

NORML has always stood up for the rights, interests, and liberties of responsible cannabis consumers. This was my mission when I founded the organization in 1970 and it remains NORML’s focus today. With your support, we are steadily ending cannabis prohibition. Help us finish this fight by supporting our mission today.

This column was reprinted from NORML.