The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin, is a national joke that barely has any public supporters these days. Declaring marijuana a drug with a high rate of abuse with no accepted medical value is laughable considering the medicinal benefits that have been shown, the fact that half of the nation’s population now lives under medical marijuana laws and the federal government actually cultivates and distributes marijuana to a handful of federal patients. There seems to be a groundswell of mainstream support to reschedule cannabis and the Las Vegas Review-Journal has joined the chorus:
The DEA currently defines Schedule I drugs as substances “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” They are “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” These drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and marijuana. Since marijuana is now widely used for medicinal purposes, it makes more sense to classify the drug under Schedule II, which as the DEA says, is comprised of drugs that have “less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs,” but “are also considered dangerous.” These include drugs such as methamphetamine, Oxycontin, and Adderall.
Beyond getting the Department of Justice out of the growing legal marijuana industry, reclassifying marijuana will keep more nonviolent offenders out of jail and prison, as well as generate more tax revenue for states and local governments.
It’s an important — and long overdue — start to changing the costly trajectory of the failed war on drugs.
The Review-Journal notes that the CARERS Act, introduced by Rand Paul on the Republican side and Democrats Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand would reschedule marijuana to Schedule II, a policy supported by Hillary Clinton. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has more wisely called for marijuana to be removed from the list controlled substances, effectively ending federal cannabis prohibition. Rescheduling marijuana is a fine first step and a symbolic victory, but Sen. Sanders is correct in calling for the complete descheduling of cannabis, so marijuana can be regulated by the states, just as they regulate alcohol today.