Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws
It is difficult to understand and believe Congress enacted a law requiring a government official to lie and to ignore science and medical studies. This renders the Office unreliable and a fraud. Though 68 - 84 % of this nation, depending on the poll, wants to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, and science and medical studies have proven the therapeutic benefits and medicinal value of cannabis, we have been forced to live with outdated draconian laws. It is time to change this.
Part of the problem in making any changes to the drug policy of this nation is :
According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998 :
Responsibilities: The Director "Drug Czar"
(12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that--
(A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
(B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
On April 2, 2003, Congressman Ron Paul wrote a letter to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) asking for an investigation into ONDCP lobbying activities and their dissemination of "misleading information" (a polite euphemism for "lying").
The GAO responded :
"Finally, apart from considerations of whether any particular law has been violated, you have asked whether the Deputy Director's letter disseminated misleading information in connection with statements relating to the debate over legalization of marijuana. [...]
ONDCP is specifically charged with the responsibility for "taking such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of certain controlled substances such as marijuana" - a responsibility which logically could include the making of advocacy statements in opposition to legalization efforts. The Deputy Director's statements about marijuana are thus within the statutory role assigned to ONDCP. Given this role, we do not see a need to examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director's individual statements in detail."
By law, the drug czar must oppose any attempt to legalize the use (in any form). Despite the science, medical studies and evidence of medical cannabis safety and effectiveness, despite the fact that the federal government supplies it to patients, despite the fact the Department of Health and Human Services holds patents on cannabinoids for the therapeutic benefits, US Patent 663057 titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services) the drug czar is required by law to lie about it. Again, this renders the Office unreliable and a fraud.
There have however been a few honest statements from Gil Kerlikowske. The AP got drug czar Gil Kerlikowske to agree the drug war is a failure. "In the grand scheme, it has not been successful," Kerlikowske said. "Forty years later, the concern about drugs and drug problems is, if anything, magnified, intensified." On KCTS channel 9, in response to LEAP's (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) speaker retired Chief Norm Stamper, while he claimed we ended the drug war almost 2 years ago, Gil Kerlikowske also stated, " We are not going to arrest our way out of it." He also stated, "It's not about arresting, it's not about punishment." Yet roughly 5000 Americans arrested every 24 hours on drug charges.
Rescheduling can be accomplished by an act of Congress, or administratively. Administratively, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would find that marijuana meets sufficient standards of safety and efficacy to warrant rescheduling. The federal Department of Health and Human Services holds US Patent 663057 titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" . The patent obtained in October of 2003, claims, "Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia."
The department also holds US Patent 7109245, issued September 19, 2006 titled "Vasoconstrictor cannabinoid analogs". The patent observes, "The present disclosure concerns pharmaceutical compounds and compositions that are useful as vasoconstrictors, and the use of these compounds, for example in the treatment of shock. Septic shock is a type of vasodilatory shock that is often accompanied by a clinical presentation that suggests infection, such as fever, chills, warm, flushed skin, and hemodynamic instability (characterized by a falling and rising blood pressure). Septic shock is an often fatal condition that accompanies severe microbial infections, frequently with gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella or Bacteroides species. Gram-positive bacterialinfections can also lead to septic shock, particularly those infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and the Pneumococcus. The bacterial infections can be acquired by routes such as ingestion, personal contact, or trauma, but infections are oftennosocornial consequences of therapeutic procedures, including implantation of indwelling catheters or prosthetic devices. Septic shock often occurs in immunocompromised subjects, and therefore has been an increasing problem in recent years because of the increasing number of individuals who are immunocompromised. For example, subjects with HIV disease or who are taking immunosuppressive drugs for the treatment of cancer or organ transplantation rejection are at increased risk of developing septic shock. In view of the above, there exists a need for agents that counteract the vasodilation associated with shock."
It would only seem reasonable that the department would find that marijuana meets sufficient standards of safety and efficacy to warrant rescheduling. More so since The National Cancer Institute, a branch of The National Institute of health states, "The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect".
Considering the Controlled Substance Act was enacted in 1970, more than 15 years before science was even aware the human body has an endo-cannabinoid system, it is time to take the science, medical studies, and medicinal use understandings of this nation into consideration. It is time to change the laws to reflect the science, and medical studies. It has been shown in other countries that legalizing cannabis and/or drugs decreases use, especially by the youth. We want truth in laws and policy.
The financial situation of this country also warrants a consideration of the massive funds wasted on an ineffective policy.
According to the Controlled Substance Act :
Chapter 1 The Controlled Substances Act
International Treaty Obligations United States treaty obligations may require that a drug or other substance be controlled under the CSA, or rescheduled if existing controls are less stringent than those required by a treaty. The procedures for these scheduling actions are found in Section 201 (d) of the Act. [21 U.S.C. 811 (d)] Section 811. Authority and Criteria for Classification of Substances
(d) International treaties, conventions, and protocols requiring control; procedures respecting changes in drug schedules of Convention on Psychotropic Substances (1) If control is required by United States obligations under international treaties,conventions, or protocols in effect on October 27, 1970, the Attorney General shall issue an order controlling such drug under the schedule he deems most appropriate to carry out such obligations, without regard to the findings required by subsection (a) of this section or section 812(b) of this title and without regard to the procedures prescribed by subsections (a) and (b) of this section.
Cannabis/marijuana is used as a medicine and is legal in a number of territories worldwide, including Canada, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Israel, Italy, Finland, and Portugal. In the United States, 15 states and Washington DC have accepted it for medicinal use. Oct 19, 2009 – US Attorney General Eric Holder announced formal guidelines for federal prosecutors in states that have enacted laws authorizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The guidelines make clear that the focus of federal resources should not be on individuals whose actions are in compliance with existing state laws. It has been decriminalized in Argentina, Australia, and Belgium. Thereby, existing controls are less stringent than those required by any treaty on October 27, 1970.
Therefore US Attorney General Eric Holder should issue an order changing the schedule class of cannabis.
If the government finds that cannabis has "currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States" or "accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision," then by law, cannabis cannot remain in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. With the fact that cannabis does have "currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States" - in 15 states and Washington DC - it is time to change the schedule and the laws.
Congress is aware that 15 states and Washington DC has accepted medicinal use of cannabis. Therefore Congress should change the laws to reflect the science, medical studies, will of the people, and realization that the current drug policy has not been effective, a huge waste of financial resources, has cause the destruction of many lives, has contributed to organized crime and caused more deaths than cannabis itself, which no one ever died from in the entire history of the plant.
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