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Opinion: Congress Needs To Reclassify Cannabis

January 10, 2018 Featured No Comments
The fist legal marijuana dispensary I visited in Denver, September 2014

Last week U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, by reversing the Cole memo, took away what little security the legal marijuana industry had.

The Cole memo was never intended to be a permanent fix to the problem posed by the conflict between states that chose to legalize marijuana and existing federal prohibitions. Written by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole in 2013, the memo gave the nation’s 93 U.S. Attorneys broad latitude to exercise prosecutorial discretion in states where marijuana had been legalized. (Mr. Cole, now in private practice, declined a request for comment for this story.) His memo was interpreted as a virtual hands-off rule, allowing medical and recreational marijuana programs to spread across the country at an unprecedented rate. Flimsy though it was, the Cole Memo nevertheless provided a measure of security for dispensary owners, growers and consumers and allowed investors to proceed with some confidence that their money was not going to be seized in a DEA sting. (Politico)

The permanent fix is to move it from a Schedule 1 drug to lower on the DEA’s list:

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: 

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote. (DEA)

Cocaine & meth are schedule 2 drugs — yes, cannabis is classified the same as LSD but less than cocaine!

Options are killing people daily, but the pain-killing ability of cannabis is ignored.

From April 2017:

Two Florida congressmen, Republican Representative Matt Gaetz and Democratic Representative Darren Soto, introduced legislation that would transfer marijuana to Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act from its current standing as a Schedule I substance, the strictest of the classifications.

Having marijuana on a lower scale would uphold the rights of states that have legalized the use of it medically, allow for banking activities, and create a clearer path for research, Gaetz stated, “I have supported cannabis reform as a state legislator, and I want to see the people that I fought for in my state have access to a legal, high-quality product that’s been well-researched.” (Huffington Post)

Hopefully enough bi-partisan votes can can overcome objections from social conservatives from both parties.

Most of you likely agree, here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Kudos to AG Jeff Sessions for ending the 2013 rule that ignored states that legalized the recreational sale of a federal controlled substance

  • Strongly agree 5 [11.11%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [6.67%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.22%]
  • Disagree 4 [8.89%]
  • Strongly disagree 31 [68.89%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.22%]

If congress doesn’t act, perhaps the SCOTUS will decide a future case that changes the classification.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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