Category Archives: Marijuana

Rescheduling Marijuana—A Brief History of Rescheduling Efforts

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Marijuana is currently classified federally as a Schedule I controlled substance. This limits how it can be studied or used medically.

  • In order to qualify as a Schedule I controlled substance, a substance must have no accepted medical use, and must have the highest potential for abuse. Marijuana does not meet these criteria.

Although marijuana clearly does not meet the criteria for being classified as a Schedule I drug (of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act)—it was wrongfully convicted and remains locked into that “cell” while advocates work to “prove its innocence”  or at least its medicinal benefits and relative safety.

The Controlled Substances Act does provide a process for rescheduling controlled substances by petitioning the Drug Enforcement Division.  Cannabis could be also rescheduled either legislatively through Congress, or through the executive branch.  Many efforts have been tried and failed. And, there are many “criteria” for being considered a “drug” that marijuana, an herb, can never meet.

In 1972: The first petition under this process was filed to allow cannabis to be legally prescribed by physicians. The petition was denied. In 1985: The synthetic (THC) pill form was originally scheduled as a Schedule II drug and rescheduled in 1999 to a Schedule III class –which allowed doctors to prescribe it.

So, the U.S. government, while acknowledging that marijuana (cannabis) has medicinal value, does not agree with rescheduling it. Instead Federal agencies continue to stick to claims that it has no medical value, lacks safety and is highly addictive. Marijuana will continue to be an outlaw drug alongside heroin, and LSD in the failed war on drugs as long as it remains a Schedule I substance.

Multiple petitions (and the appeals) for rescheduling were denied in 2001, 2002 and 2013.

In 2008, the American College of Physicians called for a review of cannabis’s Schedule I classification in its position paper titled “Supporting Research into the Therapeutic Role of Marijuana”.

In 2014

January: a letter penned by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and signed by ten members of Congress was sent to President Obama urging him to reconsider marijuana’s status as a “Schedule I” drug.

June: the FDA conducted an analysis, at the request of the DEA, on whether marijuana should be downgraded,at a congressional hearing.  See Video here

September: World Leaders made recommendations for major changes to global drug policy. The Live-Stream conference included former Presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland.

In October (in CALIFORNIA): What started as a criminal trial led to U.S. District Court Judge, Kimberly J. Mueller agreeing to hear up-to-date evidence about marijuana’s medical usefulness and safety. To reschedule marijuana she and her colleagues must prove that the federal law is misguided and that it is entirely irrational. Decisions will be made in 2015.

Also in October (in IOWA) the Iowa Board of Pharmacy held special meetings to examine the medical value of marijuana and whether marijuana’s classification under state law should be changed. Decisions were deferred into 2015.

Recently Posted Position Statement from the American Academy of Neurolgy: The AAN, for research purposes, requests the reclassification of marijuana-based products from their current Schedule I status so as to improve access for study of marijuana or cannabinoids under IRB-approved research protocols.

And, there will be MORE TO COME in 2016!

The Road to United Nations Special Session on Drugs is scheduled for 2016. It is a special international conference to reassess the misclassification of marijuana and to examine other drug policies.

 

Uruguay Will Become the First Nation to Legalize Marijuana

logo_headerInteresting news coming from Uruguay. Today, Uruguay will lead the way in becoming the first country on earth to legalize cannabis. Read the full article. The world will keep a careful eye on Uruguay in the near future. Let’s all wish them the very best as they take a bold new step into ending the catastrophic global war on drugs.

20th Anniversary Celebration a smash! ‘Olelo rebroadcasts scheduled

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Mahalo to the 90+ drug policy reform advocates that came to our 20th Anniversary Celebration 11/1/2013. We are humbled and strengthened by your support!

Senator Will Espero presented a Senate proclamation acknowledging our anniversary, founding member Richard Miller received a beautiful kamani wood bowl in honor of his contributions to our organization, and Drug Policy Alliance founder Ethan Nadelmann amazed the crowd with an astute, inspiring overview of the past, present and future of drug law reform.

Watch the show on ‘Olelo (and mahalo to that all-volunteer crew that recorded it!):

      • Saturday, December 7, 2013, 10:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Monday, December 9, 2013, 7:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 54
      • Tuesday, December 10, 2013, 8:00 a.m., Oceanic Channel 49
      • Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 2:00 p.m., Oceanic Channel 49

“Celebrating 20 Years of Science, Reason and Compassion ”

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i’s 20th Anniversary Event
Friday, November 1, 2013
5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
Kapi`olani Community College
4303 Diamond Head Road
Ohelo Building ~ Ka`ikena Laua`e Room

HONOLULU – Thursday, October 17, 2013 – In the last twenty years, Hawai`i has enacted drug policy reforms on issues ranging from medical marijuana to treatment-instead-of-incarceration for nonviolent drug law violations with the support of the voters and the legislature. Join us to celebrate the work of those individuals and organizations that have tirelessly worked towards drug policy based on concern for human dignity, effective outcomes, public health considerations, and the well-being of individuals and communities.

Speaking will be Ethan Nadelmann Ph.D., JD., Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance – The Nation’s Premiere Drug Policy Organization . Mr. Nadelmann’s talk will be on “Ending the War on Drugs: Are We Really at the Tipping Point? ”

For more than two decades, Nadelmann helped build a broad-based movement for reform on the strength of a strategic insight that’s both simple and profound: The fight against repressive drug laws isn’t about championing the rights of drug users – even of a substance as popular as marijuana. It’s about fighting against federal overreach and the needless human toll of drug prohibition. Read more about Ethan at: http://dpfhi.org/2013/06/14/the-most-influential-man-in-the-battle-for-legalization-is-a-wonky-intellectual-in-dad-jeans/.

The dinner will also honor Professor of Law Emeritus and former Dean, University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, Richard “Dick” Miller. Miller has never shied away from the new or the controversial. He arrived in Hawai`i to help establish the new law school at UH in 1973 and in 1993, 20 years later, he was one of the first Board members of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai`i. His guidance and sharp legal mind is still a beacon for the Drug Policy Forum of Hawai’i in the roiling seas known as the war on drugs.

Tickets are $50 at the door and include a full dinner buffet and desserts. Limited seating is still available for the November 1 event. For further information, or to reserve a seat, please RSVP to info@dpfhi.org or call (808) 988-4386 .

The Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii was founded in 1993 and remains Hawai`i’s voice
for pragmatic drug policies that minimize economic, social, and human costs.
www.dpfhi.org

The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans

by Tim Dickinson

Rolling Stone Magazine, JUNE 06, 2013

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The driving force for the legalization of marijuana in America – a frenetic, whip-smart son of a rabbi who can barely tell indica from sativa – has just entered enemy territory. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is here in California’s crucible of conservatism, Orange County, to talk about the failure of the War on Drugs and why the government should leave pot smokers alone. As a grizzled ex-DEA agent glares at him from the audience of a lecture hall on the campus of U.C. Irvine, it’s clear that this crowd has not gathered to celebrate cannabis culture. And that’s just the way Nadelmann likes it.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/ethan-nadelmann-the-real-drug-czar-20130606

Opinion poll on Hawaii marijuana laws shows voters open to medical dispensaries, decriminalization

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Read the reports: http://freshapproachhawaii.org/2013/01/19/opinion-poll-on-hawaii-marijuana-laws/

Respected local polling firm QMark Research was commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group (the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii)  to conduct a statewide, statistically significant poll of 600 Hawaii voters. The poll occurred between November 19 and December 4, 2012. Among its findings:

  •  78% support a dispensary system for medical marijuana.
  • 69% think that jail time for marijuana offenses is inappropriate.
  • 57% favor legalized, taxed and regulated marijuana, 20% higher than the last poll conducted in 2005.

Independent U.H. economist David Nixon was commissioned to update a 2005 study on the state of marijuana law enforcement in Hawaii. He was asked to examine the costs of current law enforcement policies, and to predict the economic impacts if Hawaii were to decriminalize or legalize, tax and regulate marijuana. Among his findings:

  • Hawaii has seen a surge in marijuana arrests since 2004. Possession arrests have increased almost 50%, and distribution arrests have almost doubled.
  • Hawaii’s marijuana laws overly impact males under the age of 25 and people of native Hawaiian descent. These groups were arrested in numbers disproportionate to their share of the population.
  • By decriminalizing marijuana, Hawaii could redirect over $9 M annually in law enforcement costs.
  • By legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana, Hawaii could conservatively add an additional estimated $11 M in yearly revenues.

U.S. House Members File Bipartisan “Respect States’ Marijuana Laws Act”

“This bill is a win for federalism and a win for public safety,” said Neill Franklin, a former Maryland narcotics detective and now executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “In a time of bitter partisanship, it is quite telling that both Republicans and Democrats are calling for respect for the reform of marijuana laws. Polls show this is a winning issue for politicians, and change is inevitable. We applaud those legislators who, rather than trying to impede this progress, stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe these laws should be respected.”

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2013/apr/12/house_members_file_bipartisan_re

New report documents nationwide racial, economic disparities in incarceration

Newly released report: “The reasoning is clear: the combination of excessive incarceration and harsh punishment is a blunt instrument for social control that perpetuates the country’s painful, historical legacy of injustice and inequality, and deprives masses of black and brown people unfairly of freedom and opportunity. It is the site of today’s civil rights struggle.”

http://www.aclu.org/criminal-law-reform/ending-mass-incarceration-charting-new-justice-reinvestment

Pew Research poll: U.S. majority now supports legalizing marijuana

“For the first time in more than four decades of polling on the issue, a majority of Americans favor legalizing the use of marijuana. A national survey finds that 52% say that the use of marijuana should be made legal while 45% say it should not.

Support for legalizing marijuana has risen 11 points since 2010. The change is even more dramatic since the late 1960s. A 1969 Gallup survey found that just 12% favored legalizing marijuana use, while 84% were opposed.”

http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/

Opinion & research on marijuana in Hawai‘i, 2013

Economist estimates state & counties stand to save/ generate an estimated $20M/year through marijuana legalization

January 2013 – With many states decriminalizing and even legalizing marijuana, where does Hawaii stand? Two new reports commissioned by the Drug Policy Action Group (“DPAG”) sought to answer this question, and the latest findings were presented at a January 10, 2013 Honolulu press conference. Barbara Ankersmit, President of QMark Research shared the results of a statewide poll of Hawaii voters’ attitudes toward marijuana and marijuana laws. Pamela Lichty, President of the Drug Policy Action Group, presented highlights from a new report on the potential economic impacts of marijuana legalization authored by David Nixon, Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii College of Social Sciences Public Policy Center.

The text of both reports is published at: http://dpfhi.wordpress.com/opinion-and-research-on-marijuana-policy-in-hawaii/