The National Sheriff’s Association officially supports moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under federal law.
One of the nation’s leading law enforcement associations is calling on the federal government to do more “thorough research” on the medical benefits of marijuana. The National Sheriff’s Association (NSA) approved a resolution urging for a change in federal marijuana scheduling during the group’s annual conference in June.
The NSA is holding to its position of keeping marijuana illegal for what it describes as public safety reasons, but according to the resolution the NSA would like cannabis to be reclassified to eliminate regulatory barriers preventing further evaluation.
“The National Sheriffs’ Association supports the reclassification of marijuana as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act in order to remove those impediments and allow greater research,” the resolution states.
Reclassifying cannabis to a Schedule II substance would designate that marijuana does have a currently accepted medical use in treatment or a currently accepted medical use with restrictions. Under Schedule I classification, a substance has no currently accepted medical use.
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, examples of Schedule II substances include Adderall, OxyContin, fentanyl, phencyclidine (PCP), methadone, hydrocodone, and methamphetamine.
The NSA is a nonprofit organization promoting professionalism and job performance among sheriffs and deputies in the United States. The organization’s headquarters is in Alexandria, VA and its incorporation dates back to 1940.
Where the National Sheriffs’ Association Stands on Marijuana
Not much has changed in the opinion of the sheriff’s organization when it comes to the legalization of cannabis. The call for federal review of marijuana is a monumental step for the law enforcement association, but the resolution also states the NSA members “believe the effort to bypass the drug approval process established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and legalize marijuana and marijuana-derived products is contrary to the interests of the health, safety, and welfare of the public.”
The resolution also lists the decriminalization of marijuana on the state-level as a failure in reducing illegal market sales of recreational marijuana and in some instances increased organized drug trafficking organizations.
The resolution titled National Sheriffs’ Association Opposes the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana and Supports the FDA Review of Marijuana for Medicinal Purposes was first reported on by news publication The Washington Examiner.
Research on Law Enforcement and Marijuana Legalization
While the NSA’s stance on marijuana has been strictly in support of marijuana prohibition, some research indicates positive outcomes from marijuana legalization. In a recent study published in Police Quarterly, researchers from Washington State University found that police effectiveness was positively impacted in states where marijuana was legal.
Researchers studied data from Washington and Colorado to examine the effects of marijuana legalization on public health and safety. The results showed that the rates of cases solved involving violent crimes or property crimes has significantly increased after recreational cannabis was legalized.
A 2017 report from the Pew Research Center found that more than two-thirds of police officers in the U.S. believed marijuana should be legal for personal or medical use. The study also found a generational divide amongst police officers’ views on marijuana legalization.
According to the report, officers under the age of 35 were more likely to support the legalization of recreational use marijuana than those between ages 50-60. The Pew Research study suggested police officers are more likely to lean towards a conservative point of view on the marijuana issue.
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