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Just as Attorney General Eric Holder prepares to step down from his post, he appears more open than ever to the argument for rescheduling marijuana as a less dangerous, more beneficial drug.
"I think it's certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin," Holder said in an interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, released on Thursday. "Especially given what we've seen recently with regard to heroin -- the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination."
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin and '___'. Schedule I drugs, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, have a "high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use."
Yet science clearly indicates otherwise about marijuana. A growing body of research has demonstrated its medical potential. Purified forms of cannabis can be effective at attacking some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. Legalization for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates and fewer pain pill overdoses.
The Schedule I classification hinders federal funding for further research into the benefits of cannabis. Columnist Jacob Sullum recently wrote in Forbes that moving marijuana to Schedule III or below could make it easier for university researchers to look into the drug's full potential.
While marijuana use would still be illegal under federal law, recategorizing it could also remove some of the financial burdens that state-licensed marijuana businesses currently face.
A provision of the federal tax code prohibits any business that "consists of trafficking in controlled substances," which include Schedule I and II drugs, from making tax deductions. Because of this, pot shops cannot deduct traditional business expenses like advertising costs, employee payroll, rent and health insurance from their combined federal and state taxes. Dispensary owners face effective tax rates of 50 to 60 percent -- and in some states, those rates soar to 80 percent or higher. The tax rule would no longer apply to pot businesses if marijuana were moved to Schedule III or lower.
On whether he thinks marijuana should be decriminalized at the federal level, Holder told Couric, "That's for Congress to decide."
"I think we’ve taken a look at the experiments that are going on in Colorado and Washington, and we’re going to see what happens there, and that'll help inform us as to what we want to do on the federal level," Holder added.
"For you, the jury is still out?" Couric asked.
"Yeah," Holder said, "it is."
Holder's statements to Couric on the potential rescheduling of marijuana appear to follow a continuing evolution of his views on the drug. Under the Obama administration, the DEA and several U.S. attorneys have raided hundreds of marijuana dispensaries that were compliant with local laws in states like California and Colorado. But it was Holder who announced in 2013 that the Department of Justice would allow Colorado and Washington to implement their new laws legalizing and regulating the possession, use and sale of marijuana.
More recently, Holder said that the Obama administration would be "more than glad" to work with Congress to re-examine how cannabis is scheduled. He even said in April that he's "cautiously optimistic" about how the historic changes in Colorado and Washington were working out.
originally posted by: MrPlow
a reply to: Krazysh0t
Hard for the Government to gain access to it to study?
The U.S. Government is the LARGEST grower of marijuana in the United States.
The DEA even sets strict limits on the production of schedule 1 and 2 drugs, although the limits vary from drug to drug. Only one place in the US — a University of Mississippi farm — is allowed to grow marijuana (up to 650 kilograms in 2014) under federal regulations, and the pot is limited to research purposes. In comparison, several private companies produce oxycodone, a schedule 2 substance, and use the drug for prescription painkillers.
"I think it's certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin," Holder said in an interview with Yahoo global news anchor Katie Couric, released on Thursday.
During a House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, Drug Enforcement Administrator Michele Leonhart repeatedly refused to admit that anything was more addictive or harmful than marijuana. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado pressed Leonhart on whether illegal drugs like methamphetamine and crack, as well as legal prescription drugs, caused greater harm to public health compared to marijuana. But within a three minute time-span, Leonhart dodged his questions eleven times. “Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis, who has called for an end to marijuana prohibition, asked. “I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart responded. “Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” Polis continued. “Is heroin worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?” “Again, all drugs,” Leonhart began to say, only to be cut off by Polis. “Yes, no, or I don’t know?” Polis said. “If you don’t know this, you can look this up. As the chief administrator for the Drug Enforcement Agency, I’m asking a very straightforward question.”
originally posted by: LDragonFire
Funny that they claim more research is needed but they didn't have valid research to make it a schedule 1 drug in the first place.
originally posted by: AlaskanDad
a reply to: Krazysh0t
I remember reading that she had a brother who started smoking marijuana and latter died from overdosing on hard drugs; so she believes in the gateway premise.