This summer, the DEA declined to reschedule cannabis from Schedule I, meaning the federal government is still clinging to the notion, thoroughly exploded, that cannabis is a highly addictive substance with no medical value.
That’s harder and harder to justify with more than half the country living in areas where marijuana is available for either medical or recreational use, but the DEA did have some justification: instruction from the federal Food and Drug Administration.
VICE News has obtained the FDA’s recommendations for justifying cannabis’s continued outlaw status, and buried in the 118 pages of documents are some gems.
For one, the FDA admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug.
Scientists and researchers have long maintained that gateway theory is bogus. Even the National Institutes on Drug Abuse has allowed that there’s nothing to show that cannabis users go onto harder drugs — something that Attorney General Loretta Lynch told a group of high school students in September.
But the FDA has also been saying this internally for years, VICE’s report shows, which means the scientific justification for anyone continuing to insist that marijuana legalization would lead to an epidemic of harder drugs is nil.
The FDA stated that there is not data to support the theory of a “direct causal relationship between regular marijuana use and other illicit drug use.” The FDA also told the DEA that marijuana is no more addictive than tobacco, with the same withdrawal symptoms, and is not linked to mental illness.
Despite that, the FDA still recommended that cannabis remain in Schedule I, reasons being that a study involving monkeys saw the monkeys really, really enjoy THC, and that marijuana is a popular drug that’s easy to obtain.
Behold the government’s tortured thinking: A plant that’s popular, makes people feed good, and is easy to find must be outlawed.
In explaining this logic, the FDA held onto a statement repeated by many government officials — that there needs to be more research before the antiquated stance on cannabis evolves.
This seems to ignore the fact that a Nixon Administration-impaneled group of doctors suggested cannabis be decriminalized as early as the mid-1970s, and begs the question: How much more research is needed before we can admit the obvious?
We believe cannabis has many medical values. Let us know how it helps you.