It has always perplexed cannabis supporters, and supporters of science and logic, that marijuana is a Schedule I substance. Schedule I is defined as, “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Anyone who has researched cannabis knows that cannabis doesn’t fit that description.
Cannabis has medical value, proven by the fact that the federal government has patents related to cannabis’ medical properties, the federal government grows medical marijuana at the University of Mississippi, and has been supplying medical marijuana to federal medical marijuana patients for many, many years. Those facts alone are enough to highlight the hypocrisy of marijuana’s current status as a Schedule I controlled substance. The federal government has been petitioned in the past to address this obvious disregard for reason, and each time the federal government has decided to keep marijuana’s classification right where it’s at on the Schedule I list.
A group of Senators sent a letter late last year urging the DEA to research and take action on rescheduling marijuana. In a letter dated April 4, the DEA responded to the Senators. Per the Huffington Post:
The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should reclassified under federal law in “the first half of 2016,” the agency said in a letter to senators.
DEA, responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to facilitate research into marijuana’s medical benefits, doesn’t indicate whether it will reclassify marijuana as less dangerous.
The U.S. has five categories, or schedules, classifying illegal drugs or chemicals that can be used to make them. Schedule I is reserved for drugs the DEA considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no “current accepted medical use.”Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, along with heroin and LSD. Rescheduling marijuana wouldn’t make it legal, but may ease restrictions on research and reduce penalties for marijuana offenses.
I recently wrote an article in which I stated my opinion on whether Obama would reschedule marijuana prior to leaving office. Unfortunately, I don’t think that he will, which is unfortunate. I don’t fault Obama for not being able to reschedule marijuana while in office, as doing so via administrative action would not be an easy task due to the layers of bureaucracy that he would have to deal with. However, I do fault him for not at least trying. If he can’t get the job done, I’d understand. But to not champion the issue, and not do what he can to make it happen, is very lame in my opinion. I get the feeling from the DEA letter response to the Senators that while a decision will be coming by ‘mid year,’ I don’t expect it to be favorable. Call it a hunch. But I’d be pleasantly surprised if it happened, and won’t knock those that are hopeful for a favorable decision!