Reclassifying marijuana needs to happen


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For decades, people have viewed marijuana as the first step into a life of self-destruction. What began as a medicinal crop became banned, once anti-marijuana propaganda gained momentum. Thus, it became classified as a Schedule I substance, or in other words, one of “the most dangerous drugs.”

However, recent studies found that marijuana is not as harmful as heroin or even cocaine, a Schedule II drug. In fact, it is harmless compared to the use of cigarettes and tobacco, both legal substances.

Now, the mystery remains: Why must marijuana be classified as a Schedule I substance?

On August 14, 1970, the Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Roger O. Egeberg  sent a letter to Congress recommending the classification of Marijuana in the Controlled Substance Act.

In the letter Edgeberg said “Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marijuana be retained within Schedule I, at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve the issue.”

Thus, the fate of marijuana was sealed. Fearing of the unknown, devoid of knowledge, the use of cannabis became illegal.

But how valid is this reason today?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “Marijuana leads to dependence in around nine to 10 percent of its adult users. By comparison, cocaine, hooks 20 percent of those who use it. Around 25 percent of heroin users become addicted.” He also mentioned that he “could not find a documented case of death from marijuana overdose.”

This shows that marijuana, being neither addictive or capable of overdose, could not possibly fit with in the same category as Schedule I drugs such as LSD, ecstasy or heroin.

In addition, it has also been found that the THC of marijuana, the same element that enables the user to feel high, induces the death of various brain cancer cell lines.

According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s documentary, Weed, the use of cannabis may, potentially, be the only option to effectively treat illnesses such as epilepsy, PTSD or even Alzheimers.

“I do not believe it is the government’s place to police the use of the substance,” said pre-med senior, Sriharsha Kambala. “That responsibility should fall entirely on the shoulders of the user.”

Colorado, the first state to legalize the use of  marijuana for both medical and recreational use, disproved the anti-propaganda.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said the rate of marijuana usage has remained flat, arrests have gone down, and Colorado is on pace to generate about $100 million dollars in tax revenue this fiscal year.

So far, four states have legalized recreational pot use, while twenty states legalized it for medical reasons only. As more states continue to relax their policies, states such as Texas remains to be rather harsh on the users of marijuana.

“Texas is traditionally tough on users,” political science professor Jaye Ramsey Sutter said “Texas is not going to legalize the drug for nonprescription or non-medical use soon.”

Nonetheless, we must learn what marijuana actually does to one’s body, rather than what anti-propaganda or the law attempted to sell. The government has definitely lied to us many times in the past.

It is our job, as citizens, to see that it does not happen again.

Opinion columnist Krishna Narra is a marketing junior and may be reached at [email protected]


  • “The government has definitely lied to us many times in the past.

    It is our job, as citizens, to see that it does not happen again.”

  • It’s all about the money. Follow the money trail to taxes funding ever growing law enforcement, leading to an ever greater need for more money to fund enforcement efforts.

    • Yup. The irony is that there is arguably an even greater tax revenue to be made legalizing and regulating taxes on the product than profiting off the criminalization of it.

  • The prohibition of marijuana has led to law enforcement and prison industry occupational dependencies. Without asset forfeiture, law enforcement cannot engage in authorized confiscation of property from citizens. None of this benefits our society at large.

  • It has become more and more clear that cannabis is far safer than alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceutical drugs which according to the Center for Disease Control kill over 650,000 Americans each and every year.

    Who is against cannabis legalization in our nation today? Why do they want to keep cannabis illegal? The answer is easy, just follow the money!

    * Drug cartels and organized crime will lose multi billion dollar cannabis sales forever in favor of legitimate business, regulation and taxation.
    * Police and private prisons will lose up to 30% of their drug related “customers”.
    * Big pharmaceutical corporations are scared witless that cannabis will replace many of their addictive drugs because it works better and has no physical addiction.
    * International chemical corporations do not want hemp fiber competition.
    * Logging companies serving the paper industry are poised to lose a big chunk to renewable hemp.
    * The alcoholic beverage industries are the largest financial lobby against cannabis legalization. They know cannabis is safer and less toxic than booze and that it is already being used as an alternative by millions of American citizens.

    Legalization seems like a slam dunk considering the relative safety records of cannabis, booze and pharmaceuticals. Cannabis with zero toxic fatalities and almost no statistical record of traffic accidents, versus alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs which kill over 650,000 US citizens annually plus another 21,000 in traffic deaths. Makes you wonder if our politicians and lawmakers answer to “we the people” or the corporations and criminals listed above.

    Legalize, regulate and TAX!

    • “Makes you wonder if our politicians and lawmakers answer to “we the people” or the corporations and criminals listed above.” As you said FF, it’s all about the money. Corporations give politicians money, they pass laws to further corporate profits. There is NO interest in public health, only money. In other countries this is called ‘corruption’.

  • Its quite simply the dumbest law ever. A harmless and helpful plant that springs up from the ground is sought by armed men in helicopters. Countless lives ruined by the wrongful classification of this plant. The insanity needs to stop.

  • The point in ending the war on the safest therapeutic substance know to man is to stop the harm prohibition causes millions of people. The longest war in the history of the US is based on LIES, PREJUDICE and GREED and the perpetrators were and still are 1. Big Government 2. Big Business and 3. Mass Media. Cannabis is safer than sugar, caffeine and even water. Science, sanity and humanity require cannabis be REMOVED from the CSA and treated like tomatoes and nothing less.

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