Marijuana has been officially recognized as a legitimate medicine in 16 U.S. States in addition to the District of Columbia. The current FDA guidelines for scheduling controlled substances categorize all uses of marijuana (including that used for medical use, only) as Schedule I, erroneously placing it in the same category as Heroin and Crack Cocaine, stating that it has a high potential for abuse and no recognized medical value. The second portion of the requirement to be a Schedule I substance is absolutely untrue of medical marijuana – a point made quite clear simply by the term itself: medical marijuana. We are demanding Congress and President Barack Obama to alter our current federal policy on medical marijuana and reschedule it appropriately to a Schedule V substance, where it can be researched and prescribed in the same fashion that other therapeutic medicines are today, including as Vicodin or Oxycontin.
Please apply our current laws fairly, as they were intended, and adjust mistakes made in the initial scheduling process as would be done for any other medicine in light of mounting scientific evidence demonstrating medicinal usages for various conditions.
Benefits of rescheduling medical marijuana at the federal level could include:
· Dramatic reduction in percentage of citizen population currently incarcerated for using marijuana therapeutically.
· Ability for patients to travel throughout the country with their medication without fear of varying state laws.
· Employment protection for legitimate medical marijuana patients who continue to work despite their conditions.
· Similar to employment protection, similar measures could be enacted to remove penalties currently tied to felony charges related to the use of medical marijuana that could disqualify a patient from Financial Aid for the rest of their lives.
The drugs and other substances that are considered controlled substances under the CSA are divided into five schedules. A listing of the substances and their schedules is found in the DEA regulations, 21 C.F.R. Sections 1308.11 through 1308.15. A controlled substance is placed in its respective schedule based on whether it has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and its relative abuse potential and likelihood of causing dependence. Some examples of controlled substances in each schedule are outlined below.
NOTE: Drugs listed in schedule I have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States and, therefore, may not be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use. In contrast, drugs listed in schedules II-V have some accepted medical use and may be prescribed, administered, or dispensed for medical use.
Schedule I Controlled Substance: Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. Some examples of substances listed in schedule I are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), peyote, methaqualone, and 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“ecstasy”).
Schedule II Controlled Substance: Substances in this schedule have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. Examples of single entity schedule II narcotics include morphine and opium. Other schedule II narcotic substances and their common name brand products include: methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®). Examples of schedule II stimulants include: amphetamine (Dexedrine®, Adderall®), methamphetamine (Desoxyn®), and methylphenidate (Ritalin®). Other schedule II substances include: cocaine, amobarbital, glutethimide, and pentobarbital.
Schedule III Controlled Substance: Substances in this schedule have a potential for abuse less than substances in schedules I or II and abuse may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence
Schedule IV Controlled Substances: Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances in schedule III. An example of a schedule IV narcotic is propoxyphene (Darvon® and Darvocet-N 100®).
Schedule V Controlled Substance: Substances in this schedule have a low potential for abuse relative to substances listed in schedule IV and consist primarily of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. These are generally used for antitussive, antidiarrheal, and analgesic purposes.
We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our leaders to act now to reschedule medical marijuana appropriately from a Schedule I substance to a Schedule V substance.