Should DEA Remove Cannabis from Schedule I? [POLICYbrief]
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Should DEA Remove Cannabis from Schedule I? [POLICYbrief]

Currently, cannabis is illegal in all circumstances
in the United States. It’s a Schedule I substance and according
to the feds, uh, using it, selling it, producing it, processing it, is against the law. We have a kind of split system at the moment,
where various states have taken action at the state level that the federal government
declined to prosecute. Various congresspeople from various states,
oftentimes Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, have over the years proposed that the federal
restrictions should be eliminated. Cannabis should be rescheduled. Uh, that has not met with overall approval,
however, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. A substance is deemed a Schedule I substance
if it meets a three-part test. That is, first: uh, it has no medical use
at all. Second: it is not approved to be, to be used
safely in any medical procedure or for any medical purpose in the United States. And it is deemed to have a high potential
for abuse or misuse. If a substance meets these criteria, um, FDA
and DEA are to inform the attorney general that that substance should be a Schedule I
substance. Now, we come to cannabis. The abuse potential is actually quite high. It’s, uh, it’s surprisingly dependent-producing,
or addictive-producing, for the individual who takes it. And most consequential for cannabis is there
is as yet no known therapeutic value where it has been adjudged by the Food and Drug
Administration, through careful clinical trials, to have a known effect that is therapeutic
and beneficial that might outweigh these other risks. So, it fails on those criteria and as such,
is appropriately placed in Schedule I. This is a substance that is used by millions
of Americans every day. Uh, this is a substance that doctors see as
having medical benefits for their patients for a variety of conditions. These are real conditions and these are relationships
between doctors and patients, uh, that are telling doctors that the benefits are real. It is important then to get government out
of the business of blocking that type of medical research and blocking patients from getting
the relief that they need. Very often the argument is, “Well, the government
has suppressed research and not enabled people to get access to cannabis because they make
it so difficult to get control.” This is not an altogether fair argument. As a matter of fact, it’s somewhat of a misleading
argument. The government has currently 300 and some
cannabis trials going on under NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse. What we don’t have, however, is gold standard
medical research around the question of what types of conditions cannabis can help treat,
what doses of cannabis, what types of cannabis products can help alleviate the symptoms or
help cure certain diseases, and so individuals throughout the United States are self-medicating. The difficulty isn’t that the government doesn’t
want you to do that and therefore withholds the cannabis, it’s that the research on the
clinical value, therapeutic benefit, of cannabis is extremely, devilishly challenging to pull
off. You can’t do a placebo-controlled double-blind
because people darn well know, being cannabis-experienced, whether they’re getting THC intoxicant or
not. There is no legitimate basis for believing
that cannabis should be left as a Schedule I substance. Schedule I substances include heroin and ecstasy. Schedule II substances include things like
opioids and cocaine. Why? Because opioids and cocaine have medical benefits. Uh, we know that cannabis-derived substances,
uh, can have medical benefits. FDA has already approved a cannabis-based
medicine. The only thing that leaving cannabis as a
Schedule I substance does, is makes it harder for researchers to get to the answers that
they want and that the public wants. A lot of misleading information and claims
and promises have been made about the purported medical value of cannabis or the value to
society of liberating us from outdated and oppressive drug control laws. Basically, it’s the science of what we know
at the moment. That is, until it demonstrates and is demonstrable
to medical evaluation that the three criteria of safety, therapeutic value, and low abuse
potential have been addressed, you’re not gonna reschedule a drug from the
condition of I to any other schedule until it meets those criteria. A lot of individuals in the United States
believe that, uh, cannabis should be descheduled entirely. They say that, uh, there is a freedom that
exists in this country for individuals to make choices over the substances that they
put in their own bodies. I think one of the most convincing reasons
to deschedule cannabis and set up a federal regulatory system in its place, um, is that
there is a reality in the United States that cannabis is moving in the direction of legality. The federal government is best positioned
and really the only institution positioned to create that consistency at the state level,
and they can only really do that through de-scheduling. How, for instance, would you abide by the
international controls? The, the signatories to the treaties, the
1961, uh, uh, treaty that we have with the United Nations. How would we stop cannabis from coming across
the border from Canada or Mexico if it were descheduled and completely uncontrolled
outside the federal system? My impression is that rescheduling cannabis
is down to a simple calculation of, uh, cost and benefit, and any serious appraisal of
the genuine costs to public health, criminal justice, international security, versus the
purported benefits, is so overwhelmingly loaded for the cost of rescheduling that they should,
should occasion in us enormous caution.


  • Michael Keating

    As with many things these days, federal prohibition of marijuana is grossly unconstitutional. It is an impingement on states rights and a violation of individual liberty. Honest people must concede that growing and using cannabis in one's own home is NOT interstate commerce by any reasonable definition.


    prohibition, as shown throughout history, creates black market profit motives for criminals, gangs, mafias, cartels etc. these groups use the sale of such prohibited goods to fund other criminal operations. prohibition not only makes criminals out of otherwise law abiding people, but also gives the government an excuse to further infringe on liberty due to the rise in newly emerging/manufactured "criminal activity" as a result. it not only promotes black market sales and funds criminal enterprise, but also puts otherwise law abiding people in danger by giving them no alternative besides dealing with potentially violent gangs and others of the like. since the beginning of the war on drugs the population in american prisons has sky rocketed. private for profit prisons arose as a result and currently the US has the highest prison population in the world. the war on drugs (especially cannabis) is not a war on drugs, it's a war on people. it's a war on the ability of an individual to make choices for him/herself about what goes into their own body. prohibition and similar legislation provides government a higher claim over the lives of individuals than the individuals should have themselves. simply put, it's just more evidence that the american dream is not reality, and the current reality of government in the united states is far from the reality intended by the founders of this so-called free country.

  • 03DM M240

    5:33 This guy is a throwback from the ‘70s. Worse, he talks about controlling illicit cannabis coming over the border if the federal government de-scheduled it. Now think about that, why in the world would the cartels or smugglers in general smuggle a LEGAL SUBSTANCE? His logic is patently backwards in this case. Nowhere in his talking points is the idea of constitutionality or not. He is all about respecting the regulations and international treaties from the 60s with the UN but the U.S. Constitution? Nope. He is a regulator of the highest order.

  • Mark Wick

    Whether cannibus is addictive or not (its not) really has nothing to do with the fact that I'm a free adult individual and am capable of deciding for myself what I consume in my own body! I dont need approval for decisions I make. Oh and as far as "how we would control cannibus coming in to the country from canada or mexico" … I imagine that way we control it now!!

  • Buck Spoon

    Legislation will have to get approval from the Cartels and the mafia that they are getting kickbacks from!

  • Cosmic Surfer

    Where did that old fogey reefer madness guy come from. He must be getting paid by big Pharma and Alcohol companies.

  • Propaganda Slayer

    Cannibus has the lowest rate of addiction among every other illicit drug there is, including alchohol.

    Cannibus has proven time and again to competently suppress epileptic seizures, and is considered to be the only drug to successfully treat PTSD.

    The fact that the federal government has even considered to classify cannibus as a schedule 1 is highly suspicious, and creates many questions on the intentions behind such an irrational act.

  • John Davis

    The government not only knows of medical benefits for cannibus, they have not one but two patents on medical marijuana substances- one of which is marinol….. This guy is completely ignorant of modern knowledge regarding cannibus and it pissed me off that there are still people that uneducated on the subject making arguments against it!!

  • K P

    There are only two kinds of people that oppose the legalization of cannabis the ones that are ignorant on the subject and the ones that make money off of it being illegal.

  • Steven Moore


  • Steven Moore

    Documented servants of corruption = BIG_PH [F] ARMA ? ARE WE PIGS TO THEIR EYES ?

  • Tom S

    The old gray is under informed and totally biased. If he was crippled with pain from arthritis or any of the numerous conditions that qualify patients in MMJ states he would quickly adopt a drastically different point of view

  • Lynn Wilson

    It pisses me off to think about how many lives have been ruined because of the abolition of marijuana. Not only that but the countless people who could have benefitted from its use.

  • Chris Argust

    Im a yard driver and smoke all day. Im there best driver on the yard, they couldent fire me if they wanted to. Zero accidents zero issues with safety in the 8 years I've been driveing. I've smoked every day a 8th the whole 8 years.

  • Zack Duck

    Go watch an M.S patient smoke 2 hits of a bowl and tell me it didnt cure them for an hour or 2. Or maybe go watch your friend have only 2 seizures a day instead of 8 cuz he smokes high cbd stuff. Maybe youd like to watch your mother have an allergic reaction to Ibuprofen instead of watching her smoke part of a bowl and do work all day. Or maybe watch depressed zombie people commit suicide because of anti deppresion pill instead of happy smokers that live normal lives. Oh how bout watching someone not eat untill they weigh 105 pounds at 6 foot 3, or maybe smoke them up and they eat the whole house gaining 10 pounds in a day or 2. There is an uncountable forms of medicinal use for this plant and there is uncountable proof of this on this very platform. Go watch a video on any of the examples I've left.

  • Adam Bowman

    Marijuana should not be legalized for any reason at all. And we need to bring back prohibition on alcohol while we're at it. A grey boring sober society with no chemical release, everyone should state at themselves completely sober at all times. No questions no exemptions.


    But weed can be used medically! And tobacco products and fully be abused and that shit kills people but it’s legal….. I don’t get why the FEDS taking so long to make weed legal after all the damn evidence about weed like it blows my fucking mind that tobacco and alcohol is legal and they kill you but weed is illegal, is a schedule 1 drug, and it’s illegal🤦‍♂️ American logic

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