Thursday, October 11, 2018

Cannabis Rescheduling Comment

This comment is in support of descheduling cannabis & particularly cannabidiol (CBD). The cannabis plant has been consumed for a variety of medicinal, spiritual, recreational & social uses throughout human history. In all this time there has never been a single documented death by overdose unlike most currently accepted social & medical drugs. Its potential applications are vast & include the production of textiles & fuels; medicines for conditions ranging from glaucoma to seizures; fighting deforestation & absorbing 400% more CO2 than agroforestry when grown as hemp.

The history of cannabis prohibition is rooted in racism & paranoia. Even the term "marijuana"--Spanish for "Mary Jane"--is meant to conjure images of slack-jawed Mexican immigrants getting high on the Devil's Drug. Like opium & the Chinese rail workers and cocaine & the Blacks before it, cannabis was linked to a hated minority group with the sole intention of banning the drug to criminalize a people. This worked so well it was later applied to LSD & the hippies in the 1960s. We've continued it right up to the present day.

Problem is, these drug laws are based in fear & political rhetoric, not science & medicine. The result has been an ever-growing prison population (currently the largest on Earth) of disproportionately Black & Latino people, 50% of whom are locked up on non-violent drug charges. Not only that, but our illicit drug supply is brimming with adulterants like fentanyl, carfentanil & synthetic cannabinoids like AB-FUBINACA and the JWH series, all of which are more deadly than the drugs they're meant to mimic. These substances simply wouldn't exist if not for prohibition. They are the moonshine of the Drug War.

Meanwhile, cannabidiol is not intoxicating & has a number of medical properties of its own. The descheduling of the patented form of CBD ("Epidiolex") is a hypocritical & unfair form of favoritism shown to the pharmaceutical companies who are getting rich off the same plant compound that's found in nature (and currently Schedule I). There is no reason this drug should enjoy a legal status that other CBD products do not. The same applies to Marinol, Nabilone & all other synthetic pharmaceutical versions of plant-based compounds, many of which are more toxic than their natural counterparts & less effective therapeutically.

Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, descheduling cannabis just makes good sense. Upwards of 61% of Americans support legalization & even countries like Malaysia that once threatened the death penalty for cannabis offenses are now getting on board. Legalizing would take all financial motive away from the cartels, gangs & dealers and give them to the companies & governments while allowing the application of age restrictions and quality controls that don't currently exist in the black market. No more wondering if your cannabis is sprayed with a synthetic cannabinoid like "Spice" or K2. No more selling to children. Just a taxable, well-regulated product for the consenting adults who wish to consume it at home.

For once, America could lead the way in sensible drug policy. We could be a shining example for the rest of the world and stand on the right side of history.

Thank you.

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