Good First Step: Holder Puts End To Med Pot Raids

Good First Step: Holder Puts End To Med Pot Raids
Posted by CN Staff on March 04, 2009 at 14:27:46 PT
Source: Appeal-Democrat
USA -- Attorney General Eric Holder, in response to a question at a news conference last Wednesday, affirmed that the Obama administration's policy will be to end Drug Enforcement Administration raids on medical marijuana patients and providers in states like California that have laws allowing people with a recommendation from a doctor to use marijuana medicinally. This is good news, but it should be followed by a more thoroughgoing reassessment of the strict federal policy that still makes any use of marijuana, even for medicinal purposes, a crime.
All the scientific evidence and even the way the law in question is written, would seem to demand such a reform.California's voters, of course, changed California law in 1996 to allow those with a recommendation from a licensed physician to grow, possess and use marijuana therapeutically. The problem is that marijuana remains on Schedule I under the federal Controlled Substances Act, which means that no use is permitted. Thus, DEA agents, who before California's law was passed had confined their attention mostly to major traffickers and growers with 1,000 plants or more, began to raid dispensaries that were scrupulously abiding by California law and even paying state taxes.Although President Barack Obama promised during the campaign that this misallocation of law enforcement resources would end if he was elected, the DEA conducted several raids in California and Colorado since the inauguration, including a few on the very day Holder was sworn in as attorney general. This had the appearance of Bush holdovers who had not yet been replaced essentially thumbing their noses at the incoming administration.So Holder's statement that "What he [President Obama] said during the campaign is now American policy" was more than welcome as recognition that the United States is still to some extent a federal republic, in which the states are free to experiment with approaches to public policy issues. Further changes in the way federal law is implemented should be the next step.The 1970 Controlled Substances Act includes different "schedules" on which drugs are placed, which dictate increasing levels of control, theoretically in response to different levels of dangerousness. Schedule I is the most restrictive schedule, and it is illegal to prescribe such drugs or to possess them except in limited situations involving supervised research.The criteria for Schedule I are as follows: "A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse, B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."Marijuana does not meet any of these criteria. In 1988 the then-chief administrative law judge of the DEA, Francis Young, stated as much in an extensive advisory opinion based on several years of hearings. This view was reaffirmed by an extensive 1999 report in book form by the government's Institute of Medicine, which summarized all the most recent research documenting marijuana's medicinal uses and potential.As the law is written, then, marijuana does not belong on Schedule I. If anything it belongs on Schedule V, the least-restrictive schedule. But even putting it on Schedule II (along with cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, PCP and opium) would allow physicians and their patients to use it appropriately. It would still not allow "recreational" use.We understand that the Obama administration has a lot on its plate. But correcting this ongoing mistake, thereby alleviating a great deal of pain and suffering nationwide, is worth consideration.Source: Appeal-Democrat (CA)Published: March 04, 2009Copyright: 2009 Freedom CommunicationsContact: Articles:Leaving MMJ To States is a Welcome Change Obama, Drug War Tactics Poised To Shift
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on March 05, 2009 at 07:56:42 PT
Observer comment 6
Right on!
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Comment #7 posted by GeoChemist on March 05, 2009 at 03:35:14 PT
Cannabis does not meet any of the criteria for a schedule I substance but tobacco sure the hell does. Sorry smokers, but I am just pointing out the hypocrisy.
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Comment #6 posted by observer on March 04, 2009 at 19:01:41 PT
And Stop Jailing People for Cannabis 'Crimes'
Yeah, rescheduling is better than nothing I suppose. Half a loaf and so on. Call it what you may, but I'm working toward stopping the arrests and the imprisonment of people for cannabis 'crimes'. That includes growing, selling, and, using. For any use that adults see fit. Jailing people for what they put into their own bodies invalidates the very concept of ownership. Now, maybe we really are some kind of totalitarians or live in a total state where one does not, in fact, own their own bodies. If so, then perhaps cannabis prohibition (or any other arbitrary decree deemed best by Dear Leader) makes sense, as you belong to the government (community, leader, state, church, etc.), and you do not own yourself. No, adults are not children. No, we are not each others' (zoo)keepers or jailers or otherwise appointed to treat each other like animals. (Heck, you wouldn't treat cattle the way cops treat us: cattle prods only use enough juice to get a cow's attention, not 50,000 volts of fibrillation-inducing, grand mal seizure causing, knock-you-to-the pavement power. But I digress.) Sure, reschedule. But ultimately we want our legal birthright back. Adults should be as free to use cannabis as they are to use crocuses or dandelions or St. John's Wort. Jailing people for using flowers is inhuman.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 04, 2009 at 17:46:47 PT
Why I want it rescheduled is because cannabis has medicinal value. It's an herb like other medicinal herbs. If it's rescheduled to III they would have to adjust penalties for having it and growing it I would think.
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Comment #4 posted by josephlacerenza on March 04, 2009 at 17:31:49 PT
Re; Rescheduling
FoM, I really feel this is the ONLY next logical step, politically speaking, for the feds/Obama to be able to do; sell it as part of a prescription drug deal? 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on March 04, 2009 at 16:30:20 PT
If Cannabis would be rescheduled so many positive outcomes could happen.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on March 04, 2009 at 15:34:04 PT
two tasks
I didn't realize - if Obama moves cannabis from Sched. 1 to 2 that would probably allow Prof. Craker to proceed also.time to get some people running the DEA & FDA to do this
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Comment #1 posted by josephlacerenza on March 04, 2009 at 15:28:39 PT
I have to say it again
Cannabis schedule I, Marinol schedule III, not to mention the government has a patent on the medical benefits of cannabinoids. Please Obama, see the hypocrisy and fix this. I am personally not asking you to legalize cannabis, just reschedule it. Make it easier for us to research it and our medical patients to use it!!!!!!
They Know the Truth
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