The End of the Drug War Starts Aug 1
In a news article broke by the Santa Monica Observer a lawyer who works for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) said starting August 1st the DEA will reschedule cannabis to a Schedule II substance. My knee jerk reaction is to say “YES! The drug war is on its final leg.” But giving this further thought I realized there is some serious potential for the government to re-fire up the drug war under a new guise, let me explain.
But first, a quick breakdown of the drug schedules! Our government breaks down drugs into five schedules with Schedule I being defined by the DEA as: “substances, or chemicals [that] are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” This continues to go down in potential for abuse and dependence by each schedule with the following drugs listed at each schedule –
- Schedule I – Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and meth.
Schedule II – Cocaine, methadone, Demerol, oxycontin, fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin
- Schedule III – Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids and testosterone.
- Schedule IV – Xanax, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan and Ambien
- Schedule V – Robitussin (cough medicine), Motofen, and Lyrica
As I am sure you will agree Xanax (a heavy Benzodiazepine), ketamine and valium are far safer than a plant like marijuana which kills exactly zero people per year **insert eye roll**
So what does this all mean? I am going to take a look at the good, and the potentially bad, that may occur from this action by the DEA. First let’s talk about the good things that will result from this rescheduling. First and foremost, marijuana will now be legal in all 50 states for medical use! You heard that right, marijuana will now be legal in all 50 states for medical use! Doctors can now start PRESCRIBING instead of just recommending marijuana, but why is that important? Well, this does a number of things including: giving protection to employees at work, and your insurance may start covering your medically prescribed marijuana. This will also effect how marijuana is taxed in a medical situation. Another great by-product is the fact that the door is going to be burst open in regard to testing cannabis, as testing a schedule II drug is apparently much easier than testing a schedule I drug (which our government has made nearly impossible).
You might be asking “but you said something about the government re-firing up the drug war, what’s that all about?” Welllll…let’s discuss the potentially bad things that could result from this action by the DEA. Here’s a quote from the article that I found most disturbing: “The DEA lawyer gave us his legal opinion that [in recreational states such as Colorado and Washington]…after August 1, you will need a prescription, as you would need throughout the U.S.” Meaning this could potentially wreck the legal markets of Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the ones about to come online including Nevada, California, Massachusetts and others. What’s potentially more worrisome is the fact that when dealing in a Schedule II substance you need to have a Federally regulated pharmaceutical license to manufacture or distribute that substance. Meaning the 1,000’s of legal grow operations for medical or recreational use could potentially be shut down, as well as the 1,000s of mom and pop dispensaries throughout the country. This also could potentially mean bye-bye for all home grows. I can see the potential for a new administration to come in and start saying: “You don’t have a license for this, we are going to shut you down.” Breaking into people’s homes that have a collective garden or even a small home grow is a possibility as well.
The Good –
1. Medical marijuana will now be legal in all 50 states with a prescription
2. Doctors can start prescribing marijuana instead of just “recommending” marijuana (but the big question remains, will they?!).
3. Should give protection to patients who are prescribed marijuana with the same protections someone would get if they were on pharmaceutical drugs.
4. Insurance may start covering marijuana pills, tinctures, edibles and so on but they will almost certainly not cover flower or bud.
5. Your prescribed marijuana should be tax free.
6. Testing of marijuana is going to explode as testing schedule II substance is much easier than testing a schedule I substance.
The Bad –
1. Could destroy recreational markets if “anyone consuming cannabis will need a prescription.”
2. Could destroy legal “state licensed” recreational and medical dispensaries and grow operations as you need a Federally issued Pharmaceutical License to manufacture or distribute a Schedule II substance (think Pfizer and Walgreens – aka Big Business).
3. This could mean bye-bye for all home grows (you can’t make OxyContin at home).
4. This could be the introduction of big business into legal marijuana!
Ultimately people need to stand up and say something! Call your “representative” and tell them to stay out of legal states. Well over half of our country believes that recreational marijuana should be legal and a national poll shows that over 80% of our country supports legalizing medical marijuana. If the Federal government takes a hard line on marijuana operations, I do not believe that states will be complicit in the action meaning that local law enforcement will not play a part in helping to seize or arrest anyone involved in state licensed operations. This move by the DEA I see as being a positive one and I hope and pray that doctors will start prescribing and we can start treating marijuana as the medicine it is! One love!