Since 1970, marijuana has been in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances are considered to have no accepted medical use. Since 1970, as opinions on marijuana have shifted, 23 of 50 states have legalized the plant for medical use, and adult use/personal cultivation is now legal in Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and Washington, DC.
The growing acceptance of marijuana as a medical alternative made last week’s remarks by the acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Chuck Rosenberg, even more shocking. During an early-November press conference, Rosenberg said, “What really bothers me is the notion that marijuana is also medicinal -- because it’s not.”
Mr. Rosenberg’s comments drew the ire of advocates, lawmakers and patients alike at a time when millions of Americans find themselves traveling thousands of miles to legal states like Colorado seeking affordable treatment for debilitating conditions like epilepsy, cancer and HIV/AIDS.
In a letter spearheaded by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore. and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., the lawmakers said,“Mr. Rosenberg is not the right person to lead the DEA,” and cautioned President Obama, saying, “Mr. Rosenberg’s statements send a clear signal to the American people that the federal government isn’t listening to them. It erodes trust. Cavelier statements like these fly in the face of state policy and the experience of millions of patients.”
As we enter the 2016 presidential election cycle, it will be interesting to see how voter’s attitudes/opinions of medical marijuana continue to change. To learn more about the latest advances in medical marijuana laws from the Drug Policy Alliance, click here.