08.11.2016
policy

The DEA Was Just Kidding About Normalizing Marijuana

It's like April Fools all over again.

Multiple news sources on the level of USA Today are reporting that the Drug Enforcement Administration has refused to remove marijuana from its Schedule I classification. For all federal intents and purposes, cannabis will remain in a class with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and bath salts. Schedule I drugs are defined as substances with a high potential for abuse that have no “currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.”

For perspective, morphine, opium, and methamphetamine are all Schedule II substances.

From USA Today:

The DEA said a Health and Human Services evaluation shows marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because "the drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available."
"There is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder," the report added.

Marijuana advocates argue that the lack of adequate cannabis studies is a direct result of weed being a highly restricted Schedule I substance that is not available for study. The DEA is expected to counter tomorrow that it has relaxed its rules against growing marijuana for scientific study, but will reiterate: “There is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder.”

Medical marijuana practitioners and patients in 25 U.S. states might have something contrary and informed to say about that, not that the DEA could be expected to listen to anyone in fully half the country, except when wiretapping them all.

Nevertheless, in April of this year, a DEA document submitted to Congress hinted that the agency was evaluating the impact of removing marijuana from the heroin neighborhood. The agency set a timetable for the end of July to correct that false adjacency. This announcement met with some skepticism.

The Drug Enforcement Administration is the federal agency charged with enforcing drug policy at a national level. It is a highly militarized branch of the federal law-enforcement apparatus. Last year, the DEA received and spent $2.88 billion to wage a battle that goes completely contrary to the appetites of the American people. The DEA is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy that is empowered to seize the assets of arbitrarily designated suspects ($29.6 billion in forfeitures from 2005 through 2014). What were the chances that it would seriously consider redirecting a major flow of its revenue stream?

Evidently, no chance at all.

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