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Feature: DEA Rejects Yet Another Rescheduling Petition, But the End Game Lies Far Down the Road

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #567)
Politics & Advocacy

The DEA has rejected yet another petition seeking to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), this one from Iowa-based marijuana reformer Carl Olsen. It is only the latest petition rejection by the agency in a glacially-paced struggle to reschedule marijuana that has been going on since 1972.

marijuana plants
But Olsen and other advocates of the rescheduling tactic say that is to be expected, and the rejection is only the opening phase of this particular battle, not the end of the line. And while Olsen heads to federal court to challenge the DEA ruling, another petition to reschedule marijuana is still in process, as it has been for the past six years.

Richard Nixon was just beginning his second term in office when the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) filed the first rescheduling petition. It took 22 years and numerous court challenges before the DEA finally rejected that petition. In the meantime, the DEA rescheduled marijuana's primary psychoactive ingredient, THC, as a Schedule II drug in 1985 and loosened controls over THC even further by rescheduling it to Schedule III in 1999. That allows doctors to prescribe Marinol, but not marijuana.

Another rescheduling petition, filed by Olsen in 1992, was rejected years later, as was a 1995 petition submitted by former NORML head, researcher, and professor of public policy Jon Gettman. In 2002, Gettman, in association with a long list of supporters, submitted yet another Cannabis Rescheduling Petition, which remains pending.

Under the CSA, he argues, substances must meet several criteria to be placed in Schedule I, the most restrictive schedule. The substance must have a high potential for abuse, it must have "no currently accepted medical use" in the US, and there must be a lack of accepted safety for use of the substance. Both the Olsen petition that was rejected last month (although the decision was not published until this week) and the pending Gettman petition argue that marijuana no longer qualifies to be placed in Schedule I because it does have "currently accepted medical use" in the US, citing in particular the ever-growing number of states that have legalized its medicinal use.

But the two petitions differ in the way they seek to remedy the situation, and it is this difference that accounts for the vastly different pace at which they have been handled by the DEA. While the Gettman petition is still awaiting a ruling six years after it was filed, Olsen's petition was only filed this year. The Gettman petition seeks to reschedule marijuana through the administrative process, the Olsen petition argues that the issue is a matter of statutory law. Under the CSA, if marijuana is found to have "currently accepted medical use," it cannot be Schedule I.

"I filed in May, filed a federal lawsuit in September, and got a ruling December," said Olsen. "The DEA has never moved that fast on a petition in its history, and by denying the petition, it is avoiding the possibility of having to deal with it again because now it will instead go back to the court of appeals."

Olsen's petition was not a request, but a demand that DEA recognize the reality that marijuana cannot be a Schedule I drug, he said. "I didn't ask for anything; I demanded that they comply with the law. It's not a Schedule I drug, and they are breaking the law by keeping it there," he said. "The statute says it can't be a Schedule I drug if it has accepted medical use, and 13 states say it has accepted medical use. Doesn't that mean anything?"

Not according to the DEA it doesn't. "Your petition and notice rest on your contention that federal drug law gives states the authority to determine, for purposes of the CSA, whether a drug has a 'currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,' and that marijuana has such a currently accepted medical use because 12 states have passed laws relating to the use of marijuana for medical purposes," wrote DEA Deputy Administrator Michele Leonhart in denying the petition.

Leonhart cited the Raich medical marijuana case in arguing that marijuana has no "accepted medical use" because the federal government doesn't recognize it, and even quoted from the decision: "The Supremacy Clause unambiguously provides that if there is any conflict between federal and state law, federal law shall prevail," and "Congress expressly found that [marijuana] has no acceptable medical uses."

Leonhart also quickly disposed of additional arguments presented by Olsen, summarizing her position by finding that "the existence of state legislation is not relevant to a scheduling determination." Thus, "there is no statutory basis for DEA to grant your petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana. Nor is there any basis to initiate any action based on your August 5th notice. The Petitioner's request is denied."

Now, it will be up to the federal courts to decide who is right. "The court has to rule on my complaint to enjoin the DEA from enforcing Schedule I," said Olsen. "If they rule in my favor, the DEA cannot claim it is a Schedule I drug; it will have to remove it from Schedule I."

In either case, the losing side will appeal. Look for a resolution of the Olsen case some time in the not-so-near future.

That's just how Olsen planned it, said Gettman. "I wasn't surprised at the DEA decision, and I don't think Carl was either," he said. "The whole point of his petition was to get this into federal court, and to do that, he had to be rejected administratively. This is really the beginning of Carl's legal challenge rather than the end."

Gettman credited Olsen with breaking new ground with the petition and even for inspiring Gettman himself to get involved with rescheduling. "Carl's arguments greatly clarify and build on state-level recognition of medical use, and set the stage for greater attention to this matter," he said. "And I have to say that Carl's activity and pioneering efforts are one of the things that inspired me to file the 1995 petition in the first place."

Meanwhile, Gettman's petition is still pending, although it has already moved through several stages of a lengthy bureaucratic process involving the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). "The last time we got a status report from FDA, they were nearing the end of their review," Gettman reported.

He is no hurry right now, he said. "We have deliberately decided not to pressure the government to complete the review. We would prefer to deal with the next administration instead of the current one," he explained. "Regardless of how the election turned out, we would have new personnel overseeing the process, and we think a fresh perspective would be beneficial."

Even if the FDA were to come down with a favorable review, there are many steps between that and actually rescheduling marijuana, and even then, the fight over marijuana will still be underway, said Gettman. "Rescheduling will not make medical marijuana available right away and it is not the end of deciding marijuana's regulatory status, it's the beginning," he said. "But it would change the regulatory environment and make it easier for states to accelerate the pace of reform, as well as make it easier for human studies to get under way and for companies to develop marijuana as a medical substance. Schedule I status discourages companies from doing that."

NORML founder Keith Stroup, who was in on the original 1972 rescheduling effort applauds Gettman's and Olsen's efforts, but said he has lost faith in ever gaining redress through that process. "I just don't believe anymore that the rulemaking process is ever going to work in our favor," he said. "We've been trying since 1973, and I think we're going to have to win this the old-fashioned way, through the legislative process or voter initiatives. I just don't think the people in those agencies have the principled courage to do the right thing," Stroup added.

"Still, I'm pleased that Carl and Jon continue to pursue these avenues," he said. "It's to our advantage to put pressure on the system wherever we can."

Whether it's a long-shot or not, the effort to change the marijuana laws through seeking rescheduling is not going away. And who knows? It might actually pay off big one of these years.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

If there was any danger related to THC then I could understand the DEA's stance. But a basically harmless plant? Just dumb. There are just no words to describe this idiotic belief that pot is evil, harmful, or immoral.

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 2:23pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Cannabis is one of the safest substances on this planet. It is completely absurd to have it a schedule1 drug.

Norman Lepoff, M.D. (ret)

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 2:46pm Permalink
mrclay (not verified)

From what I gather it's the 59 or so non-THC cannabinoids that the FDA (ostensibly) has issue with. It's like saying all herbs are illegal because they can't be synthesized from scratch.

Has no one tried to take on the CSA by petitioning for alcohol or tobacco to scheduled?

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:25pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Actually, yes:

Carl Olsen
Iowans for Medical Marijuana
Post Office Box 4091
Des Moines, Iowa 50333

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

What? The DEA kill the goose that laid the golden egg? 85% of all illicit drugs used is cannabis. This means the DEA and ONDCP would only have about 15% of the war on drugs to wage if it weren't for the prohibited status of cannabis. They'd lose power, money, jobs and wouldn't be able to confiscate nearly as much property. Forgive me for being so skeptical. But, cannabis prohibition doesn't seem to be about protecting the health of anyone. It's only seems to be about protecting prohibitionists.

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:32pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

You hit the nail right on the head man. Until the United States of America realizes it can make more money SELLING marijuana than prohibiting it, nothing will change. Too many jobs on the line, too many agencies getting paid to "fight" marijuana, too many drug therapists, cops, and civil servants owe their jobs and livelihoods to the drug war. Too bad it's all just a big sham.

The good news is that selling it would be vastly more profitable, and I do believe that this is starting to sink in with some people with power.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 5:26pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

The truth.

It's about power and money. I'm sure they have had a cost-benefit analysis of changing the laws versus reform and the former one made the most money. Our government is run by corporations, as a corporation. I support NORML and MPP and all of those that support legal ways and voter initiatives to change the law, but I don't think that's going to work.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 9:31pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Seems there is a growing number of people who are accepting the truth; this bodes well for those of us who have been writing letters and quietly preaching to everyone who would listen, that pot is not harmful but beneficial in every way, and that hemp is not smokable, and that there are many more things that need government attention from all levels.
What about the schools that suffer from lack of funds for textbooks,and modern computers and teaching aids and suitable wages to attract real teachers?
What about roads that are impassable for significant portions of the year?
What about the increasing number of food banks utilized by those who are too poor, undereducated,or unmotivated to have enough to eat?
What about the charities that drum us for money and have for decades?
Why chase me for being open about smoking pot? I'm nothing and nobody in the grand scheme of things and I never will be; the only thing I have is that I am not alone!
All us little people are gaining weight with the ability to put pressure on where it counts just because there are so many of us.

Fri, 01/16/2009 - 2:31am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The federal government insists that marijuana remain a Schedule I drug which means that it has no accepted medical use in the U.S., and is unsafe for use even under medical supervision.

This is an embarrassment to science, the medical profession and even common sense.

There is a wealth of scientific data that supports the therapeutic efficacy and safety of marijuana for a wide variety of symptoms and conditions. Thousands of physicians have recommended marijuana for hundreds of thousands of patients in the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Even common sense understands that doctors prescribe far more dangerous and addicting drugs than marijuana every day.

Ken Wolski, RN, MPA
Executive Director
Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, Inc.
844 Spruce St.
Trenton, NJ 08648
[email protected]

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:41pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Of all of the discussions I have heard, the one that seems to make the most sense, is to tell anyone who supports "prohibition", that they are supporting an ongoing criminal enterprise. Any official who I've said this to, has gotten very defensive. But explain that for over thirty five years the authorities, have proven that they are unable or unwilling to stop the flow of drugs into our neighborhoods. Leaving all of these substances and their profits in the control of the worst of the worst. Your kid may go to buy a bag of "pot", but this time he tells her I've got something really good here. That don't happen when I go to buy a six-pack. And Columbia grows more coffee than anywhere, and because it's not illegal, I haven't heard of any gangs fighting over coffee turf. Lets call it what it is. A sick damn joke still being played on us by Nixon.

Sat, 01/10/2009 - 5:20pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Dr. Wolski said "There is a wealth of scientific data that supports the therapeutic efficacy and safety of marijuana for a wide variety of symptoms and conditions. Thousands of physicians have recommended marijuana for hundreds of thousands of patients in the 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana. Even common sense understands that doctors prescribe far more dangerous and addicting drugs than marijuana every day."

...and I would like to add...not to mention the past 5,000 years of global cannabis use and, more importantly, the United States' extensive uncontrolled experiment of non-supervised use of cannabis by tens of millions of people without a single documented death or overdose.

It IS a disgrace. What's more disgraceful is that we exported (or was it exTorted?) this insane puritanical drug policy to the entire world, forcing it down their throats where needed.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 5:34pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

At the end of this train wrecked Bush Administration we can finally understand and pass Marijuana Legalization for medical and personal use with the newly elected administration. At a time like this, contacting and staying in contact with your local Senators and Congressmen is critical. If your district isn't represented to reform marijuana laws, then you must do it yourself. Stop thinking someone else is going to do all the work to end drug prohibition. Many locally polled seniors this week in Middle Tennessee have vowed to use medical marijuana to cure cancer and use it's comforting properties in cases of cancer and other deadly illnesses. I'll bet the seniors in your community aren't any different from mine. When given the chance to use Hemp Oil, a known cure for cancer to save one's life, the choice is simple and easy to understand. If it's illegal, we don't care, we're going to take safe, effective medicine that works.

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 3:54pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

What in ades does the DEA have to do with the legislative process. They are enforcement, correct.. In my country they are seperate entities. Man what a bunch of idiots in Washington.

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 4:17pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

The prison industry and the DEA are cousins, the DEA heads the laws that fill the prisons that make $ for the prison industry. therefore:

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.


According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years' imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams - 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years' imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the "three strikes" laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.

. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.


Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of "hiring out prisoners" was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else's land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery - which were almost never proven - and were then "hired out" for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of "hired-out" miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. "Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex," comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."


The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton's program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added - which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.


Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state's governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 - ending court supervision and decisions - caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering "rent-a-cell" services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.


Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country's 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.

Global Research Articles by Vicky Pelaez

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 4:22pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, obviously, the answer is to find some other ludicrous reason to throw all the ethnics in prison. Maybe pass laws that if your skin is a certain shade, BAM you have to do 10 to 20 years, or perhaps make tobacco illegal then go after it like they do marijuana. Or, we could just bring back slavery, hell, we'd beat the pants off China then wouldn't we?

I don't know, brainstorm here with me guys.

Seriously, the machine is out of control and someone needs to pull the plug and reboot it.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 5:40pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"US Patent 6630507 titled "Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants" which is assigned to The United States of America, as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services."

So how in the world can cannabis not be rescheduled with the above patent in mind?

Obama, here's a 'change' your administration can sink its teeth into -- although that's highly unlikely...

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 5:43pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Olsen should use this as Statutory Evidence by a governmental agency recognizing Marijuana as having medical purposes.

If the government has the balls to take out a patent on a Madical Marijuana Device, it should have to hold that it DOES have medical purposes. Not only that, but a patent owned by the DHHS shows that TWO government agencies recognize this fact.

I can't wait for the court battle!

Thu, 01/15/2009 - 5:19am Permalink
mlang52 (not verified)

Diacetylmorphine (diamorphine) is a pain medicine. But, since some politician decided to change its name to "HEROIN" it is "not medicinally" useful? Its use was curtailed when it was found out to have, inadvertently, addicted many people! But, that was from medical mismanagement, not from the fact that it is "more addicting" than any other pain medicine! Fentanyl is much stronger. Yet it is class 2. That is exactly where heroin should be. It should also be used for treatment of pain. It would be a lot cheaper than Kadian, Oxycontin, and those other $1,000 / month prescriptions. Oh, I let it slip my mind that the DEA also tells pain doctors how to treat their patients. They have all the knowledge it takes to tell doctors how to inadequately treat their chronic pain patients! And it is either "their way or the highway"! UHHG!

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 6:17pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by mlang52 (not verified)

Oh let's not even go there. Every opioid from codeine to heroin metabolizes into the same substance in your body: morphine. If heroin is class 1 then codeine should be as well, it's the same exact base chemical compund.

The big Pharmaceutical Corporations are the ones who really profit from all this, I mean why would you buy Oxycontin for a few thousand $ each month when you could get heroin or methadone for about $15? Big pharma has lots of money and lots of lobbying power, but they're really just one more juggernaut that will fall when the drug war comes tumbling down. And it will. It must. We cannot pay for it anymore. Economics will dictate the change in drug policy.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 5:48pm Permalink
mlang52 (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Your story about metabolism is not quite correct. Hydrocodone>hydromorphone; (Dilaudid) Oxycodone>oxymorphone (Opana) this metabolism occurs in the liver to the active form of the drug. Methadone has a different path and also has a much longer half life. Because of an idiosyncrasy, it is the most dangerous of the opiates and can occasionally kill a person giving them heart arrythmias, at a non-lethal, or even, sub-therapeutic dose. None of the other opiates are as dangerous as aspirin when dosed and taken correctly! They have erroneously placed several drugs in the class one category. Even Ecstasy might be useful for PTSD and similar psychiatric diseases. We will never know, it is illegal to research in our country! But who should know better the doctors or the DEA? The ones with the least education, that's who! That is not who I want telling my doctor, how to practice medicine!

But you are right about one thing. Big pharma likes making thousands of dollars a month on long acting medication when short acting is much more plentiful and a heck of a lot cheaper. Addictive behavior, in chronic pain patients, has been found in research to be from 1% to .008% depending on which study you read! It is beneficial for them to make sure methadone and heroin are not used for medication because it is so much more economical! But, the DEA has made sure doctors are too scared to use any type of opiate for chronic pain. Not too many doctors have enough guts to fight the system and end up unemployed! I know! I was too brave!

Tue, 01/13/2009 - 12:05am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I'm 50 years old and have been smoking pot since I was 15, dailiy since age 22. I am in better shape than most 20-somethings, and I can still hop on a bicycle and ride 80 miles and not feel it the next day. I smoked my way through grad school, wasn't late on a single assignment, missed only one class in 3 years because of shingles, and my advisor nominated me for a scholarship, describing me as a "strong student." My biggest health problem is sports injuries. I have a resting pulse rate of about 60 and I"m stronger than either of my brothers that don't smoke pot. I have an excellent credit rating, no small feat in this economy. Also, I haven't been pulled over for anything in 5 years now, and the only citation I ever got was for speeding. I just don't speed any more. (I dare any cop to find a reason to pull me over for anything!)

I would love to go and testify before congress and show them in person what 35 years of pot smoking will do to a person!

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 9:12pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

You always hear about NORML and MPP working to change marijuana laws, but rarely do you hear of individual freedom fighters like Carl Olsen. Keep up the great work Carl!!

Mason City IA

Fri, 01/09/2009 - 11:44pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

During much of the 90's I was the publisher of "New Age Patriot" and was known far and wide as "Professor Hemp" because of my unyielding insistances on total Marijuana Legalization for ALL adult Americans. Today I am the webmaster for "New Age Citizen" and have reverted to using my real name Bruce W. Cain. 2009 must become the begining of the end for Marijuana Prohibition.

It has long been time to say "game over" on the issue of Marijuana. The MERP Model will destroy the Drug Cartels, the Drug Gangs and will provide counterbalance to the many liberties lost since 911.

If Obama does not honor the most popular recommendation on the 1st poll, which he has curiously deleted from the website, we should move toward a mass movement for impeachment. The time for compromised solutions is over. I will soon be producing additional videos to explain the positive features of the MERP Model and will defend it against all that disagree.

Drug Policy
Marijuana: Past, Present and Future from Bruce Cain on Vimeo.

Why Lou Dobbs Should Support Marijuana Legalization

The MERP Project
The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project

Bruce W. Cain Discusses the MERP Model, for Marijuana Relegalization, with "Sense and Sensimilla"

Sat, 01/10/2009 - 11:23am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Carl is a high priest of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church, and the sole remaining legal entity concerning the Church. I know Carl to be an amazing man with all of our best interests at heart. I was involved with the Church in Miami many years ago and Carl is the last vestige of a movement that began when Niah ( Keith Gordon ) and a few others decided to challenge the government directly about cannabis.

Carl has waged battle after battle for many years....voluntarily stopping all cannabis use so he cn appear honestly and truthfully as a claimant that te DEQ andthe stupid laws are interfering with his God given right to worship as he pleases using herbs that God himself made.

I urge anyone with a few exra bucks to support Carl's work, which has been helped by the Rutherford Institute, as he is fighting this battle basicall alone and with his own funds. He is trying to help us all. And, he is a great guy on top of it all!

God Bless Carl and all who struggle against Leviathan and fopr the freedom of choice.

Rich in NC

Sat, 01/10/2009 - 1:05pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

...why is there an office in the WhiteHouse devoted to drug policy? There has got to be a better use for the office space. And what is the need to for "scheduling" of substances?The DEAth is the enforcement arm of the ONDCP. Why should the DEAth be consulted on policy? Everybody now knows, the "drug war" is about the money and the international influence it provides. If Obama keeps the office in place he"s playing the same old game. Hope he helps the office expire in Sept. 2010.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 11:26am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I agree completely. ONDCP needs to be abolished, there's no reason for it to exist, and it has been an embarrassment to the federal government for far too long.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 5:52pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Have enjoyed reading the well reasoned thoughts and arguments here about this issue. But I question the depth of outrage of most people.

The drug war issue is important not only for it's own sake but because it is the clearest example of how the Constitution (not to mention reason) can be arbitrarily ignored by the Federal government.

And this is what worries me most: That the insanity of the drug war can lie in the open for so long and be accepted as normal by so many Americans, even if they don't agree with it, means that the will to resist has been bred out of us. By accepting, I mean that we are willing to vote for politicians whose parties openly support this obviously unconstitutional insanity. I contend that if we were principled individuals and serious about the issue, we would not do this. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, my conclusion is that we are doomed as a free society.

Even if the marijuana prohibition ended tomorrow, it would not change the situation, no more than the end of alcohol prohibition did in the 30s. We will go complacently on.

Sun, 01/11/2009 - 12:33pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In the meantime visit:

They have some legal stuff that is good. Someday it will be legal... I just know it...

Wed, 01/14/2009 - 2:51pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Now that the DEA has denied Carl Olsen's petition to remove/reschedule marijuana his work is just beginning. He has been trying to get his case in Federal Court and now it has to go to Federal Court of Appeals since the DEA denied his petition. YEEHAW!!! Way to go Carl! I'm sure this will take some time but I would say watch for an answer in the not to distant future. This would of course change everything by taking marijuana out of schedule I category it is no longer an illegal substance.

Sat, 01/31/2009 - 12:23am Permalink
Chmmrx (not verified)

It is important to note the original instances that created our current problem. A racist push for department finances and special interests were the original reasons for marijuana prohibition. Alcohol prohibition had ended. The head of what equaled the DEA 70 odd years ago, needed tax revenue.. This is the original mindset and process that criminalized marijuana...

Harry J. Anslinger - most direct founder of marijuana prohibition:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others."
"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."
"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."
"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."
"Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing"
"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."
"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."

William Randolf Hearst - H.J.Anslinger's Yellow Journalism partner, San Francisco Examiner:

"Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days - Hashish goads users to bloodlust."
"By the tons it is coming into this country - the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms.... Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him...."

Other nationwide columns:

"Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug."
"Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim's life in Los Angeles?... THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES - that is a matter of cold record."


"Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by DuPont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. DuPont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies. "

After completing a two year plan to brainwash society using these sensationalist reports fostered by racist ideology and funded by special intrest, all these guys needed was evidence.. They of course did find their evidence - A two year campaign of manipulated media-opinion coverage was presented as documented evidence to a government committee..

The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

Member from upstate New York: "Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?"
Speaker Rayburn: "I don't know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it's a narcotic of some kind."
"Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?"
Member on the committee jumps up and says: "Their Doctor Wentworth came down here. They support this bill 100 percent."

And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

At this point the enforcement bodies are using similar tactics to maintain negative opinion on marijuana... Current public remarks, ads, and press releases do not contain the same racist sentiment - that is true.. usually... unless indirect... Although... the use of marijuana among users of all races here in the USA are proportionate, but for some strange reason arrests for possession is considerably varied when viewed by race...

No, it is FEAR they still publicly use... Disjointed ads that depict someone neglecting a child or whatever horribly bad imagery they can muster to hold your moral fiber hostage.. Tools of fear, these things are not directly related with marijuana use. There are plenty of people that neglect children with no influence of marijuana. Those are the same people whether they excessively watch TV, play some mmorpg, drink alcohol, abuse steroids, coach a high school football team - what ever - eat pizza every weekend.. the correlation might as well be any of that... Fact is, you would not want intoxication and care of a child together... General opinion supporting this is twisted into acceptance that marijuana makes this happen... Irresponsibility is the fiend, and marijuana did not create the irresponsibility. Imagine the same message blaming beer for causing the child neglect... Excluding propaganda, a seemingly more plausible scenario anyhow, blame seems naturally assigned to the drinker and not the drink... The changing factor is the shroud of "Reefer Madness". Just as in the start.. same old "Earth will plunge into Hell" fear mongering arguments... Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

Of course, there are entities that benefit from marijuana prohibition and are also sworn to uphold it as part of their very job description.

To quote the DEA, the last time I was at their site:

"The short term effects of marijuana use include:
Memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of motor skills, decrease in muscle strength, increased heart rate, and anxiety."

Now lets look at short term effects with alcohol, only briefly though because the list just goes on and on:

The short term effects of alcohol use include but not nearly limited to:
Reduced Inhibitions,Loss of Muscle Control, Memory Loss and/or Blackouts, Trouble with Thinking and Problem Solving, Nausea, Vomiting ,Headaches, Hangovers, Stupor, Distorted Perception, Decrease in Heart Rate, decrease in Muscle Strength, Suicidal Tendencies, Anxiety, and Coma.

To put it mildly ..I personally do not think marijuana is addictive. Sources supporting otherwise say marijuana is addictive on a psychological level and not a physical level... So, you think you need it, but your body, including the brain, is not truly addicted.. Negative effects of detoxing for marijuana are as bad as anxious behavior/less patience.. Negative effects of detoxing for alcohol are as bad as death...

Rational individuals, who are agenda free, can not deny the dangers of alcohol.

With further investigation, the prohibition on marijuana is much worse for society than that of its legalization.

Suggest, if you will... Normal everyday citizen... They go to work, balance their check book, pay for things, raise children.. you know, live a normal life with one exception.. they ingest marijuana.. Barring any excessive usage/abuse, (which is clearly the same case as with many already legal substances), these people function fine... except respiratory issues when smoked... Do I need mention it is legal to "smoke"! Now lets look at when that same normal everyday citizen gets arrested for possession:

Prohibition can cause in short:

1) job loss
2) criminal charges
3) loss of children
4) denial of federal aid
5) financial downfall
6) life endangerment
7) loss of freedom

The cruel and unusual punishment list goes on... Point is, again, marijuana prohibition is worse for the individual/society than legalization... and not for a moment should we accept this "gateway drug" propaganda... Those whom do, think this plant is essentially the stepping stone to harder drugs.. This bothers me, the marijuana plant is really the first step of drug abuse, and punished as the worst class of drug? Seems to me, these already invalid arguments contradict themselves anyway... This is cruel and unusual punishment at its finest... You get caught with the first step, and you get punished as if you were on the last step.. Yes, the broad arm of enforcement claims it is favorable in the struggle to discourage usage of marijuana... so it wont draw you in, suck you up into a crazy world of drug culture, and expose you to other harder illegal drugs.. Even pretending this is real.. People still end up paying the exaggerated punishment while campaign results are grim. Prohibition is the fiend, and marijuana did not create the prohibition. Eliminate the black market distribution and good people will no longer need to be exposed to the black market.. Eradication and prohibition efforts have not accomplished this, and I dare say will not.. You have to give it up to the enforcement agencies though .. They are charged with upholding this law and to do anything they can that will accomplish that. It is our job to change the laws.. then enforcement will be sworn to uphold the new ones.

In conclusion it appears to me there is big money at work - alcohol, textile, oil, enforcement agencies, drug cartels, etc, all benefit. The rest of us seem to be the pawns who pay... that is:

Unless we speak up and let our voice be heard for change in the current law, and against any individual that would have you believe "A law is a law - it does not matter if it is wrong or right!".

The latter happens to be against a founding principle of this great country. Stop wasting resources on this plant. Record eradication every year - as well as - record growth and availability. This is a money pit for something that is no worse than alcohol.

To those whom are against marijuana - free your mind of arguments attached to fear mongering please.

Wed, 12/02/2009 - 2:46am Permalink
juan (not verified)

DEA funding should be terminated , seems like most of them are alcoholics try to lord over pubic

Sat, 03/05/2011 - 11:01am Permalink

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