Frustrated Bitchination from The Fringe
Americans for Safe Access (to medical cannabis) have failed in a suit brought in Washington DC Circuit Court against the Drug Enforcement Agency. A victory would have rescheduled medical cannabis on the basis of current information. One of the active ingredients in medical cannabis, THC is schedule 1, a classification which suggests the substance has no medical use, has a high potential for abuse, or lacks sufficient protocol for medical oversight. ASA holds that none of those criteria applies to cannabis.
Americans for Safe Access and other parties petitioned the government in 2002 to have cannabis rescheduled. For 9 years, the federal government did nothing; when ASA sued for inaction, the Obama Administration denied the petition. This lawsuit alleged that the DEA has an unscientific bias against cannabis as medication. As proof, ASA brought 200 peer reviewed studies showing the efficacy of cannabis in healing. The Court declined to over-rule the DEA saying that time was necessary for proper studies to be carried out. Writing for the court Judge Harry Edwards said it was clear that cannabis did have some medicinal properties, but studies were necessary to determine proper use. One might think the studies would be carried out by the FDA, but it is the National Institute for Drug Abuse that determines if a drug can be “used safely” by citizens.
From the court documents, the plaintiffs claim:
“THE DEA ACTED ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY, AND WITHOUT
SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, IN CONCLUDING THAT MARIJUANA
DOES NOT HAVE A “CURRENTLY ACCEPTED MEDICAL USE IN
TREATMENT IN THE UNITED STATES”
The purpose of the suit was to refer the matter to the judiciary, who might, it was hoped, negate the institutional bias of the federal bureaucracy and insist action be taken commensurate with the scientific evidence which exists. The federal government has been “studying” marijuana since the 1960s, ignoring even a presidential commission report which recommended decriminalization. The last 50 years wasn’t long enough to come up with studies, why should the government be given yet more time?
The reasons rescheduling is not happening are clear: cannabis has no corporate champion. The process of clearing a drug requires a legitimate corporate sponsor willing to pay for studies and wine and dine bureaucrats. Indeed, there are pharma companies who are developing and patenting chemicals from cannabis, cannabinols, which they will then turn in to drugs to push past the federal bureaucracy. THC, and the humble weed which bears it, have no real corporate champion, only a collective of med can users.
Further, it has become a turf issue, with the feds refusing to be schooled by the states. Voters approved med can laws in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and the rule of the people is not permitted. Only bureaucrats are allowed to make decisions of that nature. Nanny G. knows what’s best for you.
Here’s a new idea: let’s pretend we live in the land of the free. Let’s just say that, if cannabis helps you, lacking any compelling evidence from the last 50 years to the contrary, it should simply be allowed for use. No corporation needs make money on it, we simply pass it on to the states to regulate or un-regulate as they see fit. If she likes, Nanny G. can bitch and complain at us over it as she does with tobacco and alcohol.
This isn’t that kind of America, though, and so we won’t see that happen until every other stonewalling tactic by the feds has failed, and states continue to strike their own way on the issue. When the people lead, the leaders will drag their feet.