Reverb Press Asks: Should Marijuana Become Federally Legalized?
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What is MARIJUANA?
Marijuana, is a preparation of the cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or medicine. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 65 other cannabinoids.
Although legal in 20 states for either medical or recreational purposes, the Federal legal status of marijuana is not a pretty sight: it is currently listed as Schedule 1, putting it among the likes of meth and heroin. To be put in Schedule 1, a drug has to officially meet three qualifications—it must have a “high potential for abuse”, have “no current accepted medical uses”, and a “lack of safety for use of the drug.”
Despite its Federal designation, in late 2014 Congress passed a bill that disallows federal agents from busting marijuana operations in states where the drug has been legalized.
Why is it still in Schedule 1?
When a drug is in Schedule 1, there’s a mass of regulatory hurdles you’d have to pass to be allowed to study it. This means it’s near impossible to do studies on marijuana that the government will accept. Many independent studies have been conducted, however, and a clear consensus has emerged that marijuana is safe. The people at Norml, a pro-legalization political action group, had this to say:
“Cannabinoids have a relatively unique safety record, particularly when compared to other therapeutically active substances. Most significantly, the consumption of cannabinoids — regardless of quantity or potency — cannot induce a fatal overdose because, unlike alcohol or opiates, they do not act as central nervous system depressants. According to a 1995 review prepared for the World Health Organization, There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by … users.”