Under the drug control framework in effect in America today any substance listed on “Schedule I” has (a) a high likelihood of abuse / addiction and (b) no medical value. For reasons we will get to later, cannabis is on Schedule I. Lots of people and organizations over the years have challenged that fact — and failed. Maybe this latest challenge will fare better. It’s being brought by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Whaaaaaaaaa?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has taken up a request by the Drug Enforcement Agency to study whether marijuana should remain classified as a Schedule 1 drug. The study could lead to marijuana being removed from the Schedule 1 category of the Controlled Substances Act.
A reclassification would have a sweeping impact on the U.S. cannabis industry. It could eliminate the industry’s problems with banks and allow more states to legalize the plant. It could also open the door for major corporations to enter the industry.
According to Douglas Throckmorton, Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs at the FDA, the agency will make a recommendation after conducting an “eight-factor analysis” that examines marijuana’s abuse potential, its pharmacological effect and risk to public health, among other factors. Throckmorton did not give a timeline for the study’s conclusion.
The FDA reviewed marijuana’s status for the DEA in 2001 and 2006 and recommended that it remain a Schedule 1 drug. But public and political sentiment toward the plant has changed greatly since 2006, and the shift could impact the FDA’s assessment.
Original post is HERE. Thanks to Marijuana Business Daily.
Here’s the nickle version of how cannabis got on Schedule I. The old Marijuana Tax Act required the marijuana to display a tax stamp. Such tax stamps were not available, so you don’t have one, do you, boy? Guilty + prison. This is the same system by which the federal government got control of machine guns in the 1930’s. The Marijuana Tax Act was struck down in the late 1960’s.
Congress next crafted the Controlled Substances Act, which we still have today. Under that act all drugs get a classification based on a number of factors. The late 60’s (a wonderful time, by the way, I was there) asked where should cannabis be placed? Richard Nixon is President, and he hates anything to do with cannabis. He puts cannabis in Schedule I, but to appear fair creates a commission, the Shafer Commission, to decide the ultimate fate of cannabis. The Commission said:
“[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use,” concluded the 13-member Commission, which included nine hand-picked appointees of then-President Richard Nixon. “It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate… Therefore, the Commission recommends … [that the] possession of marijuana for personal use no longer be an offense, [and that the] casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration, no longer be an offense.”
Members of the Commission further acknowledged that marijuana did not meet the criteria of a schedule I controlled substance under federal law, a classification that places cannabis along side heroin as a prohibited substance without any therapeutic value. In July 2011, the Obama administration upheld cannabis’ schedule I classification, stating, “At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”
Of course, it’s the federal government who has prevented those well controlled clinical trials that Barack Obama bemoans not having.
Nixon was pissed and cannabis remained Schedule I. Find this part of the story HERE.
The story of the Shafer Commission is interesting on it’s own and you can find HMJ’s coverage of that story HERE.
HMJ is paying attention. We’ll keep you caught up.
[image: Google images “Richard Nixon” — this mess belongs to him]