In June, news outlets started reporting that the DEA was soon to be moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. This would mean that marijuana would no longer be classified with drugs that have no medicinal potential and are highly prone to abuse, like heroin and synthetic cannabinoids. Instead, it will be classified with drugs that still have a high potential for abuse, but also have important medical functions, such as Adderall and Vicodin.
Allowing marijuana to be classified as Schedule II with other prescription drugs allows marijuana to be legally prescribed on a Federal level. Some states currently have both legal recreational and medicinal marijuana, but until now, it has never been Federally legal. Meaning that even though your local Police may not arrest you for possession of medical marijuana, the Federal government is still quite capable of doing so.
Coming August 1st, this will all completely change when the legalization becomes law, even in states that oppose medicinal marijuana. The DEA has permission has a special Congressional privileged that allows them to independently mandate which drugs are associated with each Schedule – and the law will be under a doctrine called a Federal Preemption that completely overrides state laws.
On the 4th, a reporter at the Santa Monica Observer was able to interview a DEA lawyer on the topic and get some more information on what is going to happen.
There were a couple concerns brought up and the lawyer was able to answer them to the best of his ability. One of the questions relates to the future for current medicinal marijuana dispensaries. What will happen to them? How will medical marijuana be dispensed?
To summarize the lawyer’s answer, well, the current dispensaries will no longer be legal, at least from his knowledge. Marijuana will start being treated the same way any other prescription is treated: you go to your current drug store and have your prescription filled. He states “Don’t you trust CVS more than some random dude who sells weed products?”
Another issue that was raised regarding the different parts of the plant and the various chemicals contained within. For instance – the interviewer asked why the DEA was going to allow the entire MJ plant to be legally used.
“…That opens the possibility that what is more controversial could survive. But you’re open to some real possibility that some stuff will not survive for having to go through FDA approval, with FDA saying what they like and don’t like. Exhaustive scientific studies will be performed, including human studies. And again, this is something others would be able to pay for. Describing a side effect would remove credibility from those people on the margins”
That opens an entirely new world for marijuana – a world where only FDA approved products are going to be legally distributed. The DEA lawyer states that allowing the FDA to be involved in the marijuana industry will potentially equate to a market that truly promotes a health oriented marijuana culture. He says that if there are good and bad parts of the plant that the public is currently unaware of, the new legalization will allow researchers to find out. Only the best will be kept.
The bottom line, the lawyer says, is that legalizing marijuana would bring in too much money not to do it. He says that people are using it anyway and that could only continue for so long without the federal government getting involved. He’s positive though, that we are going to see legalized marijuana by the end of this year.
If you want to read the full interview, check it out at the source: Santa Monica Observer.