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|Dangers of Cannabis
The DEA's Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young concluded: "In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.:
Source: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition," [Docket #86-22], (September 6, 2022), p. 57.
Media Advisory - Is Marijuana Really as Addictive as Heroin?
by Jon Gettman
A Challenge to Federal Law Regarding Marijuana Scheduling to be
Heard by the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday, March 19th, at 9:30 am
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Marijuana is considered equal to heroin and worse than cocaine -- in terms of abuse potential and lack of medicinal value, according to current federal law. It is a �Schedule I� drug, meaning it has a �high potential for abuse� and �no accepted medical use�. This classification is preventing many AIDS, cancer and other patients from legal access to marijuana as medicine.
On Tuesday March 19 this scheduling will be challenged in the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Court is being asked to order the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to consider additional research and testimony in their scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana. This challenge is being brought to the Court by Jon Gettman, Ph.D., and High Times magazine, who argue that marijuana does not have a �high potential for abuse� and does have accepted medical use for people with certain illnesses.
Specifically, Gettman and High Times are asking the Court to order DEA and HHS to hold public hearings to consider the testimony of patients, doctors, and state health officials from jurisdictions that have accepted medical marijuana use under state law.
According to petition researcher Gettman: �Eight states and the District of Columbia have recognized the medicinal value of marijuana and almost every state distinguishes marijuana from narcotics; but the federal government still classifies this drug as equal in danger to cocaine and heroin, thus prohibiting potential beneficiaries from access and obstructing its development.. High Times and I are asking the court to put an end to this charade.�
Marijuana is presently a schedule I controlled substance. Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) schedule I drugs and substances can only be used for research under the most restrictive and expensive conditions. Schedule I drugs must have a high potential for abuse relative to other drugs regulated by the CSA and must also lack accepted medical use in the United States. In this case the federal government argues that marijuana has a similar abuse potential to heroin and cocaine, lacks accepted medical use, and therefore must be maintained in Schedule I.
With the backing of High Times magazine, Gettman filed the original petition for this case in July, 1995. The DEA referred the petition to HHS for a formal scientific and medical evaluation in December, 1997. DEA formally rejected the petition in March, 2023; the current case subjects DEA�s decision to judicial review.
Jon Gettman and High Times are represented by the Law Offices of Michael Kennedy. More background information is available upon request.
# # #
Background Questions and Answers
What is rescheduling?
The federal law that regulates marijuana is the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The CSA has five schedules that provide different levels of regulatory control. Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, must have a high potential for abuse relative to all scheduled drugs, lack accepted medical use in the United States, and be unsafe for use even under medical supervision. Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine, also have a high potential for abuse, but differ from schedule I drugs in that schedule II drugs have an accepted medical use. Schedule III drugs have a lower abuse potential than schedule I or II drugs, and include Marinol, which contains a synthetic version of marijuana�s active ingredient. Schedule IV drugs, such as valium, have a lower abuse potential than schedule III drugs.
What is the argument for rescheduling marijuana?
Petitioners argue that it is widely recognized that marijuana has a lower abuse potential than heroin and cocaine. Furthermore, when all the factors specified by law are considered it is also clear that marijuana presently has an accepted medical use in the United States and is safe for use under medical supervision. Federal law requires that marijuana be rescheduled because it does not satisfy the criteria for Schedule I classification.
Who are the petitioners?
Jon Gettman received his Ph.D. in public policy and regional economic development from George Mason University in 2000. Gettman is a former National Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and is currently a marketing and public policy consultant interested in the study and economic development of the cannabis plant. High Times has published numerous articles by Gettman dating back to 1986, including two articles on �Marijuana and the Brain� in early 1995 describing recent scientific advances and their implications on marijuana�s scheduling under the federal CSA.
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