Over the course of the last few months, the internet has been buzzing with speculation of the DEA potentially rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug on July 1, 2016. Whether or not this happens is still up in the air.
One of the first publications to break the story was the Santa Monica Observer citing that an anonymous DEA Lawyer representing the organization had disclosed the information that marijuana would be reclassified as a Schedule II drug this summer. The Washington Post also reported that the DEA had written a lengthy memo to lawmakers stating that it hopes to “decide whether or not to change the federal status of marijuana in the first half of 2016.”
Most recently, The Daily Chronic kind of put antsy journalists in check reminding us all that the Associated Press, one of the world’s largest and most established news organizations, adheres to guidelines requiring articles to be properly vetted before publication and requiring more than one source. So far, the only source of the rescheduling was the anonymous lawyer.
Whether it is an asinine Facebook post with no cited material or a thoroughly researched piece, it looks like nobody can present concrete evidence on this matter and we will all have to sit tight to see how this unfolds throughout the summer and moving into next year. The good news is that now over half the nation has now made medical marijuana legal, with Ohio being the most recent, and states like California have recreational marijuana on their ballot on November.
No matter what happens, the Discover CBD team wants to add our two cents on how marijuana SHOULD be classified. Here are some of our thoughts:
To begin, we should probably break down what being labeled as “Schedule I,” “Schedule II,” and drugs actually means. Simply put, Schedule I drugs are completely illegal under every circumstance and have no currently accepted medical use. Aside from marijuana [currently], heroin, ecstasy, peyote, and LSD all reside in that category. Schedule II drugs are defined as “drugs with a high potential for abuse” and can be used only with a prescription. This includes Vicodin, Adderall, Oxycodone, cocaine, and other regularly abused prescription drugs.
To offer a little perspective on this gross misclassification, marijuana shares a Schedule I status with heroin and is more strictly regulated than prescription painkillers (that have killed over 165,000 people since 1999!).
Rescheduling marijuana would not treat it that much differently than it is now. As mentioned, 25 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes and people can obtain a license to use it to potentially aid conditions ranging from chronic pain, stress, and more. Rescheduling marijuana to Schedule II (or even III) would just make it available medicinally on a federal level. The most unspoken change and the biggest benefit would be allowing it to be legally tested and used in patient studies at universities. Wouldn’t you WANT the nation to test it more to confirm these potential benefits?!
Rescheduling marijuana would also align dual system efforts where recreational marijuana is already legal. States like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska have been leading the charge for over 2 years almost like sacrificial lambs, and we see that hell has not broken use and there are actually city and civic benefits as far as where tax money is being spent (schools, helping the homeless, and more). The dual system would allow the recreational market to increase rapidly without spiraling out of control or throwing too many curveballs. A recent article in The Denver Post puts in perfectly:
“Under a dual system, the recreational market would increase rapidly with customer demand for non-prescription smokable marijuana and edibles. Jurisdictions with excise taxes on recreational marijuana would bring in additional revenues for regulation based on federal enforcement priorities.”
Transitioning into recreational marijuana wouldn’t have to be a free-for-all either. Medical states could create a coalition to adopt uniform regulation and enforcement to streamline the process and unify everything from packaging, pesticide use, testing, extraction practices, and issues that have previously come out of the woodwork with already legal states. This would also move efforts in a direction of amending banking laws so marijuana businesses can obtain checking accounts and receive loans, an issue that legal states have run into. Ultimately, this would reduce the crime associated with the “cash-only” business model.
No matter what happens in the coming months, we are seeing an overwhelming response with national polls showing most Americans being in favor of legalization and more good than bad occurring with both medical and recreational marijuana. We will certainly be keeping our eyes on the news as this unfolds and hope more than anything those who could benefit from marijuana will be able to obtain it.
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