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Schedule I Prohibitive Status For Pot "Untenable," Scientists Say

Thursday, 05 July 2012

Schedule I Prohibitive Status For Pot "Untenable," Scientists SaySan Diego, CA: The classification of cannabis and its organic compounds as Schedule I prohibited substances under federal law is scientifically indefensible, according to a review published online in The Open Neurology Journal.

Investigators at the University of California at San Diego and the University of California, Davis reviewed the results of several recent clinical trials assessing the safety and efficacy of inhaled or vaporized cannabis. They conclude: "Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking."

Researchers added, "It is true cannabis has some abuse potential, but its profile more closely resembles drugs in Schedule III (where codeine and dronabinol are listed)."

Under federal law, Schedule I controlled substances are defined as possessing "a high potential for abuse, ... no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision." Heroin and Methaqualone (Quaaludes) are examples of other Schedule I substances. Cocaine and methamphetamine are classified as schedule II controlled substances.

In 2011, the Obama administration - via the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - formally denied a nine-year-old administrative petition filed by NORML and a coalition of public interest organizations calling on the agency to initiate hearings to reassess the present classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance without any 'accepted medical use in treatment.' In her denial of the petition, DEA administrator Michele Leonhart alleged: "[T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving (marijuana's) efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. ... At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy."

Last month, Ms. Leonhart testified before Congress that she believed that heroin and marijuana posed similar threats to the public's health because, in her opinion, "all illegal drugs are bad."

For more information, please contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, "Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke," is available online at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3358713/.





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