Doing What Works

Thomas Vance Published:

A ruling was made in the case of the Petition to Reschedule Marijuana from Schedule I, dangerous and having no medical value to Schedule II or lower to more properly reflect marijuana’s actual danger and it’s use as medicine. The Drug Enforcement Administration denied the petition, claiming the huge number of studies showing marijuana’s efficacy and safety in medical use did not meet the DEA’s standards for acceptable clinical studies. The Court did not rule on marijuana’s use as medicine or it’s scheduling. It only ruled on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to decide what studies count and what studies fail to meet DEA standards. In effect the court ruled that the DEA is free to deny the validity of the studies being used to justify the rescheduling petition and thereby deny the petition.

The Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was the insterment used to make marijuana illegal in 1937. This law said that to possess marijuana you must first get a special tax stamp. To get the stamp you had to have the marijuana in your possession but, if you possess the marijuana before you get the stamp, you have already broken the law. Besides the government wasn’t printing stamps anyway cause they knew they wouldn’t be needed. This dirty little law was declared unconstitutional in 1969 and was very quickly replaced with the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, as onerous and unconstitutional a law as the 1937 Tax Stamp Act ever was!

In the just ruled on petition case, we see the old Tax Stamp Act. The DEA denied the petition based on the studies being presented not meeting DEA standards. In order for a study or research to be accepted by the DEA the Government must support the research and provide the marijuana for the research. No marijuana, no acceptable study. Perfect! The scheduling of marijuana can never be questioned or challenged. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? “What? No tax stamp! You’re under arrest! As with the Tax Stamp Act, the Government has never in all the years since 1970, provided the marijuana for any research.

This evil reincarnation of the old Tax Stamp Act actually points out the total injustice which is the basis of our whole policy on drugs and drug abuse. In the name of continuing this policy of total prohibition we have been willing to sacrifice the very values we purportedly claim to be the soul of what is to be an American. Truth, fairness, freedom and doing the right thing no matter what happens have all been sacrificed on the altar of this failed policy. Prohibition has not been successful during even one year of it’s 99 year existence.

Our leaders should scrap the policy of prohibition, pull our dignity and values back out of the gutter where we threw them when Prohibition began and replace the 1970 Controlled Substances Act with a 21st Century policy based on science, logic, and the fact that as President Nixon’s own Commission On Drug Abuse said long ago and were ignored, drug abuse is a medical problem not a criminal one. Harm reduction works, prohibition does not. We know what works, what are we waiting for?

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