Did the V.A. Unseat Marijuana From Schedule I?

Department of Veterans Affairs Recognizes Medical Marijuana

On July 22, 2010 the Department of Veterans Affairs issued VHA DIRECTIVE 2010-035, specifically allowing VA patients the right to use Medical Marijuana without fear of federal interference. “Fourteen states have enacted laws authorizing the use of medical marijuana,” the Directive observes. “Medical conditions associated with the use of medical marijuana include, but are not limited to: glaucoma, chemotherapy induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain.”

The new Directive does not allow VA doctors to prescribe Marijuana to their patients, but for the first time, a federal agency has acknowledged that Marijuana has medicinal applications, and pledged not to interfere with patients who have a doctor’s prescription in the 14 states where Marijuana is accepted under law.

This is a critical point, and one that should get everyone’s attention: Is Marijuana still a Schedule I drug?

To be a Schedule I drug, a substance must meet 3 qualifications:

  1. There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision, AND
  2. The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, AND
  3. The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

With respect to Item 1, Safety: Marijuana ingestion has never been listed as a cause of  death; it is physically impossible for a human being to die from purposely ingesting too much Marijuana.

Item 2, the “No currently Accepted Medical Use” clause is clearly invalid across the 14 states where medical marijuana is permitted by law: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. By definition, in each of these states, Marijuana does indeed have a “currently accepted medical use.”

Finally,  Item 3: Potential for Abuse. I submit that a rational adult might rightly conclude that many drugs — including alcohol and cigarettes — have a far higher potential for abuse than Cannabis. By the same token, given that at least 42% of the US population has tried Marijuana at least once, it is evident that Marijuana should not be classified or grouped together with drugs like heroin, cocaine or meth-amphetamines.

In order to be a considered a Schedule I drug, Marijuana must fit each of these three classifications.

But, on July 22, 2010, an agency of the U.S. Federal Government directed its medical staff to accept the fact that Marijuana has medical value in the states where it is legal.

According to the definition of Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, if a drug has any medical value, then it cannot be a Schedule I drug.

The precursor to this recent VA Directive may have been Gonzales v. Oregon, a 2006 Supreme Court decision — the first major case under Chief Justice John Roberts — wherein the Court ruled that a physician who prescribed a drug legally under state law was not subject to federal enforcement under the Controlled Substances Act.

In light of Gonzales v. Oregon, the VA’s acknowledgement that Marijuana has medical value now seems inevitable:  for all practical purposes, Marijuana is no longer a Schedule I drug.

Game Over.

Visit Veterans For Medical Marijuana and DrugScience.org for more information about the medical uses of Cannabis.

Related:
NYT, 20 OCT 2009: U.S. Won’t Prosecute in States That Allow Medical Marijuana

“People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it to them should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.”

Primary Source PDF: DOJ Memorandum

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JGHO2QUQH4JG6B3MBJIXDVFV4U 987654321

    I wish I could share this on FB to all my liberal friends..there is no FB share button or I would. This is exactly what we have to look forward to. Maybe the Liberals should also be told that the Greek are also starting to eat the family dog as a last resort.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ragdrazi

      By no means in the current crisis a fight between liberal and conservative ideology.  Neither liberals nor conservatives create the current “live beyond your means and let the market sort out the rest” mess.
      This was all the work of the “neo-liberals” and “neo-conservatives.”
      Both are two halves of the same ideology that has brought us here today.
      You need to wake up. Both Democrats and Republicans have opened the door for this firestorm. Stop supporting one and attacking the other. That’s the pointless treadmill that both want you to be on. You want to send your FB friends something? Tell them you’re thinking about them, and that you’ll stand with them when the crisis comes. United. Kind of like Americans.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Ragdrazi

      By no means in the current crisis a fight between liberal and
      conservative ideology.  Neither liberals nor conservatives create the
      current “live beyond your means and let the market sort out the rest”
      mess.
      This was all the work of the “neo-liberals” and “neo-conservatives.”
      Both are two halves of the same ideology that has brought us here today.
      You need to wake up. Both Democrats and Republicans have opened the
      door for this firestorm. Stop supporting one and attacking the other.
      That’s the pointless treadmill that both want you to be on. You want to
      send your FB friends something? Tell them you’re thinking about them,
      and that you’ll stand with them when the crisis comes. United. Kind of
      like Americans.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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