'I Can't Understand Why It Isn't Rescheduled'


Medical marijuana activists are trying a new approach to getting the drug reclassified so it can be legally prescribed: a petition that charges the Department of Health and Human Services with violating the Data Quality Act by disseminating erroneous information about cannabis. Among other things, Americans for Safe Access notes HHS is wrong when it asserts that "there have been no studies that have scientifically assessed the efficacy of marijuana for any medical condition." Indeed, David Murray of the Office of National Drug Control Policy tells The Washington Post "it is 'beyond dispute' that marijuana's efficacy has been assessed and potential benefits identified."

But that doesn't mean marijuana has an "accepted medical use"–one of the criteria for putting drugs on Schedule II and thereby making them available by prescription. This requirement is a bit of a Catch 22, since it's hard for a drug to be accepted as a medicine when it's entirely illegal. But even if marijuana nevertheless gained wide acceptance among doctors–which it arguably has, depending upon how you define "wide" and "acceptance"–that wouldn't matter, Murray says, because it's not for doctors to determine what is medically useful; that's the government's job.