Marijuana advocates are facing a new challenge ahead: The U.S. Appeals Court this week refused to order a change in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s drug classification schedule.
Thus, it remains a Schedule I Drug.
Following the approval of voters in Colorado and Washington to approve recreational marijuana use and new court action by the marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access to re-examine marijuana’s drug classification, the federal judiciary was asked to determine that the drug has clear benefits as a pain medication.
The DEA countered: "To establish accepted medical use, the effectiveness of a drug must be established in well-controlled, well-designed, well-conducted and well-documented scientific studies [with] a large number of patients. To date, such studies have not been performed."
The court results are being celebrated by Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, or CADCA, whose Chairman and CEO General Arthur T. Dean, said, “Stances like [that of the advocacy group] give our coalitions a ‘call to arms.’ Don’t think what happened in Colorado and Washington is an excuse to give up. The power of coalitions has made a difference in their communities with other drugs and alcohol. We know that they will continue to push back against marijuana to keep their communities safe, healthy and drug-free.”
The DEA argument against declassification was quoted in the court’s decision. Judge Harry Edwards, in penning the District of Columbia’s Court of Appeals opinion, said that although "marijuana could have some medical benefits," the court was not willing to overrule the DEA. That is because “well-controlled studies do not exist that proved the medical value of marijuana.”
The DEA Federal Register remarks underscore the conclusion that marijuana should remain a Schedule I Drug due to the following attributes:
(1) Marijuana has a high potential for abuse.
(2) Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
(3) Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
While the court was hashing this out, disturbing new facts emerged about their focal substance, marijuana.
In late January, Battle Creek’s open-ended A Forever Recovery Rehab Facility released feedback from new research correlating lowered IQ’s in adults with prior marijuana use during adolescence.
AFR accepts clients for drug and alcohol rehabilitation from varied backgrounds and attests that drug addiction knows no socio-economic factors alone.
The contention that marijuana use and addiction impacts cognitive abilities and impedes mental processing crosses all socio-economic backgrounds. AFR maintains that the drug’s recreational use early in life leads to additional addictions as well as carries its own unique dangers.
"Despite pro-cannabis movements, marijuana access today is too easy and not researched thoroughly enough,” said AFR. “For example, society has not developed any quick, affordable and extensive testing for random use, such as through studies on driving while intoxicated."
AFR research study was outlined in TIME magazine, with findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That information detailed “people who began cannabis use before turning 18 and continued to use heavily into adulthood and lost an average of eight IQ points during that period.”
In addressing some skeptics of the original report, study researchers claim to have restricted analysis by only including young marijuana users from middle-class families, “thereby suggesting that the decline in IQ cannot be attributed to socio-economic factors alone.”
“Most drug addicts tend to be inherently smart people whose drug use stems from boredom, using dope and 'hanging out' with dopers,” says the facility, which uses innovative techniques in its treatment. “We believe that using any illicit drugs will stunt emotional development, but being clean and sober will allow it to rapidly come back."
Drug tool kits will soon be available as part of the Mobilizing Michigan effort to better determine the overall effects on marijuana users.
“By March, we plan to offer kits to help schools, parents and communities determine the short-term and long-term effects and the overall cost to communities for marijuana use,” said CARE Community Organizer for Macomb County Mark Kilgore. “People assume if substances are legalized, such as alcohol, that no further problems exist for society. But, the truth is, the cost of policing such uses is far greater than whatever benefit, including the fraction of the taxes it brings in, comes from legalizing it.”
Such costs are instead passed along to taxpayers and continue to mount for alcohol-related issues alone. Decriminalizing marijuana promises to add considerably to that burden, says Kilgore.
In the months to come, Americans for Safe Access hopes to take its case to the Supreme Court, asking that the government rescind federal law that makes possession of marijuana a crime at the federal level, but legal for recreational use in Washington and Colorado.
When the smokes clears, who will be left standing? Stay tuned.
Cast your vote to keep federal restrictions on marijuana at http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/22/16646527-marijuana-restrictions-appeals-court-backs-dea-rejects-pot-advocates-argument?lite
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