Although there has been a lot of noise reverberating throughout the cannabis community this year, regarding the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s supposed decision over whether to downgrade the Schedule I listing of the cannabis plant, there is increasing evidence that Uncle Sam’s dope-sniffing henchmen, along with a gang of apprehensive federal lawmakers, are scheming up a plan to only unleash that part of the herb that doesn’t get people high.
The stoner nation went absolutely berserk back in April when the DEA revealed through a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren that the agency was planning to announce a possible Schedule downgrade for the cannabis plant before the end of summer. While the 25-page document did not give any indication as to how this potential amendment to the Controlled Substances Act would be made, the majority of the folks swallowing the news took it as an implication that legalization was right around the corner.
Unfortunately, some of the latest chatter coming from DEA insiders alludes to the possibility that the agency is only considering a reschedule for Cannabidiol or CBD, the non-intoxicating part of the cannabis plant that has been making headlines for the past few years for its effectiveness in treating seizure disorders.
A recent interview with DEA staff coordinator Russ Baer suggests that the agency is struggling over how “complex the marijuana plant is” because it contains “hundreds of chemical actors, or cannabinoids.” Baer said that it has been challenging for the federal government to “identify the parts of the plant that might have benefit, and separating out (the beneficial) components and distinguishing which “aren’t beneficial or harmful.”
So while it has been proven over the course of the past several decades that marijuana is, in fact, safer than America’s leading legal drugs — alcohol, tobacco, and even caffeine – it sounds as though the federal government is currently dissecting the cannabis plant in an effort to appease the call for “medicine,” while it continues to criminalize THC.
But it’s not just the DEA that is scheming to simply loosen the reigns on that element of the cannabis plant that does not produce psychoactive effects. Four members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, including anti-pot politician Senator Chuck Grassley, recently introduced a bill called the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (S.3269), which would “require the Attorney General to make a determination as to whether cannabidiol should be a controlled substance” and “expand research on the potential medical benefits of cannabidiol” as a drug. But it would not provide the same luxury for those of the scientific community wishing to study the medicinal benefits of THC. Cannabidiol would be considered a completely separate substance from the cannabis plant.
Senator Grassley, who has refused to give better bills, like CARERS Act, so much as a hearing, recently implied that it was the nagging of medical marijuana advocates, specifically those begging lawmakers to give them access to cannabis oil, that prompted him to get behind this modest step toward a nation of legal medical marijuana.
“The parents of children with severe epilepsy and other conditions are interested in cannabidiol to try to ease their children’s symptoms,” Grassley said in a recent press statement. “I understand their interest. Research is necessary to determine the potential medical value of cannabidiol, and wherever possible, the government should help facilitate the scientific research needed to give these parents the answers they need.”
But the bill is flimsy, to say the least.
While it comes with a “safe harbor” clause that would prevent the “legal guardian” of a child suffering from “intractable epilepsy” from being prosecuted under federal law for possession of CBD, it would do nothing to protect patients with other conditions, nor would it have any impact on pot products containing any amount of THC. This means most people, even medical marijuana patients, would continue to go to jail for weed.
Interestingly, this proposed policy is similar to what Baer has implied is being examined by the DEA – dissecting cannabis for good and evil.
Over half the nation has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, but for some reason the United States government continues to refuse any level of nationwide reform. From the DEA’s indecision over whether to reschedule portions, all, or none of the plant, to federal lawmakers deeming it necessary to first test the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s non-intoxicating properties before calling it medicine, the brass in Washington D.C. continue to jam up progress on an issue that is already being widely received by over a million citizens.