Saturday, August 13, 2016

D.E.A. Totally Wrong To Lump Marijuana With Heroin As 'Schedule 1' Drug

Everyone needs to see this film  (left) to see the extent government has tried to demonize pot using cheap propaganda. Right, workers trim and cut product in Garden City, CO.

The recent Obama administration D.E.A.  ruling, keeping marijuana a Schedule 1 drug, is now coming under fire from nearly all quarters. This includes no fewer than eight Democratic senators  who had urged the DEA to reclassify it to a Schedule 2 drug, according to The New York Times (Aug. 12, p. A9)  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, no shrinking violet, blasted the decision on Twitter while Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand of New York  said in a statement: "It shouldn't take an act of congress for the DEA to get past antiquated ideology and make this change."  Indeed, but it may have to! (Unless we get a President with enough cojones to overrule the D.E.A. under his or her authority).

Such reclassification, according to the Times, "would have made it easier to get federal approval for studies of its uses and paved the way for doctors to eventually write prescriptions for marijuana derived products that could be filled at pharmacies - like other Schedule 2 drugs such as Adderall".

But in the absence of reclassifying MJ, we see it remains lumped together with cocaine and heroin, as well as being fully prosecutable under federal law.  A somewhat incredible ruling from an administration whose standard bearer and leader was part of a group in Hawaii called the "choom gang" and engaged regularly in pot smoking, see e.g.

And in fact, despite doing all that weed Obama and his Choom comrades turned out pretty well, never mind Obama's efforts (in one biography)  to paint the experience as negative ("club of disaffection" etc.) . As the linked ABC News piece notes:

Although Obama himself wrote that he and his pot smoking buddies were a "club of disaffection," Maraniss says that's not really true.

"In fact, most members of the Choom Gang were decent students and athletes who went on to successful and productive lawyers, writers and businessmen," Maraniss writes. One notable exception was Ray, the group's pot dealer who, known for his ability "to score quality bud," would years later be killed by a scorned gay lover armed with a ball-peen hammer.

Obama himself managed to be a pretty good student despite all the pot smoking and unconventional study habits.

So much for all the balderdash of  " inescapable" deleterious effects which also was apparent in the 1936 government -produced farce entitled "Reefer madness".  This was an obvious propaganda exploitation effort revolving around the melodramatic events that ensue when high school students are lured by pushers to try marijuana.  Their travails extend from a hit and run accident, to manslaughter, suicide, attempted rape, and descent into madness.

The obvious purpose was to scare the living bejeezus out of any kid to not even think of trying "demon weed". The message was it would wreck young lives leaving them broken husks - much like the current DEA ruling seems to suggest which is why they lump it with heroin in the Schedule 1 class.

Originally it had been financed by a church group under the title "Tell Your Children". Its primary mandate was circulation and screening to parents as a  putative morality tale, attempting to teach them about the dangers of any cannabis use by their kiddies. Perhaps two decades later any viewing of this dreck became so laughable that it emerged as a cult film - shown to audiences primarily as joke material. Which is rightly the niche to which it belongs..

Where it should belong! But evidently Obama's DEA didn't get the message. According to DEA head Chuck Rosenberg, MJ would remain a Schedule 1 drug because "it has no currently acceptable medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision and a high potential for abuse."

Most of which is bunkum.  In terms of demonstrated medical benefit, the DEA head would do well to come here to Colorado and ask the thousands of vets - I am talking of vets from the Iraq and Afghan misadventures - who have found medical MJ the sole means to control their pain and vastly better than the DEA-permitted opioids like hydrocodone-oxycontin. Medical MJ has also been crucial for many cancer patients in being able to endure chemotherapy without vomiting every ten minutes if they try to ingest food.

As far as proven beneficial use,  that would be most likely to appear in published medical research. But see, the very failure to reclassify it as Schedule 2 prohibits that.   The ironic aspect of all this is that the ruling's objection to the lack of "proof"  of medical benefit is being used to keep such research from being conducted!

Commenting on this contradiction and ruling, Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance said (ibid.):

"They are placing researchers in a Catch 22 by saying 'We are not lifting this research barrier because there is not enough evidence'  But then say, 'We can't do research because of this barrier.'".

As for the claim of a "high probability for abuse" - not really, no where near as much as alcohol which is permitted, and which engenders thousands of deaths each year including from drunken driving. Is the DEA blind to that?

The most deplorable aspect is that it sets even more states and American citizens against the federal government, the last thing we need in this era of anti-government paranoia and rage - which helped create the likes of Trump and his Trumpies. According to recent surveys more than 60 percent of Americans now approve of marijuana use for medical and recreational purposes. According to the Times (ibid.):

"The District of Columbia and 25 states now allow the use of marijuana for a wide variety of medical conditions "

The Times article also observed "others were thrilled with the ruling that the D.E.A. didn't budge". Well, I suppose to be consistent they will also be "thrilled" as the over prescription of opioids continues with its own addictions, not to mention leading to REAL Schedule 1 drugs like heroin.

Will things change with a new administration? Don't hold your breath!

See also:

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