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Friday, December 5, 2008

Restoring the Revenue III – The Reclassification of Marijuana to a Schedule III Drug

Currently, Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug with no medical value. This allows law enforcement to prosecute people and is the gateway to placing a person in the court system. The effect of this policy is overcrowded prisons and a clogged legal system. This is an important question to the upcoming Obama administration as he will be responsible for hiring the Next National Drug Czar and the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). On December 4th, a new law is in effect to allow people with a medical need to use Marijuana legally without the fear of arrest. On November 4th of this year, the Michigan voters spoke loud and clear as they approved of Medical Marijuana by %63 of the vote. All 83 counties in Michigan voted yes on November 4th.

The current schedule of drugs as defined by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are defined as follows:

Schedule I — drugs with a high abuse risk. These drugs have NO safe, accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples are heroin, marijuana, LSD, PCP, and crack cocaine.

Schedule II — drugs with a high abuse risk, but also have safe and accepted medical uses in the United States. These drugs can cause severe psychological or physical dependence. Schedule II drugs include certain narcotic, stimulant, and depressant drugs. Some examples are morphine, cocaine, oxycodone (Percodan®), methylphenidate (Ritalin®), and dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine®).

Schedule III, IV, or V — drugs with an abuse risk less than Schedule II. These drugs also have safe and accepted medical uses in the United States. Schedule III, IV, or V drugs include those containing smaller amounts of certain narcotic and non-narcotic drugs, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquilizers, sedatives, stimulants, and non-narcotic analgesics. Some examples are acetaminophen with codeine (Tylenol® No.3), paregoric, hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin®), diazepam (Valium®), alprazolam (Xanax®), propoxyphene (Darvon®), and pentazocine (Talwin®).

Reclassifying Marijuana as a Schedule III drug would move Marijuana to the same status as Aspirin and Cough Syrup. An example is that is someone was overdosing on aspirin; they would go to a hospital and given mental health care instead of a ride to jail. County prosecutors and law enforcement personnel routinely complain about the massive amount of paperwork in prosecuting a person with a small amount of Marijuana. The FDA can focus on healthy living and lifestyles for young and old Americans. This agency would be catalyst to promote better health among Americans through exercise and healthy eating practices. The Department of Agriculture in conjunction with the Dept of Community Health would serve as a catalyst to assist Michigan residents in proper growing methods for the medicine. This would create even more job and career opportunities in both departments.

It would also serve to eliminate the costly legal challenges that seek to thwart the will of the people. It would amount to insubordination to the people of the State of Michigan if civil servants and special interest groups initiate law suits to satisfy their narrow minded selfish thoughts.

So many people and so much documentation exist that shows Marijuana has medical benefits for people with debilitating medical conditions such as Leukemia, Aids, Nausea, Glaucoma, Multiple Sclerosis, etc. DEA administrative law judge Francis Young referred to Marijuana a wonder drug with many uses in his commentary during a trial. Furthermore uses like fuel, clothes and the other 25,000 uses are fully documented in video and print. The person that President-Elect Obama appoints to this position cannot overlook these facts regarding the Marijuana plant.

In order for the Department of Community Health to manage the dispensary program, the agency will need to reorganize resources in Information Technology and staff support. Out of the 148 Information Technology positions that the department has allotted, 10 of them will be redirected to manage the program. An increase in staff positions between 415 to 830 employees will be needed to manage the entire program. These figures are based on 3 FTE positions for each of the 83 counties. An extreme scenario will project 10 employees for each county. Their job will be to maintain the process for the dispensary registration.

Information Technology needs are software to maintain the registry and hardware maintenance. Programs like Microsoft Access, SQL Server, etc are readily available to use and the application is relatively simple to create and maintain at a cost of $20,000 a year. Revenue from dispensary registration fees, annual quality control inspection visits from department personnel, and sales would make the program pay for itself every year.

The State of Michigan Drug Czar duties would be redirected to include the benefits of using Marijuana as a medicine. As an employee of the people, the czar will be the State’s leading advocate for rescheduling Marijuana as a Schedule III drug. We pray that President-Elect Obama elects a realist to the position of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). And we hope the Director-Elect of Health and Human Services former Senator Tom Daschle does the right thing and promote a progressive and smart person to be the chief of the Food and Drug Administration. Some qualified candidates include Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Dr. Ben Carson among others who are clearly qualified to handle the job. At the State level, Rep Cushingberry will be advocating that the State Drug Czar recognizes the vote of the citizens of the State in the affirmative for Medical Marijuana.

I believe that Government is; of the people, by the people, for the people, to maintain and sustain the needs of the people. And as your representative in Lansing, I will always be your activist for the benefit of my constituents.


ben said...

The FDA approved THC drug, Marinol, was a Schedule II, and became the only drug ever downgraded from II to Schedule III. Why should the whole plant be scheduled any differently?

Friends of George Cushingberry said...

Interesting regarding the reclassification of Marinol as a Schedule III drug to make it eaiser for Doctors to perscribe.

This makes my case much stronger regarding reclassification. I will do what I can to help the Obama Administration to right this wrong.

Finally, it gives the appearance of a conspiracy to improperly classify Marijuana to the benefit of the entire big pharma industry.

Some people call it racketeering...

I want you to contact your federal legislator via e-mail, phone or fax to ask that Marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule III drug. - Good Stuff on the Internet