The Feds Deny Cannabis Has Any Known Medical Benefit
With the DEA's recent denial of a petition by Marijuana advocates last Friday, many activists are dismayed, but should they be?
Last Friday, the Federal government officially ruled that Marijuana has no useful medical use. In May several medical marijuana advocacy groups under the name Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis filed a lawsuit insisting that the DEA finally attend to the 9-year-old request. So the DEA finally responded and then “just said NO” to the petition. Understandably, many people in the pro-legalization community were upset, but should they be? This decision was the appropriate decision by the feds, not because of my own philosophical belief in agreement with the aforementioned decision, but because it is not the job of a federal agency to make significant changes to the social fabric of America.
In some ways this decision is exactly what the pro-legalization movement truly needs. One could even look at some of the previous efforts as a colossal waste of time considering the true objective is outright legalization, or is it? In light of this decision and the emerging acceptance of Marijuana as a possible legal substance, I decided to do an informal survey while walking around Boston. One question I posed to people was this: Do you believe Marijuana should be legal and if so, should it be legal like Alcohol or only for medicinal purposes? Although it was unscientific, results seemed mixed as most people interviewed echoed the sentiments of this young girl of 23, who I shall call Jenna. When the legalization question was posed to her, here is what she said “ well, is there a way we can make it legal so people who have cancer and things like that can have it, but that young kids don’t have access to it?” So here is a representation of opinion that I found a majority of people had.
Many Americans seem to favor legalization, or at least a more lenient legal attitude towards it, but what legal forms do people prefer? This question is imperative for the pro-legalization community to answer because like many other issues or laws that are debated through the political spectrum, false and misleading information can confuse a semi-interested public who is somewhat ignorant to all of the issues. So the questions must become more direct and the answers must be finite and definitive. If you favor legalization, say you favor legalization. Do not mask your intention under the “medicinal” label if you aspire for something more. The public will become confused and federal agencies such as the DEA will have no choice but to deny petitions such as the one that happened last Friday.
Legalization can only be properly achieved through the Democratic process and not the courts or an unelected bureaucracy. Do I believe this debate should happen, yes I do, but it should not be done under the guise of “medicinal” purposes if the true objective is outright legalization. If the Pro-legalization community, such as the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis wants outright legalization, then they should petition the American people, Congress or individual state legislators and not waste their time with the DEA. That is not the proper venue for such a landmark decision as legalization. This should be decided by democracy, or it will be skeptically viewed and eventually shunned by the public.