Drug War

The DEA's Classification of Pot: Destroyed but Still Standing


In a recent Open Neurology Journal article, four University of California at San Diego researchers review the evidence concerning marijuana's medical utility and conclude that its continued classification as a Schedule I drug is "not tenable." The authors, led by psychiatrist Igor Grant, who directs the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, examined studies involving smoked and vaporized marijuana as well as synthetic THC capsules (such as Marinol) and extracts such as Sativex, an oral spray that has been approved in several countries and is undergoing Phase III trials in the United States. They note that "control of nausea and vomiting and the promotion of weight gain in chronic inanition are already licensed uses of oral THC" and that "recent research indicates that cannabis may also be effective in the treatment of painful peripheral neuropathy and muscle spasticity from conditions such as multiple sclerosis." In light of this evidence, they say, it is plainly unjustified to keep marijuana on Schedule I, supposedly reserved for drugs with "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use" that cannot be used safely, even under medical supervision:

The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking. It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol [synthetic THC] are listed). The continuing conflict between scientific evidence and political ideology will hopefully be reconciled in a judicious manner.

Hopefully! "Government-Sponsored Study Destroys DEA's Classification of Marijuana," Stephen Webster excitedly declares at The Raw Story, referring to state funding for Grant et al.'s research review. But the DEA's classification of marijuana has been destroyed so many times I've lost count. Twenty-four years ago, an administrative law judge, responding to a legal challenge initiated in 1972, recommended that marijuana be taken off Schedule I, calling it "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man." DEA Administrator John Lawn overruled him in a decision that was upheld by a federal appeals court in 1994. All of Lawn's successors have taken the same position in response to petitions asking them to reschedule marijuana.

Still, surely an administration whose drug policy watchwords are science and compassion will finally reclassify marijuana in a way that more accurately reflects its hazards and potential benefits. Or maybe not. Last year, as I noted in the October issue of Reason and as Paul Armentano of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws reminds us, the Obama administration "formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana." Michele Leonhart, Obama's choice to head the DEA, is so committed to anti-pot orthodoxy that she'd rather look like an idiot in front of Congress than concede that marijuana is less dangerous than any other drug. Oh, well. Maybe in the second term.

NEXT: On Health Care, Republicans Care About Politics, Not Policy

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  1. “I find your lack of faith disturbing.”

    1. The set up line, of course being: “Your sad devotion to that ancient bureaucracy has not helped you conjure up the illicit drugs or given you clairvoyance enough to find the cartel’s hidden fort-” *choke*

      1. Give Michele a call and let her know what you think! http://www.weedist.com/quickli…..marijuana/

  2. Michele Leonhart, Obama’s choice to head the DEA, is so committed to anti-pot orthodoxy that she’d rather look like an idiot in front of Congress than concede that marijuana is less dangerous than any other drug

    Or she’s a flat out idiot and looks like that all the time.

  3. Michele Leonhart, Obama’s choice to head the DEA, is so committed to anti-pot orthodoxy that she’d rather look like an idiot in front of Congress than concede that marijuana is less dangerous than any other drug.

    You gotta go with what you know best.

  4. Politicians are lagging indicators. No movement on this for another few presidents. Meanwhile the jury revolts will increase.

  5. This study, along with the numerous others establishing the medical efficacy and relative benignity of marijuana, should be just what the Decider-in-Chief needs to follow through on his promise to let science decide drug policy.

    The only question now is whether we’ll see Obama reschedule marijuana tomorrow or try to squeeze it in by the end of today.

    1. Bwahahahahahahahahahaha

      Hugh you are one funny guy.

    2. i agree.
      why are, AUTHORITIES, (who ARE NOT doctors or scientists), saying its a “BAD THING”?..
      Thats like, mcdonalds giving health advice.

  6. OT: Gary Johnson will be in downtown Orlando tomorrow around 2:00 PM. My barbecue is supposed to start around 3 (beer brats, ribs, smoked chicken, and stuff-your-own burgers). Still, do I go swing by Langford Park?

    1. Yes.

      Ron Paul invited me to come visit him in Tampa. He’s scheduled the meeting at USF’s Sun Dome. Seems a little big for a private meeting to me.

    2. Yes. Take the man a brat.

      1. That’s what I’m saying. The timing does not work out for that. However, I could invite him over for one. I think I’ll do it.

    3. I’m supposed to be at a BBQ in Spring Hill around 3 pm. I could probably do both if traffic isn’t bad on SR 50.

  7. The female running the DEA has actually stated she believes in the prohibition of alcohol. What the FUCK is wrong with the ignoramuses who give authority to bags of stupid like this?

    I fucking have to be living in a parallel universe.

  8. Alt text: I will take those disloyal scientists by the balls, squeezing and twisting.

  9. Elect me president and I will do everything I can to scuttle the DEA.

  10. OK wow, so who comes up with all this crazy stuff I wonder


  11. If she remains childless, she’s more likely to get breast cancer. We’ll see how she feels bout pot if she goes through chemo.

  12. Marijuana a Schedule I drug?
    If they did research they would see MARIJUANA has NO LETHAL side effects period.
    How can something with NO lethal side effects be a Class I, II, or class III drug, if its such a bad thing, why is it used for medical conditions?
    You dont see medical heroine or Medical crack-Cocaine….so why is it labeled with those drugs?
    You can even die from pills…
    You Cannot die from marijuana unless you have an allergy to it.
    If they were to open their eyes and see the world constantly changes, they would see the marijuana industry is a MULTI-BILLION dollar business.
    If they would just open their minds and see over half of the country smokes marijuana, they would realize if they legalized and regulated it, it would SINGLE HANDEDLY help this economy in a major way.
    Just because People THINK its bad, doesnt make it a fact.
    Only research will tell you the answers youre looking for.
    #Not Arrogance

    1. i PERSONALLY know people that have NEVER used marijuana untill they were prescribed medical marijuana, (which replaced MULTIPLE PILLS that cause HARMFUL side effects) and they swear by the medical marijuana treatment over prescribed meds.
      again these are people that have NEVER smoked or used marijuana.

      What i want an answer to is:
      “why will they prescribe pills that cause cancer among other terrible side effects, but not legalize marijuana, (even for medical use) when its KNOWN to cure/ treat cancer and other terminal diseases with positive effects such as; Stopping tumor growth, KILLING
      malignant cancer cells in theyre path, and curing MULTIPLE types of cancer in lab rats AND humans alike?
      It just mystifies and baffles me, the ignorance this country has towards something so harmless.
      #Unless they were trying to cover up this “Drug” because of all its positive effects….
      it will take the money out of other pharmecuticals, and thats why its probably still illegal…
      #Cuz it will take money away from buying MULTIPLE prescriptions, instead of 1…MARIJUANA.
      Thas why i think its illegal still

    ITS A WASTE OF TIME and MONEY that were paying for with our taxes. (War on drugs)
    I respect the war on drugs, but marijuana is not a drug, its “LABELED” as a drug by the media and authorities because of its Psychological effects, (even though marijuana is PROVEN to NOT have any fatal side effects), if your gonna illegalize a plant

  14. then you mine as well illegalize plants like Poison Ivy….cuz that WILL kill you if you smoke it. lol

  15. lets all buy cigarettes AND alcohol, cuz apparently, its MUCH safer than marijuana.

  16. Call Michele Leonhart and let the DEA know what you think: http://www.weedist.com/quickli…..marijuana/

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