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Nov. 1, 2012 04:09

Inching Toward Sanity

A news items caught my eye the other day. I heard that opening arguments had just been made before the U.S. Court of Appeal in an effort to convince the federal government—unfortunately, MMJ’s staunchest foe—to re-schedule marijuana. Americans for Safe Access, a national patients-rights advocacy group that has been leading various pro-MMJ campaigns since its formation 10 years ago, is leading this charge.

So why is re-scheduling marijuana a big deal? It’s simple. Marijuana, in the eyes of the government, is a Schedule I drug, which is another way for the feds (via the Controlled Substances Act—thanks, Nixon) to judge cannabis as dangerous as heroin and with no medical use whatsoever. Schedule III drugs include Vicodin, Schedule IV drugs include Valium and Xanax, Schedule V drugs include cough medicine.

This is the basic reason why the feds say they can trump a state’s MMJ laws any day of the week; they say federal law (marijuana is illegal for any purpose) overrides state law (marijuana is legal to use as medicine). So if ASA is successful in getting marijuana re-scheduled, then that could open the door, the argument goes, to ushering in a whole new era for reform across the country.

Imagine that—marijuana treated the same way as Robitussin (Schedule V). Or maybe considered a legal alternative to Temazepam (Schedule IV).

Gone is the federal government’s ace in the whole. Gone is the whole “no medical use” propaganda. No more raids. No more abuse. No more nonsense.

It’s what they call a “game changer.”

Will this happen tomorrow? Of course not. These things take time. Months. Sometimes years. And this isn’t the first time activists have petitioned the DEA to change the way it treats marijuana.

Meanwhile, at the state and local levels, activists and advocates are pushing for similar goals: to get our government officials and law enforcement officers to open their eyes and free their minds; to view cannabis on the basis of science and research, not stigma and politics.

Marijuana can be used safely as medicine. That is an undisputed fact.

And every victory we score for MMJ and patients’ rights is a victory won because of the backbreaking labor and energy of millions of activists (like ASA), patients, caregivers, lobbyists, professionals, doctors, lawyers and advocates. And these people need support.

So, support your medical marijuana community. Support your local dispensary. Support your caregiver. Support elected leaders with common sense.

Most of all, let’s support one another. As we inch towards sanity, we’re going to need all the help we can get.

One more thing: Vote!
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