It is time to reschedule Marijuana’s schedule

Medical marijuana plants for sale at The Farmacy, a popular California medical marijuana dispensary, in November 2009. (Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Marijuana has been misclassified as a Schedule 1 drug for far too long. As long as it remains on this level, critical repercussions will continue.

Marijuana has been a Schedule 1 drug along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy for the past 45 years.

In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed and established the Controlled Substance Act that would classify drugs into five different tiers.

Each level would represent how dangerous a substance is and if there were any medicinal benefits to it.

Schedule 1 is the most dangerous with no medicinal value. Level 2 is still considered dangerous, but not as dangerous and with less potential for abuse as level 1.

At level 5, there is lower probability for abuse and has documented medicinal value. Cocaine is a Schedule 2 drug. This means, under the Controlled Substance Act, marijuana is considered more dangerous and addictive than cocaine.

It does not make sense whatsoever for marijuana to be listed as Schedule 1 drug.

Heroin? Yes.
Ecstasy, perhaps.
Marijuana, no.

Do you consider marijuana a dangerous drug? Do you think it has any medicinal value?

In recent years, studies have shown the profound effects marijuana has on ailments ranging from Parkinson’s, to epilepsy to fighting cancer cells.

Every week there seems to be a new report released on the positive effects cannabis has on patients.

No one has ever died from ingesting marijuana. No one. There were almost 40 thousand deaths in 2010 alone from heroin overdose.

Why is this plant still a Scheduled 1 drug? When marijuana was placed as a Schedule 1 drug, Nixon was establishing new programs to enforce drug control.

In an “allout offensive” war on drugs, the government did not know where to place marijuana.

At the time, they did not have all of the information on the plant as we do now, so to be safe, they placed it on the most dangerous level.

Time and time again, when the issue of rescheduling marijuana came up, it was dealt in the most convenient way, keeping it put.

According to the DEA, Schedule 1 drugs have no accepted medical use, and yet currently, there are 22 states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal use.

This confusion spilled over into a San Francisco courtroom on April 15, when U.S. District Judge, Kimberly Mueller, withheld marijuana’s position as a Schedule 1 drug.

She recognized that attitudes and facts concerning the drug has changed, but claimed that it was neither the place or the time to make that decision. She reminded the attending public that courts do not make laws, they uphold them.

If Mueller had not maintained the current schedule of marijuana, it would have done little towards actually rescheduling it and even if marijuana were to be reclassified, it would still be illegal on a federal level.

For Marijuana to be removed as a Schedule I drug, it has to be done through Congress, the Attorney General or through the executive branch.

Currently, three politicians, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Corey Booker of New Jersey and presidential candidate Rand Paul of Kentucky all sponsor the bill that controls the legalization and scheduling of marijuana.

Former Attorney General Eric Holder admitted that we should all be asking ourselves the question of whether we should reschedule marijuana and if it is really as bad and dangerous as heroin?

We should be asking ourselves this question because there are consequences to marijuana’s smeared reputation by being classified alongside dangerous drugs.

Ask a third of a million people arrested for marijuana possession each year. Those caught with marijuana still face federal prosecution if they are found using or selling it.

Even patients with medical cannabis cards cannot medicate themselves without the risk of negative repercussions.

Here at Citrus, if a student relies on marijuana to alleviate medical symptoms, they must do so off campus.

What other prescribed medication are you required to leave at home for fear of being arrested if you are not just using it but possessing it?

Even if you do not consume marijuana, the scheduling still affects everyone.

Each year, marijuana arrests costs taxpayers close to three billion dollars in trials, imprisonment, legal fees and enforcement.

Maintaining a Schedule 1 also limits funds being used for additional research and studies that would help shed light on the benefits of marijuana for medicinal use.

It restricts universities from receiving grants to fund necessary trials that would shed more light on the medical uses of cannabis.

All of the scientific evidence makes it clear that marijuana has no place being a Schedule 1 drug. It is important that more people recognize this and take action toward having marijuana rescheduled.

The recent elevated attention on the matter of rescheduling marijuana has proponents and activists hopeful that a reconsideration on a federal level is in the near future.

This week, fans of the plant observe national 420 day. Marijuana even has it’s own day of the year!

On this day, there are positive expressions and information shared towards the use of marijuana and it is important to gain favorable responses towards rescheduling it in the types of hearings like the one conducted last week.

If Mueller had been supportive of having the law changed this may have been noticed in Washington.

Supporters hope to gain positive consideration to these rulings because of the attention it would draw from Congress.

If it’s not, your joint will still be as bad a syringe filled with heroin.