High Time for Rescheduling of Marijuana
Criminal defense Attorney, Marc Reiner, believes it’s high time for the U.S. to reconsider marijuana’s Schedule I drug classification. Drugs must meet a criterion for their most accurate labeling. According to the Controlled Substances Act, which works to classify and schedule drugs based on a harms versus benefits scale, Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous for human consumption. Along with the plethora of issues this brings up, perhaps the most noticeable is the very first statement listed under the DEA Diversion’s website.
“Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United states, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” Let’s backtrack. The other drugs that fall under this classification are: heroin, LSD, peyote, methaqualone and ecstasy. With medical legalization in 21 states including the District of Columbia and proven medical benefits nationwide, it seems marijuana has been absurdely misrepresented. No surprise there.
Even more alarming is that schedule II and lower scheduled drugs are considered to have more acceptable medical use, and less of a potential for abuse. Some of these drugs include such narcotics as: hydromorphone, methadone, meperidine, oxycodone, morphine, opium and codeiene.
And while marijuana has been deemed by its scheduling among the most harmful of drugs, there hasn’t yet been a single recorded case of human death from its consumption. This is, of course, not to say that people hadn’t then gotten into car crashes or commited further acts of human violence after the consumption. It is simply to say that the mere act of marijuana consumption alone cannot and has not killed a single human being. That is a hell of a lot more than can be said regarding a single one of the other drugs its been lumped together with.
Reiner states that surely the Department of Justice, Law enforcerment officers, medical doctors, legislators, judges and other civil functionaries cannot all be oblivious to the pragmatic workings of substances, nor did they randomly assign marijuana to its Schedule I status. Then why, at a federal level, is marijuana grouped in with the likes of heroin and ecstasy? And why, therefore, is it considered more dangerous than say Oxycodone, Ketamine and Morphine?
In 1996, medical marijuana was legalized under the Compassionate Care Act by the state ofCalifornia for conditions ranging from HIV and cancer to chronic pain and insomnia. It has since been legalized in states around the nation, and is often taken, not as an additional medication, but as a primary treatment. It is mainly used to substitute other prescription medications. For almost all patients utilizing medical marijuana, other medications have proven wildly unsuccessful, and have caused more damage than relief. Additionally, the majority of true medical strains are incredibly high in CBD (marijuana’s secondary constituent with a wider range of medical applications) and particularly low in THC (marijuana’s primary constituent which evokes the associated high). When used strictly for health purposes, it is just that – medicine.
High Time for Rescheduling of Marijuana
In the last decade alone, the pharmaceutical industry has spent over a billion dollars on lobbying fees. And assuming those lobbyists stayed true to the campaign finance contribution laws, every single person running for public office in the past decade could have very well had campaign contributions from any number of major pharmaceutical companies and their given lobbyists. The rift in classification is that marijuana is not a part of the pharmaceutical industry. And according to Reiner, “…marijuana opponents naturally include the private prison and probation complex. Companies that profit off the denial of human liberty, the incarceration and warehousing of human beings away from their families and society, need marijuana to stay illegal.” With half of this country’s incarcerated population charged with drugs and drug related crimes, barely hold a candle compared to the tens of millions of America’s population on probation, paying the government and private probation companies monthly for similar crimes.
The legalization of medical marijuana in some states has absolutely saved lives and kept citizens away from the dangers of synthetic opiates and narcotics, deemed less harmful than the plant. These synthetic drugs have been determined to have side effects significantly more deadly than the ailments they’re meant to cure, and yet the laws keep our nation thinking otherwise.
“Society needs to look at the motivations behind those who want to criminalize human conduct as a starting point to assess the law’s value,” Reiner said.