Former U.S. Attorneys Fighting Cannabis Rescheduling

December 18, 2023 · Green Market Report

Citing the old classics reminiscent of  Reefer Madness, nearly 30 former U.S. Attorneys sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland asking that cannabis not be reclassified as a Schedule III drug. While arguing that for 50 years Republican and Democratic administrations had followed the science and kept cannabis as a Schedule I drug, the group ignored current medical knowledge.

The group stated its main three reasons for keeping cannabis as a Schedule I drug as follows:

  • High potential for abuse
  • No currently accepted medical treatment
  • Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision

Addictive Qualities

The letter stated that since Washington State legalized cannabis, the Drug Enforcement Administration determined that 21% were addicted to the product. The group also said that a report in JAMA found that the most comprehensive study on the addictive potential of different drugs determined that marijuana is more addictive than several other Schedule I drugs, including LSD, GHB, ecstasy, and khat. It’s worth noting that the study surveyed less than 1,500 people. However, there are 7.9 million people in the state and 30% surveyed by the Washington Department of Health stated they had consumed cannabis within 30 days. That means the state has 2.3 million regular cannabis consumers demonstrating that this test did not acknowledge that amount of consumers in the state reporting no cannabis use disorder.

This argument also centered on the increasing level of THC in cannabis products today and that is not disputed.

Medical Qualities

Here the letter cited a National Institute on Drug Abuse factsheet on medical marijuana that wrote, “So far, researchers haven’t conducted enough large-scale clinical trials that show that the benefits of the marijuana plant (as opposed to its cannabinoid ingredients) outweigh its risks in patients it’s meant to treat.”

Yet, it failed to recognize that Jazz Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: JAZZ) currently owns the drug Epidiolex which uses cannabis as its main compound for treating pediatric epilepsy conditions known as Lennox Gastaut and Dravet Syndrome. This drug went through the standard U.S. Food and Drug Administration studies and was found to have substantial medical uses and continues to study additional conditions to treat more patients.

Criminal Qualities

The letter also makes a blanket statement that the only people benefiting from legal cannabis are drug cartels. The attorneys neglected to address the positive aspects of the tax revenue in states where it is legal. It didn’t note the number of jobs created or ways cannabis has impacted the real estate landscape in depressed neighborhoods.

It did address the illicit market problem in California, which is true. However, drug cartels have moved on to pushing fentanyl not cannabis. A fractured market of smaller domestic operators produces most illicit cannabis. Larger criminal organizations can make more money with easier-to-move products than cannabis.

Ultimately, the letter rolled out old cannabis myths that have mostly been busted since cannabis was decriminalized or legalized in many states. (Full Story)

In category:Legalization
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