Marijuana is high on the Drug Enforcement Administration's list as one of the most dangerous drugs. Since 1970 it has been classified as a Schedule I controlled substance along with LSD and heroin. Drugs in this category are not meant to have any medical purpose but have "potentially severe psychological or physical dependence." Because of this classification it cannot be used in research or dispensed in pharmacies.
Schedule II drug
Simply by reclassifying marijuana to at least a Schedule II drug, researchers would be able to gain a better understanding of it medicinal properties and its overall effects. Medical marijuana has already been legalized in twenty-three states to aid patients with debilitating diseases and chronic pain.
Even though the states made it legal, it is still federally prohibited. This means that marijuana growers and dispensaries that are abiding within the state law can still be raided by authorities.
Substances in lower classifications
Marijuana use is also more restricted than drugs in the other four lower classifications. Some of these substances in lower classifications are meth and cocaine, which are Schedule II controlled substances. After reading about the classification, I couldn't help but doubt the seriousness of this classification. Marijuana more dangerous than meth or cocaine? Really?
Thankfully I'm not the only one doubting this classification system. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, along with 7 other senators, has requested more information on the scheduling of marijuana and the limitation posed upon it for research.
The Drug Enforcement Administration wrote in a letter to Senator Warren that it will decide whether or not marijuana should stay classified as a Schedule I drug within the first half of this year. In the past, the DEA has twice considered and rejected requests to reclassify marijuana within the last 20 years. The most recent time the DEA rejected the request was in 2011.
51 foot fake joint
The letter from the DEA was received just after a weekend protest that took place outside the White House. Hundreds of people were there smoking pot and carrying a 51 foot fake joint that read: "Obama: Reschedule Cannabis Now." During the protest there was barely a law enforcement crackdown.
Because the DEA has been so reluctant to reclassify marijuana, research over its uses and effects has been impeded. Researchers that want to study the plant has faced strict controls and hurdles in order to do so. The government has a sole contract with the University of Mississippi research lab to grow cannabis for medical research, however only 8 researchers last year were able to get marijuana for medical study from the government sanctioned grow lab. This proves to be a vicious cycle. Authorities often argue the fact that there isn't enough research to prove that marijuana has medicinal properties, yet they make it nearly impossible to do the necessary research to prove it.
Financial aspect of the legal marijuana industry
If the DEA reschedules marijuana then it could great effect on the financial aspect of the legal marijuana industry. It has been estimated that legal marijuana sales will go up to $6.7 billion in sales. With such a profitable market, it still has its burdens a it is an industry that is still illegal on the federal level. Marijuana businesses face a lack of banking options and federal tax issues. I think it's high time (pun intended) the government begins to work with the emerging market instead of against it.
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