8/17/16 at 05:20 AM 0 Comments

Will the DEA Ever Rethink the Schedule I Classification of Cannabis?

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This week the DEA rejected yet another bid to have marijuana reduced to a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, which currently has the plant classified alongside the world's most dangerous and addictive substances such as cocaine, heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. Even many people who are against cannabis legalization are having a hard time understanding how the plant could possibly be classified as one of the worst drugs in existence, despite being widely available as a doctor-recommended medication in 25 states.

Assessing the Reasons for Sticking with Schedule I
To justify the rejection, the DEA has said that cannabis should remain a Schedule I drug for three reasons: it “has no currently accepted medical use” (although half the states, thousands of physicians, and millions of patients disagree), it has “lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision” (kind of hard to argue when cannabis has a much higher LD-50 than Aspirin), and it has a high abuse potential (possibly, but it certainly doesn't have a higher abuse potential than opium, which is only considered Schedule II). Despite marijuana's villainous Schedule I status, the Justice Department doesn't seem to mind that anyone can purchase CBD cannabis seeds online, and CBD oil (extracted from hemp) can be legally sold and bought worldwide.

Is Schedule II Really Too Much to Ask For?
Under the 46-year-old CSA that was put in place by the Nixon administration, crystal methamphetamine is a Schedule II substance, which means that the recent decision to keep marijuana under Schedule I will have the policy continuing to label the non-toxic plant as a more dangerous drug than meth, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, codeine, and opium.

Regardless of whether one agrees with the use of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, it's difficult to honestly purport that the flowering herb is more physically hazardous or addictive than any of the aforementioned drugs, all of which continue to cause thousands of overdoses and debilitating addictions annually. In terms of public opinion, open polls on sites like indicate that more than 80% of the population disagree with marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug.

Is the CSA Consistent with the Facts and Current State of Affairs?
Fifty years ago, it could've been argued that there wasn't enough data on marijuana's toxicity or addictive mechanisms to discern whether it should be considered anything less than a Schedule I drug.

However, a lot of research and legislative change has transpired in the past 5 decades, with about half the states in the U.S. now allowing doctors to prescribe medical cannabis to millions of Americans for an extensive list of ailments and conditions (something that was unheard of in 1970).

It's hard to ignore such a massive discrepancy, when about half the voters and legislators in the country disagree with marijuana's Schedule I status and the plant's products are forming a multi-billion dollar industry that is flourishing in legal storefronts across the nation.

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