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DEA’s Cannabis Decision Flies in the Face of Science, Logic, and Compassion

By now, you’ve probably seen the news: the Drug Enforcement Administration has decided to keep cannabis — despite countless reports on its relative safety, healing properties, and the political and racist reasons for its very prohibition in the first place — ranked as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

“This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” DEA chief Chuck Rosenburg told NPR. “And it’s not,” he said.

However, it’s painfully obvious to anyone with a sense of the corrupt, behind-the-scenes power schemes typical in politics, that this decision is much more about self-preservation to the DEA than it is about protecting the American people. If cannabis were made legal, the DEA knows it’s only a matter of time before Drug War ideologies continue to fade, and the agency will be disbanded — or at least rebranded, with hopefully fewer guns — in favor of treating drug addiction as a health condition rather than a crime.

So, at the risk of getting everyone else as equally pissed off as I am while writing this piece, let’s do a short review of the absurdity of prohibition:

  • Three recent U.S. presidents in as many administrations have admitted to smoking cannabis despite its prohibited status.
  • More than half of the U.S. — as well as many major international players including Canada, Italy, and Germany — have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes.
  • A growing majority of U.S. voters approves of the medical and recreational legalization of cannabis.
  • There are thousands of patients, families, doctors, and researchers around the world lauding the plant’s many medicinal benefits.
  • Famously, there remain zero recorded deaths attributed to cannabis use (the enforcement of its prohibition, however, has claimed countless victims). Meanwhile, alcohol and tobacco —which are not regulated by the Controlled Substances Act — kill a combined half-million Americans every year.
  • A top official from the Nixon administration publicly admitted that the Drug War was a racist political strategy, originally instituted to disrupt Black and anti-government hippy communities.
  • Black people and other minorities continue to be targeted for drug-related crimes at significantly higher rates than white people.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

And — instead of taking a logical approach to the long list of embarrassing failures the DEA has racked up — the U.S. Department of Justice continues to sit on its hands as its over-funded and now practically obsolete agency runs around, rampantly destroying lives.

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