Reclassify Marijuana as a Schedule II Drug

Reclassify Marijuana as a Schedule II Drug
Posted by CN Staff on June 10, 2005 at 12:16:05 PT
A Register-Guard Editorial 
Source: Register-Guard
USA -- The medicinal value of marijuana wouldn't be an issue if it weren't for the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which assigned marijuana a Schedule I designation. The indefensible classification put marijuana alongside heroin and hallucinogens as a dangerous and addictive drug with no accepted medical use. The Schedule I listing played a key role in Monday's 6-3 Supreme Court decision that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana. But the court was appropriately troubled by the decision's effect on medical marijuana patients. 
Writing for the majority, Justice John Paul Stevens noted that the solution could be found when "the voices of voters" are "heard in the halls of Congress." Unfortunately, Congress is all but deaf when voters' voices mention marijuana. That's why voters in 11 states, including Oregon, used the more responsive state initiative process to give sick people access to medical marijuana. Monday's ruling makes it clear that without corrective action by Congress, the federal government can arrest and prosecute Americans for using a medicine that has been legally prescribed by a doctor under state law. The decision is a victory for the Bush administration, which views state medical marijuana laws as a threat to long-standing national drug policy. Solid scientific data confirming the medicinal value of marijuana would be an even greater threat to the draconian federal pot policy. There's a reason for the dearth of independent research on the subject: The government controls the only legal supply of marijuana available for research. The administration isn't much interested in providing scientists with the means to debunk its absolutist position on pot. That makes marijuana as medicine vulnerable to a Catch-22 criticism from opponents. "To date, science and research have not determined that smoking marijuana is safe or effective," John Walters, director of National Drug Control Policy, said Monday. Walters conveniently ignores the formal studies that have been done and the anecdotal reports of hundreds of thousands of medical marijuana patients, all of which leave little doubt of the drug's medicinal value. Marijuana has been shown to relieve nausea, appetite loss, muscle spasms, seizures and chronic pain. It has long been known to reduce the intraocular pressure associated with glaucoma, the leading cause of blindness in the United States. A more legitimate criticism was raised by the Institute of Medicine in its seminal 1999 report. "Smoked marijuana," the institute noted, "is a crude THC (marijuana's active ingredient) delivery system that also delivers harmful substances." Marijuana smoke contains up to four times as much tar as tobacco, as well as many of the other harmful components of tobacco smoke. The institute's report stated flatly, "There is little future in smoked marijuana as a medically approved medication." Apart from the serious health issues, smoking pot medicinally will always be seen by opponents as a cover for recreational users, a dangerously contradictory message for children and a Trojan horse for legalization of marijuana. Medical marijuana advocates' interests are best served by the development of safe alternatives to smoking. One such alternative is the synthetic THC pill Marinol, but many patients say the pill takes effect too slowly and has side effects that aren't present in smoked marijuana. A more promising alternative is Sativex, a natural liquid marijuana extract developed by a British company that is sprayed into the mouth. The prescription sale of Sativex was approved in Canada on April 19. But don't expect to see Sativex at your local pharmacy anytime soon. It's the Schedule 1, felony thing. Given the political climate, Food and Drug Administration testing and approval of Sativex is about as likely as an FDA ban on tobacco products. The real solution is, ironically, contained in a 1988 ruling by the Drug Enforcement Administration's own chief administrative law judge: Move marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. Such a designation would continue strict control but also would enable doctors to legally prescribe marijuana, just as they do with the Schedule II drugs morphine and cocaine. It would open the doors to widespread research and development of safe alternatives to smoking. The DEA's brass rejected the ruling out of hand. A court upheld their decision following a challenge in 1994. Congress has the power to reschedule marijuana through legislation. If lawmakers would listen to the voices of the voters, they'd realize that rescheduling isn't legalization or even decriminalization. It's just compassion and common sense. Complete Title: It's Up To Congress: Reclassify Marijuana as a Schedule II DrugSource: Register-Guard, The (OR) Published: June 10, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Medical Marijuana Information Links Fight Far From Over Will Congress Have The Guts To Tackle MMJ? Let Congress Legalize It 
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Comment #3 posted by charmed quark on June 10, 2005 at 16:27:46 PT
Why schedule 2?
Marinol, pure THC, is schedule 3. Cannabis, or even an extract, are much weaker than Marinol. They should be scheduled no higher and probably lower.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 10, 2005 at 14:01:25 PT
Press Release from MPP
Medical Marijuana Plaintiff Angel Raich Joins Medical, Religious Leaders to Urge Congress to Protect Patients; Vote on Medical Marijuana LoomsJune 10, 2005To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor, Legal Reporter Contact: Bruce Mirken of Marijuana Policy Project, 202-543-7972 or 415-668-6403; News Advisory:Telephone Press Conference Monday, June 13, 12:30 p.m. Medical Marijuana Plaintiff Angel Raich Joins Medical, Religious Leaders to Urge Congress to Protect Patients; Vote on Medical Marijuana LoomsDETAILS:In the wake of Monday's Supreme Court ruling that federal authorities may continue to arrest medical marijuana patients in states where medical marijuana is legal, plaintiff Angel Raich will come to Washington, D.C., on Monday, June 13, to lobby Congress with medical and religious leaders. Raich and her supporters will urge Congress to pass the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, which would bar the Justice Department from attacking patients in states with medical marijuana laws. The amendment is expected to be voted on next week, possibly as soon as Tuesday. The efforts will be discussed at a telephone press conference on Monday, June 13, at 12:30 p.m. EDT.WHAT: Telephone press conference to discuss efforts in Congress to protect medical marijuana patients.WHO: Supreme Court plaintiff Angel Raich; a representative of the United Methodist Church; Don Murphy, executive director of Republicans for Compassionate Access; and other medical and religious leaders to be announced.WHEN: Monday, June 13, 12:30 p.m. EDT.TELEPHONE NUMBER: 800-310-6649, pass code 3323408.With more than 17,000 members and 120,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, visit: Copyright: 2005 U.S. Newswire
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 10, 2005 at 13:51:28 PT
MPP: Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment
The U.S. Supreme Court puts the medical marijuana issue in Congress' court ... Urge your member of Congress to vote for the Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment!Dear Friends:On June 6, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 that the federal government can continue arresting patients who use medical marijuana legally under their state laws. However, the court did not overturn state medical marijuana laws or in any way interfere with their continued operation. Now the ball is in Congress' court.In the next few weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on an amendment that would end the federal government's barbaric attacks on seriously ill patients in states with medical marijuana laws. We are in striking distance of passing the amendment, but we need your help to do it.The Hinchey-Rohrabacher medical marijuana amendment* would bar the U.S. Department of Justice -- including the Drug Enforcement Administration -- from spending any money to raid or arrest bona fide medical marijuana patients.Citizens in nine states and the District of Columbia have voted to protect patients afflicted with HIV/AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other horrible diseases from arrest and prison, and three states have enacted medical marijuana laws though their state legislatures. National polls consistently show that around 70% of Americans support medical marijuana access for seriously ill patients. Yet, sadly, the federal government continues to raid and arrest these patients.We need your help. It is time to end the federal interference in state medical marijuana laws once and for all -- so your member of Congress needs to hear from you.Taking action is easy. Simply visit our take action page. By entering your ZIP code, the system will automatically prompt you to send an e-mail to your representative.We appreciate your assistance and look forward to continuing to fight for you and with you in the future.Sincerely,Steve Fox
Director of Government Relations
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.* Language of the amendment (2004): "None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used to prevent the States of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, or Washington from implementing State laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana in those States." (It is expected that the language of the amendment will be the same -- with the addition of Montana -- when it is proposed on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives during consideration of the Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations bill.)
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