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Recently we got to hear a bit of regurgitated nonsense from the DEA about how - yawn - marijuana has 'no medical value whatsoever.'

None.

Nada.

Zilch.

Most people familiar with the outside world know that marijuana is used medicinally in a variety of ways; that there are numerous state with medial marijuana laws helping people who meet certain criteria get safe, legal access to it. Indeed, it is most likely the next wonder drug.

Well now the Office of National Drug Control Policy has admitted that marijuana has ‘some’ medical value in a recently tweaked statement from the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"While there may be medical value for some of the individual components of the cannabis plant, the fact remains that smoking marijuana is an inefficient and harmful method for delivering the constituent elements that have or may have medicinal value,"
It's just a nuanced little thing, really.

(The entire report here.)

The issue with the "Scheduling" of cannabis as "Schedule 1" is a longstanding mockery of reality and quite suitably skewered in Dope Sick

Schedule I drugs are serious loads. Heroin, morphine-N-Oxide, codeine-N-Oxide, methaqualone, BZP--whole families of up, down and sideways machines that doctors can't even prescribe because of all the trouble they can cause. And there, sharing the pharmacological Group W bench with these badasses, sits poor, wimpy cannabis.

Wimpy? Yup. A substance for which there is no known overdose level. Meaning that while you could conceiveably asphixiate if you immersed yourself in enough of its smoke, no chemical in that smoke can kill you. In any amount. It's possible you could choke to death eating it, but that's true of donuts.

But the DEA's mission, along with that of the ONDCP and the Drug Czar is to lie about marijuana (no...really) and to specifically prevent the change many people have been working for for decades and this "Schedule I" classification has made it pretty easy.

People have tried to 'follow the rules' to get cannabis rescheduled but it's endless stonewalling, dead-ends and Moebius loops. The DEA sends to to the HHS who sends you to NIDA who sends to back to the HHS who sends to back to the DEA who sits on your application for a year before the same nonsense repeats itself.

Apparently they cannot just come out and say NO! STOP TRYING!

Actually, the DEA has been working on reclassifying 'Dronabinol' for a couple years (unsure what's standing in their way) and now the ONDCP  - the actual proprganda arm of the White House's War on Drugs - has adjusted the age-old "no medical benefit" party line to read "some non-smoked medical benefit".... as long as you aren't just smoking it at your leisure.

Cannabis is fine if a corporation makes a processed, profitable product out of it.

What this is going to be about, mark my word, is making marijuana available for Big Pharma to profit off of while the rest of us continue to be denied.

"The DEA's intent is to expand the federal government's schedule III listing to include pharmaceutical products containing naturally derived formations of THC while simultaneously maintain existing criminal prohibitions on the plant itself," Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), wrote at AlterNet.

With its proposal, the DEA is responding to the demands of large pharmaceutical companies, he claimed.

Marijuana plants and THC extracts would remain illegal under the proposal, but companies would be able to purchase THC from a government-licensed provider to develop pharmaceutical products.

I usually discourage people from wasting too much time talking about 'why marijuana was made illegal in the first place. Those reasons have little to do with WHY marijuana is STILL illegal.

And I won't go into it; but I will toss out an unscientific observation - marijuana - the cannabis plant - represents something for nothing.

Everybody knows (or should by now) all the different uses for the plant, but the wonderful intoxicating aspects can be had by anybody with the time to grow it. You can enjoy it and nobody anywhere else will make so much as a penny off your efforts.

People have been talking regulation and taxation" but the plant IS already taxed. The government simply refuses to sell you the 'tax stamp' so if you are caught "possessing' cannabis you are 'possing it without a license and THAT'S the crime of the century. It's the taxation that makes it illegal and killed hemp production in the US.

So, unsurprising to cynical persons like myself, we are seeing a set-up where American Pharmacy Corporations - Lilly, Pfizer, Roche,etc... -  can get into the cannabis-based medicine game while everyday Americans continue to get screwed out of all the different uses of this plant and 800000 people are arrested each year.

Fits very well with our new Gilded Age, if you ask me.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Tue Jul 12, 2011 at 04:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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