Opioids is “A serious problem, the likes of which we have never had.” …President Donald Trump
“The opioid crisis is an emergency. “And I am saying officially right now: It is an emergency, it’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” Trump told reporters during a brief question-and-answer session ahead of a security briefing Thursday, August 10th, at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.
He said he’d be drawing up documents to formalize the declaration soon.
If it is a problem like we have never had, it calls for action we have never done. I understand the plight of this miracle plant. There is not a single reason cannabis should remain confined in a schedule 1 drug classification. Removing it would not provide the immediate help which is needed for the opioid epidemic, but it will allow research to officially begin. It should have been done years ago. That’s the past. We urgently need to address the future.
President Trump’s newly appointed Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, led by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey (R), issued its preliminary report Monday.
- Treatment availability must be expanded “rapidly.”
- Prescriber’s must be thoroughly trained to recognize the risks of addiction and overdose associated with pain medications.
- Federal funds should support greater coordination among state prescription-drug-monitoring programs.
- Law enforcement should be enabled to interdict supply from overseas, focused especially on the flow of deadly fentanyl from China.
Under Nixon’s presidency, the Controlled Substances Act, which classified drugs on four different schedules, passed in 1970. The federal act classified cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, causing it to be considered one of the most dangerous substances that carry the highest penalty. The act was among the initial seeds planted which would grow into one of America’s largest deceitful war and is still in place today.
SCHEDULE 1 (CLASS I) DRUGS are illegal because they have high abuse potential, no medical use, and severe safety concerns.
Some Current Schedule 1 Drugs Include:
- Cannabis (marijuana, weed, THC)
- LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide)
- Peyote (Mescaline)
- MDMA (ecstasy, sass, 3,4-methykenedioxymethamphetamine)
- Mushrooms (Psilocybin)
- Heroin (diacetylmorphine)
- Quaaludes (Methaqualone)
- Bath Salts (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone or MDPV)
- Cocaine, methamphetamine, and oxycodone are considered less dangerous Schedule II drugs.
The war on cannabis has been active for nearly 50 years. The execution of this war was born out of deception. It’s not a hidden fact. History clearly explains how we arrived at where we are today. Along the way, the prohibition era has allowed big money, power and greed to establish strongholds in the U.S. political system which make change in the scheduling of cannabis problematic.
Roger Stone, veteran republican presidential strategist, political operative and longtime ally of President Trump, said, “Trump could remove cannabis from Schedule I with the stroke of a pen. It would be ‘good policy, and good politics.”
Technically, that is true Mr. Stone. America would love to see that happen. Many people perceive the removal of cannabis from a schedule 1 to a schedule 2 would change everything. But, let’s look at the rest of the story.
Even if Trump would remove cannabis from schedule 1, it takes years for medical research to result in a product for the consumer.
The unfortunate part of this piece is that in the past 50 years, over $1 trillion of taxpayer dollars have been thrown at the war on drugs. It has provided a breeding ground for corruption in probably every aspect of the so-called war. The corrupted roots have grown long, deep and strong.
This War requires constant, never ending investigations, assaults, raids, arrests, property seizures, court trials, convictions and prison population management. Hundreds of thousands of local, state and federal employees all tasked with a specific function to keep the wheel turning.
Mr. Stone recently announced the formation of the United States Cannabis Coalition. In addition to encouraging President Trump to follow through on campaign promises regarding cannabis and state’s rights, Roger Stone said the coalition would also “urge the administration to change the current scheduling of cannabis and request funding which would allow for unbiased research.” Florida attorney John Morgan is part of the coalition.
Mr. Morgan said we need to stop fighting the marijuana fight. “It’s been a losing battle. It’s been a false battle from the beginning. The truth is, after being in the trenches all these years now, I know this. We need to get it totally off the table so we can focus on the real war on drugs which is opioid use. Legal opioid use.”
“The fight needs to focus on these industries that make these drugs, that are engaged in pre-meditated murder. And I’m not saying that the wrong way. Pre-meditated murder.”
John Morgan said he has been urging President Trump to take marijuana off a schedule 1 rated drug and move it to a schedule 2.
“Until we are honest with ourselves, we’re going to watch a generation get hooked, get killed and families destroyed. I urge the President of the United States to seriously think about doing something bold and something that would be very popular in America. Make marijuana a schedule 2 drug so we can study it in our universities. We can’t now. We can’t study it in the laboratory.”
Here are the five big lobbies against reclassification.
- Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget.
- Private Prison Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana.
- Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep cannabis out of reach.
- Pharmaceutical Corporations: Pharmaceutical interests would like to keep cannabis illegal. Cannabis can replace Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.
- Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. https://mic.com/articles/20186/war-on-drugs-how-private-prisons-are-using-the-drug-war-to-generate-more-inmates#.FX63RTE9Q
The feds say marijuana must remain in Schedule 1 because there aren’t FDA clinical studies supporting its medical value. Yet such clinical studies are exactly what the feds prohibit by keeping marijuana in Schedule 1.
The DEA restricts how much pot can go to research. To obtain legal marijuana supplies for studies, researchers must get their studies approved by HHS, the FDA, and the DEA — a costly and time-consuming process.
“It’s taken me seven years to get the DEA license,” said Dr Sue Sisley, who is planning to conduct an FDA-regulated study evaluating whether marijuana can help opioid-dependent patients. It’s difficult to access government-approved marijuana to conduct research due to supply restrictions.
There are other pre-clinical and early-stage studies currently being conducted.
Axim, whose North American headquarters is in New York, is conducting pre-clinical studies on a chewing gum containing synthetic CBD and THC
Nemus Bioscience is testing a synthetic version of the non-psychoactive CBD compound found in cannabis—on rats with chronic pain.
Israel-based Intec, which recently announced the start of an early-stage study testing its painkiller made of natural CBD and THC extracts.
Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, says anything that makes a dent in an epidemic that kills 80 Americans every day is worth consideration. Especially since medical pot is proving in studies to be an effective treatment for pain.
“If we could use cannabis, which is less addictive and harmful than opioids, to increase the effectiveness of pain treatment, I think it can make a difference during this epidemic of opioid abuse,” says Abrams who has investigated the effect of cannabis on pain for over a decade.
“We are hampered by the fact that it is still difficult to get funding for studies on cannabis as a therapeutic.” he adds.
Multiple studies have shown that pro-medical marijuana states have reported fewer opiate deaths and there are no deaths related to marijuana overdose on record.
There is abundant evidence of marijuana’s medical value.
- Former Surgeon General in the Obama administration, Vivek Murthy told CBS This Morning in 2015, “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, marijuana can be helpful.” Murthy continued. “So I think we have to use that data to drive policymaking, and I’m very interested to see where that data takes us.”
- The Department of Health and Human Services owns a patenton the chemical components of marijuana.
- The FDA has approvedand allowed the rescheduling of cannabis-based medicine.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse has suggested we reconsider marijuana as a medicine and allow more research.
America has been hearing all the reasons cannabis must not be removed from Schedule 1 for a long time. It has contributed to a diminished level of integrity and perceived honesty from the Federal Government. To continue making statements regarding why cannabis cannot be released from the Government lock box is irresponsible and at this point, unfair to the millions of Americans suffering from multiple conditions which cannabis could help. Continuing to follow this path is inhumane. Reefer madness is a deception of the past.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently delivered a two-word verdict on medical marijuana as a possible answer to the ever-growing opioid epidemic.
“It’s stupid. I’m astonished to hear people suggest we can solve our heroin crisis — have you heard this? — by having more marijuana.” Sessions said during a speech to a gathering of law enforcement on Wednesday.
“I mean, how stupid is that? Give me a break. So, we’re going to have to stand up and confront that, tell the truth here. And our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs is bad, that it will destroy your life.”
In this video, listen to Sessions give his opinion on cannabis and the opioid problem.
There are a lot of smart people who, based on a growing body of clinical research, would confidently disagree with Mr. Sessions’ assessment. This isn’t the stupid theory that Sessions suggests it is. It’s not definitive research by any means. But with so many Americans dying from opioid overdoses each year, it certainly merits consideration by lawmakers who want to keep medical marijuana illegal at the federal and state levels.
President Trump said opioids have presented America with “a serious problem. The likes of which we have never had.”
A problem like we have never had? Well then, this calls for action we have never done. It’s certainly not time to return to the past as Sessions has suggested.
Now, with all this said, there needs to be a clarification on what will happen if cannabis were removed from Schedule 1. In the short term, not too much. It could certainly help the cannabis business community to conduct business, banking, business write offs, etc. For a comprehensive breakdown of what re-scheduling would mean, here is a great page to visit:
- There are fewer obstacles to conducting research on drugs in Schedule II for research than Schedule I.
- Re-scheduling would send a powerful signal to the medical community that the government supports research into legitimate medical uses of cannabis, which is hardly the case currently.
- Re-scheduling also puts administrative pressure on the DEA to relax the monopoly on cannabis available for research, another substantial obstacle.
- Powerful signal to the millions of Americanswho use medical marijuana currently with little or no research-backed information.
- Recognizing that medical marijuana is a valuable subject for research is not an inconsequential statement for the government, and will eventually help millions of patients and families.
It takes an average of 15 years for an experimental drug to go from lab to patient. Based on observation of the past 50 years, the federal government will use every day of that 15 years.
It’s a great symbolic gesture from Roger Stone and his United States Cannabis Coalition. Cannabis needs to be removed from schedule 1 and Mr. Stone and his Gang of Six may well be successful in that mission.
There are millions of cannabis advocates that would love to see cannabis removed from the illegal status it has been burdened with. While rescheduling will be seen by many in the cannabis reform community and among scientific researchers as a resounding victory, the reality is that, day to day, most people will never notice the difference.
But now, although the opioid epidemic has been growing for years, millions clearly have discovered that cannabis has pain relieving properties that are often more effective than harsher addictive drugs and there is no addiction or unpleasant side effects.
A declaration of a national emergency to address the opioid epidemic should call for whatever sensible measures are available, including cannabis. Cannabis is not the enemy. Opioids are. For a President to state “We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis,” it would seem all options would be on the table.
Forget the re-scheduling. Forget the formal research. That can be addressed later. We need a presidential order now to immediately make cannabis available for treatment to the millions across our country that are crying for relief. How can that be a mistake?
Cannabis is not a dangerous drug. It’s been proven to help provide relief from chronic pain. It is non-toxic natural herb. It heals our bodies.
Let’s place all the reasons cannabis is not currently available aside for this one and attack the rapidly growing opioid epidemic with something that makes sense.