Depressingly, the first thing the US Supreme Court did on its first Monday was to deny reconsideration of cannabis scheduling.
By refusing to appeal a lower ruling, the court locks in Schedule I (highly dangerous, no medical value) by allowing the DEA to make that decision. Read the gory details at StopTheDrugWar.org. This come out on the same day that Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia admits that he fully believes in the devil. His mindset would better fit Spain during the Inquisition than the USA in the 21st century. Yet we are stuck with his rulings.
There seems little chance now that the draconian Schedule I felonizing of cannabis will change, probably for decades to come. After all, it was just over 25 years that DEA law judge Francis L. Young told the truth about marijuana, including the fact that in no way should it be Schedule I. Yet a quarter century later, it still is. During these 25 years 20 million Americans have been unjustly arrested under these cruel laws.
With Schedule I intact, the DEA and US Attorneys can continue to jail Americans for decades along with seizing their property for the benefit of the agencies. States may legalize cannabis for medical or personal use all they want but as long as possession of any marijuana by anybody remains a stiff federal offense, the medical potential of cannabis will be blunted. The DEA and NIDA will still have control over research using cannabis, meaning they can continue to block nearly all medical marijuana research in the USA. This is probably the most cruel result.
It will also stifle and delay hemp production and use the USA.
For no good reason, tens of millions of Americans will have to continue to fear their government.
Who now is going to down-schedule or de-schedule cannabis out of the hands of the DEA?
Certainly not the DEA itself. The felonization of cannabis is worth billions to the agency every year, no way they would consider changing it.
Barack Obama is highly unlikely to consider this desperately needed change; his presidency has been marked by increasing attacks on medical marijuana dispensaries and he has rejected any change of scheduling.
Even after 2016, it is unlikely the new president would make any change. Hillary Clinton has echoed Obama’s hard line. Joe Biden is one of the worst of the drug war criminals, enthusiastically creating the Drug Czar office and supporting harsh and authoritarian programs and policies his entire career. Although some libertarian republicans support ending drug prohibition and defunding the DEA, most republicans are staunch authoritarians who fully cheer and fund the war on drugs.
These leaves its to congress to change the scheduling. Big hope there, huh? Even if congress was not dysfunctional, many congresspersons are former prosecutors, drug-war beneficiaries like Senator Jeff “I love the DEA” Sessions, of the Judiciary Committee. Powerful house dinosaurs like Texas republican Arlen Smith headed off any reduction of federal persecution of medical cannabis in states where legal.
Future Americans will look back at us an wonder how we could have kept such dishonest and cruel laws so long.
Copyright © Don Fitch, 2013