The 6 Most Tragic Absurdities Of The Drug War

5. Marijuana is not medicine, even if we patent, grow, and distribute it as medicine.
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BY RUSS BELVILLE

The government’s intransigence on the medical utility of cannabis is the most stubborn and hypocritical federal policy ever. The feds will tell you, with a straight face, that marijuana is a Schedule I substance and as such has no recognized medical value within the United States, even as seventeen states expressly recognize its medical value.

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This policy was declared constitutional in the 6-3 decision in the landmark 2005 case, Raich v. La La La I Can’t Hear You.

Now if you complain about the 17,000 peer-reviewed research papers sitting in the federal PubMed database that demonstrate medical use of cannabis, you’re barking up the wrong tree. This is a federal government that itself has patented the medical utility of cannabisand still tells you it is not medicine.

As if that weren’t hypocritical enough, the US government maintains a pot farm at the University of Mississippi. This is the one legal weed grow in America, expressly allowed under the 1961 UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs for the production of cannabis for research purposes. In 1975, a glaucoma sufferer named Robert Randall sued for the right to use marijuana, lest he go blind, and won. This decision led to the development of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug Programthat produced and delivered medical marijuana for Randall.

Shortly thereafter, more patients sued to get access to medical marijuana, expanding to a few more federal medical marijuana patients. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, AIDS activists began marshaling thousands of applications for HIV+ gay men who found marijuana to help combat the symptoms of their disease. So rather than expand the compassion to thousands who would have benefited, the Bush Administration in 1992 closed the program to new applicants and the Clinton Administration in 1999 declared it would not be reopened.

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Sorry we won’t let you AIDS patients have medical marijuana. Here, enjoy this extra-large red ribbon instead.

However, the program was not closed to the patients who had already been approved. Today there are four remaining federal medical marijuana patientswho receive a tin of eight or more ounces of pre-rolled federal medical marijuana from the federal medical marijuana farm every month. But, federally speaking, there is no such thing as medical marijuana.​

6.The Drug Enforcement Administration forbids the cultivation of a non-drug plant.

Nothing is more absurd in the war on marijuana than the ban on industrial hemp. If you don’t know, hemp is also cannabis, but cultivated differently as to produce a seed and fiber crop that is exceptionally low in any drug value. It takes anywhere from 2% to 4% THC content (tetrahydrocannabinol, the “high” ingredient in pot) for someone to cop a buzz off weed. Some of the finer medical marijuana varieties may top 15% THC content. By law and international agreements, industrial hemp must be produced at less than 0.3% THC content. It’s safe to say that there is a greater alcohol concentration allowed in a “near-beer” than THC concentration in hemp. There’s more THC in my bloodstream as I write this than is found in a field of industrial hemp plants.

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​Budweiser has at least ten times more alcohol than O’Doul’s “near beer”. By comparison, if industrial hemp were ten times stronger, it would be shitty ditchweed that’s one-third to one-fifth as potent as decent street weed.

But even though there is absolutely no way one can use hemp as a drug, its cultivation is banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration, because it contains any amount of THC. If this standard were applied to other drugs, you’d never have another legal poppy seed bagel, because they contain trace amounts of opium. SWAT teams would be raiding your grandma’s house for the decorative poppies in her backyard garden, as they could actually be processed into heroin.

This is even more maddening when you realize how keeping hemp illegal works against the DEA’s stated goal of reducing outdoor marijuana cultivation. Though some cops seem to think hemp would allow pot growers to hide their illegal crop, cross-pollination of hemp into marijuana makes both crops worse. The marijuana becomes less “druggy” and the hemp becomes less “industrial”. The last thing a marijuana grower wants next to his prized plants is a hemp farm.

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