Georgians Outraged by DEA Decision Not to Reschedule Cannabis
(APN) ATLANTA — On August 11, 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rejected two petitions to reschedule cannabis (“marijuana”) under the Controlled Substances Act from Schedule 1–the classification for dangerous drugs with no medical value–to a lower classification.
One petition was from Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island, and medical cannabis practitioner Mr. Bryan Krumm.
“Based on the legal standards in the CSA, marijuana remains a schedule I controlled substance because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse,” the DEA stated in a press release.
The DEA decision ignores science, medical research, and laws in a vast majority of U.S. states that recognize cannabis’s therapeutic properties and benefits.
Today, twenty-five U.S. states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws that remove criminal sanctions for the medical use of marijuana, define eligibility for such use, and allow some means of access.
Georgia is not included in this figure, because it does not allow for a legal means of access – merely criminal immunity from prosecution for certain medical patients.
Democratic nominee for President of the U.S., Hillary Clinton, has promised to re-schedule cannabis to Schedule 2, if elected in November.
It is the height of hypocrisy for the DEA to keep cannabis in Schedule 1 with no medical value, while the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services holds a patent on cannabinoids for a wide range of medicinal purposes.
All the contradictory messages from different government agencies and state governments are ridiculous.
In many states, medical patients can legally buy cannabis; but in others, if those same patients possess legally purchased cannabis, they will go to jail.
No way can this be called justice or even anything close to a sane policy.
Although it rejected the rescheduling petitions, the DEA has adopted a new policy that will expand to other institutions the production of research grade cannabis for FDA approved clinical trials.
Currently only the University of Mississippi is allowed to grow and conduct cannabis research in the U.S.
This will eventually lead to the production of pharmaceutical medical cannabis products.
Some say that even if the DEA had rescheduled cannabis to Schedule II, it may have done more harm than good.
“Schedule 2 would have only helped big pharma to synthesize the plant and turn it into eighty different pills for each separate cannabinoid that is needed and sell it a la carte, one at a time,” Sharon Ravert, Executive Director, Peachtree NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) told Atlanta Progressive News.
Ravert and other advocates for medical cannabis and adult recreational usage want cannabis removed from all the controlled substance DEA schedules, and want to legalize the natural plant so people can get medicinal benefits from the whole plant.
Advocates wonder why they need more research, seeing as how cannabis was recorded in 2,737 B.C. as a medicine by Emperor Shen Neng of China.
Scientific evidence already exists all over the world from people and physicians who have used cannabis as a medicine for thousands of years.
No one has ever died from cannabis, and it is less addictive and dangerous than tobacco and alcohol.
“To continue with prohibition is putting a lot of people in jeopardy as law enforcement continues to arrest medical patients. Prohibition is their bread and butter because there are not that many people on hard drugs,” Ravert said.
Cannabis arrests are a lucrative business for law enforcement because too many police-related jobs are dependent on keeping marijuana illegal.
Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for cannabis offenses since 1965, according to NORML
Four states–Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Alaska–have legalized adult usage of cannabis without interference from the federal government.
Nevada and Maine have recreational cannabis initiatives on the ballot this November 2016, and Florida may be next state to legalize medical cannabis.
“The federal law does not affect the states as much as they pretend; and if Georgia wanted to have the medicine here, they could do so under their own state’s rights,” James Bell, Georgia Campaign for Access, Reform and Education (CARE) Project, told APN.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and law enforcement have repeatedly used the DEA’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug as an excuse to not allow production or expansion of medical cannabis in Georgia to help suffering patients.
“The states will continue to legalize medical marijuana, and they will just keep on one after another until the federal law will become irrelevant,” Bell said.
“We need to make sure whoever is elected as Governor in two years, supports medical cannabis and doesn’t worry about the federal government,” Bell said