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Cannabis is now legal, under state law, in two states.  It is available by prescription in quite a few.  Yet federal law still bans it under all circumstances.  It is listed under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, along with heroin, LSD, and other drugs that are flat-out banned.  Thus federal agents, especially the DEA, can bust anyone under federal law who is using it legally under state law.

When President Obama was first elected, he invited comments from the public as to what his agenda should be.  Legalizing marijuana was high on the list (pun intended).  Yet he has steered the opposite course.  Dispensaries in California have been busted, and US Attorneys are warning people that just because their state legalized it, that won't protect users against federal pot busts.

I'm frankly not sure what the President is smoking, but his enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act has been far more enthusiastic, shall we say, than many of his supporters expected.  While the law still exists, he has done nothing to change it.  Public opinion now favors legalization, at least under some circumstances.  And Obama's supporters are not the kind of social-conservative bluenoses who hate it on principle, nor the kind of racists who originally proscribed it because it was seen in the 1930s as a "negro drug".  He's appealing to people who wouldn't support him anyway.  But the White House has been afraid or unwilling to make any moves, and we're now facing a crisis of federalism where the liberal side, for once, is siding with states.  That doesn't sound like a great idea.

But there is an answer that is so limited in scope, so hyper-cautious, that there is really very little risk to it.  It isn't the long-term answer, but it is about 50 years too late.  It would make a great gift to America to have it in his State of the Union Address next month.

The President should simply propose to Congress that Cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule II.

Schedule II is how the Controlled Substances Act treats drugs considered to be highly addictive and dangerous, but with at least some medical value.  (Schedule I theoretically means that there is no medical value.  The Supreme Court has already held that the law does not have to comport with reality in making that judgment.)  Cocaine, hardly safe, is Schedule II, along with Morphine. Oxycodone (Rush's favorite), and dozens of other things that really don't belong in your supermarket's health and beauty aids section.

So if real cannabis is moved to Schedule II, then medical uses become legal, but under tight restrictions.  Prescriptions can't be refilled, though they can be written for 90 days' supply.  Prescriptions are subject to tight record-keeping.  So dispensaries can't act casually about it, but licensed distribution is carefully monitored and restricted.  It's a long way from legalization and frankly still doesn't let state laws work right.

But Schedule II makes it possible for someone to possess a substance legally, and makes writing prescriptions legal under federal law.  So doctors don't have to worry about their own status, and mere users don't have to worry about busts.  The distribution chain may still, in practice, end up operating outside of federal law, but there could at least be a fully legal supply.  Recreational use, of course, would remain banned, though enforcement agents would have to have reason to think that it was not being used medically.

And then, when the sky doesn't fall, it can be moved down the chain to Schedule III or IV, where it's basically just a prescription drug.  

I'm not writing this for my own personal use.  I live in a state that just voted to legalize medical use last month.  I have no intention of using it, either medically or recreationally -- I don't like it.  Ironically, I have a medical condition that is near the top of everyone's list for using cannabis, but other medications are working well for me, better than mary jane is ever supposed to do.  I'm more concerned about the societal costs of this idiotic policy, wherein the courts are kept busy with marijuana offenses, where the prison-industrial complex is fed harmless offenders, where extra enforcement against African-Americans is a tool of disenfranchisement, and where even fully legitimate medical use is discouraged by possible sanctions against practitioner and patient alike.

If President Obama did make the call this year, he may find an interesting coalition to back him.  Many Republicans claim to be libertarians, and given the popularity of medical marijuana, they and others who talk about "small government" might have to put their votes where their mouth is and vote to save the government money by supporting the move.  A few ConservaDems may vote against it in obeisance to a dying political calculus of "moderation" or maintaining cultural distance from "hippie freaks", but they will likely be outnumbered.  I see it as a win-win for the President and Congress.  And there aren't many of those this season.

Originally posted to Frenzy. Illusion. Shadow. Fiction. on Sat Dec 08, 2012 at 08:29 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


Should President Obama call for medical marijuana to be moved to Schedule II?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Mendocino county had a zip tie registration (17+ / 0-)

    program for medical mj grows, the names and addresses were kept as county records, police could check the zip tie reg number against the zip tie on the plant to verify the grow was legal and in compliance...a good step by the county and state and the zip tie medical mj growers.
       These growers are not the drug gangs or fly by night slash and burn scammers, these are people trying to get in compliance.

    The Feds haven't done crap this year about the obvious (to a six year old) seen with google earth where the illegal grows are, and their environmental devastation they are causing in all the norcal watersheds.

    The Feds did little this year, the crops are in, growers openly saying they will double their clear cutting pesticide, fertilizer , and rodenticide laced grows next year to compensate for lower prices.. and because the fact the feds are not doing the big grow busts...and neither basically is the county sheriffs...just a few for appearances sake maybe. And since there is now less risk of being caught, why not put in even bigger grows?

    These growers by the way are largely against  legalization duh, and openly spent money to defeat legalization efforts wherever.
       They are as much the enemy as any DOJ stooge or bumbling politician, and deserve as much blame as can be heaped...and there is a lot of blame to go around.

    The big Federal crackdown?:

    They have subpoenaed the Mendocino county zip tie programs names and addresses.

    ...while letting poisons and muck from rampant illegal forest grows wash into the salmon streams.

    The owners skate free.

    Good work DOJ!!!

    Bust down on those medical mj growers! Roll cameras!

     A large percentage of the 'owners' of these illegal and devastating forest grows are get rich quick criminal gangs and fast buck artists.   Their workers get hired as day labor and exploited by threats and intimidation tactics...and get deported and maybe 30-90 days in jail if caught. A rare bust recently produced about 50 workers from local. This was almost certainly a local grower who ratted them out. Local corruption with a billion dollar industry? You betcha!

      The bust effort is to wait until after harvest and then the police profile and confiscate money from sales to support....the police and DA.


    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:20:49 AM PST

    •  Thanks, Ken (8+ / 0-)

      I have read some stuff about these illegal growers, but you know law enforcement- they go for the low hanging fruit.
      Please see my comment below about a documentary I watched yesterday about the war on drugs. I thought it was fascinating.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 04:02:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting comment, but a futile strategy (6+ / 0-)

      1. The first issue I have is expecting law enforcement to stop the flow of illegal marijuana. It has failed for fifty years, and I don't expect that to change.
      2. The difference between hydroponic, organic, indoor grown marijuana and outdoor grown marijuana is huge. Besides the "high," the indiscriminate use of fertilizers make the smoke very harsh. Why eff around in the forest when you can grow it by the ton in a commercial greenhouse that was growing sprouts or geraniums? Add to this a vibrant, homegrown market to push out illegal bottom shelf weed.

      Full legalization is the only answer, as the free markets will continually increase the quality of MJ and put prices in free fall.  A tax stamp and inspection of dispensaries is the single cheapest and effective way to stop illegal growing.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:59:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  greenhouses are in the forest, many many many (0+ / 0-)

        big shiny ones clearly visible from google earth.

        my point is that the feds haven't done much of anything recently about  regional environmental damage yet they go after the only people trying to work with police and be within the law, and clearly of no danger to anybody.

        not a good look.

        as to indoor, fuck that too, you think that is a pure industry without damage?

        estimates of 10% of humboldt's electricity is going to indoor grows, a figure not really challenged.

        the cost of housing goes up, gangs and guns are invading houses and neighborhoods, housing costs go up, and Eureka area very poor...and then the houses are very damaged afterwards and not fit to live in.
          In the context of the illegality, MJ does indeed become a gateway drug as meth and crack and heroin all swim in the same stream, drug addicts find a community.
           If mj were a legal industry, those people would be under the bus instant.

        Nothing positive about indoor growing imo.

        And if you think all or even most indoor in grown in groovy little cabinets or tents, look again.

        Illegalization is a national disaster and disgrace however one looks at it.

        Legalization is the only solution, followed by real enforcement of zoning and water quality laws.

        And if that govt effort needs to be funded by taxation on sales great, but remember that also encourages illegal grows and sales, yet again, with even lower profit margins. The savings will come over time from more effective use of law enforcement, less court and system costs, and more respect for the rule of law.

        Worst part in a wider sense is that the rule of law shot itself in both feet here and will take generations to fix.

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:15:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Politicians are cowards (12+ / 0-)

    They're afraid to support marijuana legalization (even though every single indicator says it would bring in more revenue and reduce crime rates), because they want to be seen as strong on law and order.
    Law enforcement sees prohibition as a cash cow- large scale arrests can result in confiscation of large amounts of cash and property, which they are allowed to keep, even sometimes when the offender is found innocent.
    Law enforcement also gets a lot of money from the feds to fight the "war on drugs".
    The first step we have to take is to get Holder and the DoJ to stop prosecuting legal growers and sellers.
    I just watched an hour long documentary yesterday that I'm writing a diary about called "Break the Taboo" about how many countries all over the world have suffered under the US's "War on Drugs", and they're waking up to the fact that it's making things worse, not better. Now they are calling for change. Here's a the trailer:

    Well worth watching the whole thing. Even for someone who is fairly knowledgeable about the drug war, it was eye-opening.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 03:59:54 AM PST

    •  either that, or put alcohol & cigs on Sched 1 list (10+ / 0-)

      That would be fine with the Mormons, but no so much with the
      But, if the criterion for Schedule II is 'dangerous and addictive', these products fit the definition. The war on drugs has done more damage to the society than the totality of it's supposed benefits. Not the least of which is the total disregard for scientific investigation or the lack of consideration at the consequences of this feeble minded policy.
      Legalize and tax the dispensation of pot for the benefit of society and the economy. How long until this sort of attitude produces a $Trillion for the nation? Between the extra revenue of pot sales and decreased spending by courts, police and incarceration, this is a gold mine for the country. If only the politics of the nation weren't so committed to crapping on the other side, we might see progress.

      •  I think if you move cigarettes to Schedule 1 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        you will show the world exactly why the ban on cannabis is bullshit.
        Unfortunately, you won't change most minds.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:42:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah, yeah... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elkhunter, skohayes, Calamity Jean

          hoo boy; tobacco moved to schedule 1 would be a boondoggle to gangs, organized crime, and the like.

          I know it is not your point, but... wow.

          Just make marijuana legal, with a tax in the field and at wholesale to retail sales-points.
          There'll be enough money to go around for plenty to get greedy/greedier.

          By the way, now that states are allowing marijuana sales at dispenseries, why isn't the street price of illicit pot tumbling? There should be some supply side effect by now.

          Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

          by Nebraska68847Dem on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:42:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Both have medical uses (0+ / 0-)

        Nicotine--which can be synthesized, but is orders of magnitude cheaper to gather from tobacco--can be used to treat various diseases, including Parkinson's and Altzheimer's.

        You couldn't put nicotine itself on the schedule, all relatives of the nightshade family contain it and plenty of other plants.  That includes eggplant and tomatoes.

        Ethyl alcohol is used to counter methyl alcohol poisoning, plus a primary ingredient in sanitizers.

        (-6.25, -6.77) Moderate left, moderate libertarian

        by Lonely Liberal in PA on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:26:16 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I thought this was a well-reasoned piece. I agree (4+ / 0-)

    mj should be available for medical reasons, if the pill form of THC is not helpful.

    I also think the War on Drugs is being used as a cash cow by law enforcement. The book Savages by Don Winslow is about this issue. I don't know how closely the movie follows the book.

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:33:56 AM PST

    •  Pills don't work (7+ / 0-)

      The medicinal effect of cannabis is found in the complex matrix of compounds of the living plant, not in isolating one chemical from said plant. That reductionistic thinking is why we have dangerous white powders like cocaine, heroin and sugar- science cannot see the big picture of plant medicines.

      "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

      by US Blues on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:51:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've heard what you are saying, and I've heard the (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        opposite that they do work.

        "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

        by glorificus on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:02:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another consideration (6+ / 0-)

          The plant itself works without any additional processing. Making pills brings "big pharma" into the picture. The more steps between the natural product and the consumer the higher the price because of people in the middle, and corporations will grow on an industrial scale without regard for organic practices and other considerations that increase the potency of the medicine naturally. Herbal medicine works when done right.

          Personally, I like my medicine organic and unprocessed.

          "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

          by US Blues on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:40:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  pills work but not nearly as effective (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elkhunter, pistolSO

          as "whole" plant.

          The fact that the pre-packaged but not nearly as effective "pill" should be the indicator that cannabis needs to be repackaged for safe delivery in hospitals and home settings.

          Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

          by Nebraska68847Dem on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:44:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  And repeal the ridiculous laws against (8+ / 0-)

    Industrial hemp

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:34:16 AM PST

  •  LSD should be legal too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elkhunter, HeyMikey

    I have the god-given right to access my own vast consciousness in any way I choose, provided I don't hurt anybody else. No government has the right to limit my freedom in this way.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 07:57:08 AM PST

  •  There is no legitimate reason for any drug (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elkhunter, kyril

    to be illegal for possession. If someone wants to use a drug, that should be their business.

    Laws regulating the sale of dangerous drugs are reasonable. Making unsubstantiated claims should be illegal (and expanded to "food supplements"). Advertising should be heavily regulated or prohibited.

    At the same time, we should have active education and discouragement programs to help prevent people from getting hooked. Nancy Reagan was right- the solution is "just say no".

    This needs to be put in perspective. More people eat themselves to an early death than die of drugs. More people loaf themselves to an early death than die of drugs. More people drink or smoke themselves to an early death than die of illegal drugs. We could cure those problems by turning the country into a massive boot camp, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  •  Marinol is Schedule III. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, lurkyloo, leesuh, kyril

    There is a synthetic THC product already available and scheduled for medicinal purposes. It can be prescribed with unlimited refills.

    Contrary to US Blues opinion, it works. The problem with the legalization argument based on medicinal grounds is that a medicinal THC already exists. Yes, it is synthetic and purified and standardized. In pharmaceuticals that is not considered a bad thing.

    I am a physician and I have several patients on Marinol for pain and also for anxiety - much safer than the oft prescribed Valium and Xanax. Most are people who used to smoke pot and wanted a legal alternative (one woman who has asthma, so the pill form is better for her.) They all say it works.

    To take something that is available in a pill and to advocate for it in it's rough form to be burned and inhaled is absurd. Almost no medicine that is not intended to work on the lungs is delivered by inhalation (The inhaled insulin fell flat immediately after it was introduced.)

    Now, if we all got really honest about it and said it was a recreational product like alcohol and cigarettes, that would be something completely different.

    It would then be available over the counter, and wouldn't necessitate doctors getting involved with all the stoners making up fake reasons they need the "medicine."

    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 08:13:00 AM PST

    •  a big part of the problem with pot (0+ / 0-)

      is that it's both medicinal and recreational. that makes it hard for people to grasp.

      but it's definitely medicinal, at least the US Government thinks so:

      U.S. Patent # 6630507
      In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. U.S. Patent 6630507

      Granny Storm Crow's MMJ Reference List-686 pages of hyperlinks in PDF format Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift and that's why it's called "The Present".

      by elkhunter on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:43:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  x (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm a hospice doc. My experience prescribing Marinol hasn't been great.

      Better if we had Sativex, which is a combination of two cannabinoids. My Canadian colleagues seem to have better results with this than I've had with Marinol.

      Marinol also contains sesame oil (which came up exactly once because of a sesame allergy, which I suppose isn't so common).

      You can make your own cannabinoid tincture that doesn't require smoking as a route of administration.

      I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "almost no medication that is not intended to work on the lungs is delivered by inhalation". There are several drugs delivered via inhalation that have systemic effects. The respiratory tract has a large mucosal surface for drug absorption.

      Many anesthesia agents are delivered by inhalation. Effects are not local lung effects but systemic effects.

      Inhaled fentanyl works systemically. This route takes into account the lipophilic nature of the drug.

      Nebulized naloxone can treat opioid overdose.

      Several corticosteroids have equivalent bioavailability or better bioavailability from inhaled formulation compared to oral formulation. Beclomethasone, budesonide, fluticasone, triamcinolone all have greater than 20% systemic bioavailability after inhalation.

      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      by Skipbidder on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:14:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about "almost no self administered drugs?" (0+ / 0-)

        I'd be fine with a cannabinoid tincture. I assume, however, that it's taken orally, not inhaled.  In fact the Sativex sounds good also.

        I've found Marinol to work with post op neuropathic pain - to the point of replacing opiates for two patients.  Not much good with other types of pain, though.

        With hospice patients, opiates would make more sense for all reasons.

        I'll watch out for the sesame allergy. Thanks.

        "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

        by New Jersey Boy on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 07:56:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sure (0+ / 0-)

          Absolutely. The tincture is swallowed. It avoids the problems you (and many of us) have with the idea of smoked hydrocarbon as a medication.

          Interesting anecdotes for Marinol post-op. The literature surrounding this is relatively sparse as well as often being contradictory. If you are an academic doc, I'd suggest considering submitting a case series. The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (which is the journal of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine) publishes case series with some regularity on subjects that lack sufficient high-quality randomized evidence. This is one of those areas. It certainly would be of interest to me, and I suspect it would be to many other pain docs as well. I think they'd strongly consider publishing it. If you get academic promotion credit for peer-reviewed case studies, it is much easier and less labor-intensive than trying to get a prospective study done.

          I also take care of palliative care patients in addition to hospice patients. Cannabinoids have some evidence in central multiple sclerosis pain. There are additional potential symptom applications for cannabinoids in both hospice and palliative medicine. Nausea and anorexia are possible targets. There is some suggestion of an opioid-sparing effect in analgesia as well. I sometimes run into dose-limiting side effects with opioid escalations as disease progresses and physiologic tolerance develops. Having another tool in my belt to deal with these problems would be helpful.

          I've got patients, even hospice patients, who don't want to take opioids (or their referring doc doesn't want them to have opioids). Sometimes these are folks with previous substance abuse problems. Sometimes they have seen friends or family members with adverse outcomes. If I had a commercially-available cannabinoid tincture or inhaler, it would be of potential use for at least some of these people. I'd especially like it if the process of making the tincture were quality-controlled, with relatively stable proportions of the various cannabinoids so that we can develop reasonable dosing guidelines. (The non-opioid pain management choices are often pretty limited otherwise. Antidepressant or antiepileptic adjuvants for neuropathic pain are plausible. APAP is plausible, but usually already been tried and is insufficient. NSAIDs are plausible, but risks are high in much of my population. Many with at least one element of gastropathy, nephropathy, or heart failure, or they are elderly--Beers' criteria meds. The topical NSAIDs are better, but grotesquely expensive in the US.)

          It's really a matter of quibbling regarding the use of inhaled medications. I'd personally like to see inhaled rescue opioid antagonists widely available for home prescription. As it is now, they are only available compounded. I write a lot of opioids, and I'd feel happier about it if I could potentially send home a rescue med. I'd also be able to talk some of my referral sources into being less afraid of them if I could send home inhaled naloxone.

          The plural of anecdote is not data.

          by Skipbidder on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 03:12:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I get a little tired of recreation being dumped on (12+ / 0-)

    Oh my god, folks will get cannabis and, you know, recreate with it!

    There's a department of parks and recreation at the city, county, state and federal level.  We obviously can deal with recreation if we choose to.

    Recreational pot smokers who smoke to much get hungry and take a nap.  It's the drinkers who kill all our people in their cars.

    So people smoke pot and recreate with a book, cooking, sex, painting, working out, the list of horrors goes on.  Terrible.

    •  Not politically possible yet (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elkhunter, pistolSO

      I am not saying in my diary that recreational use should be criminal.  But that dog simply won't hunt at the federal level.  And there aren't a lot of DFHs in Washington.  In fact the pols probably figure that DFHs don't vote often.

      But the first step to rationality is to legalize medical use.  That could pass Congress with bipartisan support and also help the president with his base.  It's a half step, but an important one, and changes the product from "illegal" to "legal", even if there are restrictions on its legal availability.

      Let's put this nail in Harry Anslinger's coffin.

      •  Hmmm DFH? (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        crescentdave, elkhunter, kyril, jabney

        Is it really about hippies? Remember - Marijuana legalization got more votes than Obama in Colorado, and polls by Gallup show national support for legalization at 50%. Had the fools in California waited two years for the bill there, legalization would have taken place there too.
        I think you are right that Congress runs 10 years behind national sentiment. But I think there are any number of states that will go legal with well drafted laws and well financed campaigns - like MT, VT, MA, RI. And another shot in four years in Oregon.

        "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

        by shmuelman on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:06:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's the fear of being perceived a DFH (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shmuelman, elkhunter, kyril, paradox

          Political culture does, as you note, run behind national sentiment. And it runs to the right.  So politicians fear being perceived as DFH-friendly, or being closet DFHs themselves.  It is silly, of course, but they probably fear negative campaigns that would bring out the prohibitionist crowd (though it would probably have to be from their graves).

          Of course part of it is "law and order", which was a code word for, well, the N-word.  That's still powerful among white voters, and the uneven enforcement of marijuana laws is consistent with racist intent.  Most well-off white kids who get a pot bust are let off; black kids are more likely to be branded felons.

      •  NOT politically possible? (7+ / 0-)

        As a 57 year old, non-pot smoking resident of the great state of Washington, I can tell you it IS politically possible.

        This just in: In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, those surveyed say by almost 2-1, 63%-34%, that the federal government shouldn't take steps to enforce federal marijuana laws in states that legalize pot.

        There is a sea change and there's no reason to tap dance around this issue. Promoting marijuana for medical use only completely misses the larger, more palatable and compelling point- the people want it for recreational use.

        If we can talk about republicans needing to become reality-based around changing demographics re: gay rights, Latino rights and more ... we need to wake up and smell the ganja ... the group that gives a shit about continuing to criminalize marijuana use is dying off.

        It's a generational thing. And those who advocate a restricted legalization, don't get it. The bus has passed them by- in the other lane. They're on the wrong side of history.  

        Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance. –Vaclav Havel

        by crescentdave on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 12:23:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I was not dumping on recreational use. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kyril, jabney

      I was advocating it.  I was dumping on medicinal use.

      "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

      by New Jersey Boy on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:12:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Exactly! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is change I can believe in!

    It allows the current administration to avoid being labeled "weak on crime"* and allows subsequent administrations the same.

    Of course it is political. That's what politicians do.

    *Yes, I recognize how silly the association it.

  •  Does anyone know if it really takes an Act of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Congress to reschedule marijuana? I thought that could be done by bureaucrats.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:01:14 AM PST

  •  maybe if Simpson/Bowles proposed sched III (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Obama would compromise on sched II

  •  Agreed, Schedule I is wrong an hypocritical (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elkhunter, kyril, HeyMikey

    Our government has concluded that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use."

    And yet U.S. Patent # 6630507, for the use of cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, was awarded to the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Our government simultaneously claims that cannabinoids have no medical value, and yet they hold a patent describing the medical value of cannabinoids!

    Furthermore, Schedule I is for lethal drugs.  It is impossible to overdose and die from marijuana.

    Schedule I is wrong on so many levels.

    But it's interesting that you mentioned LSD, which also has no lethal overdose levels.  It's been rumored that possession of a large quantity of LSD can incur charges of treason, attempting to overthrow the government. In Orwell's 1984 sexual relationships were forbidden because they made people passive and complacent.  Marijuana does that too, but it also agitates the status quo the way that LSD does. Furthermore, I view cannabis as a Upaya, that is, a spiritual facilitator.  Taken all together, you get a drug which induces contentment, the questioning of authority, and spiritual fulfillment. No wonder the powers that be have overcategorized it as Schedule I.

    You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

    by bondibox on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:13:55 AM PST

    •  It's actually due to anti-immigrant xenophobia. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If you examine the history of recreational drugs becoming illegal, it follows each drug's introduction by a new immigrant group.

      The country was founded by alcohol users, but when the Chinese were working on the transcontinental railroad, then were using opium for recreation, so it was outlawed.

      I don't remember for sure, but I think MJ was introduced by Central and South American immigrants and then made illegal.

      I don't think the drugs' pharmacology was really understood when these laws were originally passed.

      (I took a course about this in college many years ago, so I apologize if any details are off, but you get the idea.)

      "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

      by New Jersey Boy on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 11:04:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Original prohibition =/= Schedule I (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elkhunter, HeyMikey, jabney

        You may be right about the original prohibition of marijuana as a reaction to immigrants using it, but it wasn't until the controlled substances act of 1970 that it gained its Schedule I status.  When you examine the social unrest occurring at that time the draconian scheduling of this harmless drug makes sense as a method of controlling the population.

        You will not rest, settle for less • Until you guzzle and squander whats left • Do not deny that you live and let die - MUSE

        by bondibox on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 12:39:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no kidding, it was an attack by nixon against the (5+ / 0-)

          younger generation, that had the nerve to make him look bad with all their protests and demonstrations.

          my first time smoking was in 72 or 73 and with all the propaganda at the time i fully expected that i would become hooked after one use and went home thinking i had just thrown my entire life away.

          when nothing happened, i figured out that the adults were lying. and that deceit is a whole nuther part of this rarely gets talked about. for me it was..."so what else are they lying about?"

          Granny Storm Crow's MMJ Reference List-686 pages of hyperlinks in PDF format Yesterday's history, tomorrow's a mystery. Today is a gift and that's why it's called "The Present".

          by elkhunter on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 01:58:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yep, the Dick sure hated them DFHs! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Calamity Jean, jabney, elkhunter

            Nixon was a complex figure.  We look back now on his economic policies and see them as quite liberal, actually to the left of Obama, though Democrats of his day were too.  His foreign policy was pretty conservative, real cold warrior, but he did recognize the need to open up to China, which seriously defused that part of the world.  Of course he also invaded Laos and Cambodia, which led to literally millions of deaths, and kept the Vietnam war going long after it was futile.

            But he was also a leader in social conservatism.  While he grew up a Quaker, he later found Billy Graham and the evangelical movement more to his liking (that war thing really didn't comport with his parents' faith). He inherited a country deeply divided over the war -- at least as divided as today -- and saw that as a political opportunity. He was a divider, not a uniter.  He scored points with his base by equating opposition to the war with hippiedom, hippiedom with drug use, and drug use with crime.  It was a made-up axis of evil and marijuana was quite strongly symbolic of his opposition.  So he won racist support by calling for "law and order" and he founded the DEA.  Divisiveness got him re-elected in 1972 though Watergate brought him down, and his party took a serious hit for a few years.

  •  Full delisting is the only answer. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kyril, hrvatska, jabney

    The goverment does not have the right to regulate my body chemistry. As long as no harm is done to others, there is no legal basis for federal involvment in an individuals descision to engage in drug use.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" - Edmund Burke

    by rclendan on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:52:20 AM PST

  •  We need to stop kidding ourselves. (4+ / 0-)

    While it's likely that there are some people that are using marijuana for legitimate medical purposes and have exhausted the numerous prescription options out there, I suspect the majority of people with "cannabis prescriptions" are using them for recreational purposes.  At least in California, it doesn't take much to get a "medical marijuana" card.  My brother in law has one, and he has no serious medical conditions.  

    We need to completely remove it from the Schedule system and treat marijuana like tobacco and alcohol.  It needs to legal for anyone to purchase over the age of 21, and incur the same penalties for driving under the influence as alcohol does.

  •  Positively baffling that the Obama admin has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Calamity Jean

    taken this stance. It serves no one but the people who hate him and didn't vote for him, and it's the wrong stance anyway. Schedule I is an ABOMINATION.

    "But Brandine, you're supposed to be in Iraq stopping 911!"

    by leftyguitarist on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 02:49:59 PM PST

  •  It's a good plan as a stopgap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because it "moves slowly" (as Obama is wont to do) and getting it of Schedule I at least raises the question for the public of why it is illegal on a federal level at all.  But it is no way, no how, a satisfactory ultimate solution (as the author likely agrees.)

    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
    -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 03:22:21 PM PST

    •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey, Seneca Doane

      It's a first step, not the end state, but it's achievable, it comports with Obama's style, and it does leave the question of ultimate status open to discussion.

      I see from the poll that full legalization is more popular.  I don't disagree that prohibition is a bad policy in general; I don't think it can get 50 senators and 218 reps on board this year or even decade.  This is one case where the Washington that leads is the one on the left coast.

  •  Is there any other plant that is illegal to grow? (0+ / 0-)


    "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

    by New Jersey Boy on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 03:41:01 PM PST

    •  right. Now, is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      kind of regulation what you really want for MJ? Opioids are almost impossible to obtain except by those who are very, very ill; and often even they do not get them, or cannot get enough to kill their pain.

      Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
      Mark Twain

      by phaktor on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:13:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That's not the kind of regulation that I want for MJ.

        Not sure why you would answer my question like that.

        "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

        by New Jersey Boy on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 08:02:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I did not follow (0+ / 0-)

          the thread well enough to see who was taking what position. Sorry. My statement is just aimed generally at those who think medical regulation of MJ is going to make it widely available and easy to get -- something they can buy like prescription sinus meds have ample quantities all the time. Quite the contrary. It will tighten the noose.

          Even yesterday I noticed that seems not to be your position. I should have corrected it then.

          Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
          Mark Twain

          by phaktor on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:36:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The point of the original diary (0+ / 0-)

            which I wrote is that Schedule II is a half-assed compromise move that the President could take while burning little political capital.  It would then create the existence of legal MJ, albeit nominally restricted, and start the process of re-evaluating it. It's not the end state, which is not as easy to agree upon.

            •  That was exactly what I disagree with. (0+ / 0-)

              It may seem like getting it placed on Schedule II is a "foot in the door", but it really is not. It will make it harder, because all the evidence evaluated to place it on Schedule II will have to be overcome. They will not reschedule it without good evidence and lots of it, and great deals of time (many years). Getting a drug scheduled is actually a process for allocation of almost unlimited funds to keep it illegal and tightly controlled. It is the creation of a reg8ulatory infrastructure for that particular substance. I don't think the "foot in the door" idea is very efficient, just like I don't think it should be a medical issue, either. Placing it on Schedule II means the feds can concentrate their efforts at control on a very small population (licensed physicians), who are easily persuaded. Most of them are going to stay far away from it for fear of losing their privileged place in society. That is what has happened with opioids, so that it is difficult even for the people in the most pain in our society to get adequate treatment. The DEA concentrated their money on terrorizing doctors, and now they are all afraid to prescribe.

              Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
              Mark Twain

              by phaktor on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 08:37:09 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Okay. No prob. I also apologize (0+ / 0-)

            For not saying, "Dude, you're harshing on my buzz."

            It would have been the perfect response.

            "Jersey_Boy" was taken.

            by New Jersey Boy on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:00:10 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  For those who want (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    MJ to be widely available, more so than now, making it a Schedule II medical drug is not the way to go. That would create a huge, well funded, regulatory bureaucracy which would spend its megabucks and mega man-hours tracking prescriptions, terrorizing doctors who write the prescriptions,  and preventing "diversion" ("diversion" is what these folks have in mind, thinking it will be as easy to obtain from their doctor as sinus medication, and they can then can share it with their friends and get all they want, so as to have enough to stay high as much as they wish). Think of the regulation of things like oxycodone right now. That is what will happen to MJ. Schedule II drugs are more tightly regulated and harder to obtain than pot right now. "Medicalization" of MJ is not a good idea for those who just like to smoke pot and relax, or use it like alcohol or caffiene. Also, medicalization is no good for those who claim it reduces their blood pressure or relieves their headaches, or whatever other minor ailment they may be planning to claim in order to get pot. First, dosage would be strictly controlled and the individual user would rarely be able to get enough for recreational use. Even those who had legitimate medical claims would always be caught without enough and with endless hassles between doctors, pharmacies, and other people involved. They would be listed in state databases as MJ users, along with every prescription they receive. Schedule II would create more of a nightmare than currently exists. It will also be hard to get the medical profession on board, as they like to prescribe patented, pure chemical compounds. Do not be fooled into thinking the doctors will hand it out freely. If they get a chance to be the gatekeepers, the gate will rarely open. The citizen will still have to have "permission" from a very conservative profession. Doctors also do not know how to deal with a natural herb because of variation in content and the fact that their theories are based in the unitary chemical compound approach. MJ should simply be legal, like a food or any other plant. It should not be scheduled at all. Scheduling it at any level with the idea that it is a foot in the door to have the schedule changed later is nonsense. It will make it harder, because they will have to overcome the evidence presented and logged in the initial decision to make it schedule II. The government does not like to change its mind on scheduling. All in all, trying to use the medical profession to get around the issue of unlawful prohibition  will lead to a huge disappointment, and will delay or prevent MJ from becoming widely available, as it should be. It is a bad idea from the start. Simply make it legal. Trying to hide it under the "medicinal use only" concept is dishonest, and everyone knows it. It will not help the cause.

    Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't.
    Mark Twain

    by phaktor on Sun Dec 09, 2012 at 09:11:43 PM PST

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