Jan 032016
 January 3, 2016

drug war drug treatment centersOne of the most frustrating things about being a marijuana activists is the lack of being offered a fair chance. By that, I mean if marijuana was just given the same amount of consideration, logic, reasoning, and application of scientific research and fact as other substances, marijuana prohibition would likely already be over. In every measurable way marijuana is safer than many other substances that are perfectly legal, and in no way is as dangerous as other substances that are similarly classified at the federal level.

But marijuana has never been on an ‘even playing field’ compared to other substances. Reefer madness tactics and public policy ‘tricks’ have been in place for several decades, and the system is rigged in such a way that it has been extremely difficult to get a fair assessment of marijuana at the federal level. And in the times that a fair assessment was conducted (think Nixon era), the assessment was disregarded because it didn’t serve the purpose of the reefer madness agenda.

The United States Surgeon General announced late this week that a top to bottom review of federal drug policies would occur. Tom Angell broke the story on Marijuana.Com:

The U.S. surgeon general is preparing a first-of-its-kind report “presenting the state of the science on substance use, addiction and health,” the federal government has announced.

The report from Vivek Murthy, the nation’s top public health official, will ”outline potential future direction” for drug policies and “educate, encourage and call upon all Americans to take action,” according to a Federal Register notice published on Thursday. It will take a comprehensive look at illegal drugs as well as currently legal substances like alcohol and prescription medications.

According to the notice, signed by Summer King of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the report will have a broad scope.

Per the notice:

Areas of focus in the report may include the history of the prevention, treatment and recovery fields; components of the substance use continuum (i.e., prevention, treatment and recovery); epidemiology of substance use, misuse and substance use disorders; etiology of substance misuse and related disorders; neurobiological base of substance misuse and related disorders; risk and protective factors; application of scientific research in the field, including methods, challenges and current and future directions; social, economic and health consequences of substance misuse; co-occurrence of substance use disorders and other diseases and disorders; the state of health care access and coverage as it relates to substance use prevention, treatment and recovery; integration of substance use disorders, mental health and physical health care in clinical settings; national, state and local initiatives to assess and improve the quality of care for substance misuse and related disorders; organization and financing of prevention, treatment and recovery services within the health care system; ethical, legal and policy issues; and potential future directions.

As you can see, this review will not just be for marijuana, but for all substances and abuses. I really hope that this review is conducted in a fair and fact-based way. Addiction in America should not be a criminal justice issue, and instead should be treated as a public health issue. America has been forcing drug users into the criminal justice system for a very long time, and with no successes to mention. That’s a big reason why marijuana has been attacked via public policy for so long, because the war on drugs isn’t about logic and reasoning. The war on drugs is about profit, ruining people’s lives, and helping harmful political agendas.

This review by the Surgeon General is a very big opportunity to right a lot of wrongs, and help improve America. I really hope that it’s conducted ethically and honestly. If it turns out to just be a dog and pony show, it’s going to be very, very sad. With that being said, such a review didn’t have to come about at all, so I’m truly hopeful that there’s something to this. Below is a tweet from Tom Angell, which I think sums it up well:

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  16 Responses to “United States Surgeon General To Review Federal Drug Policies”

  1.  

    Remove cannabis from the drug schedule altogether! Go Bernie 2016!

  2.  

    Anyone want to argue that Willard Romney’s Surgeon General would be doing this?

  3.  

    Thanks for the first important update of the New Year, Johnny Green. You rock, man! This pending Surgeon General “review” will be nothing more than another senseless waste of federal time and taxpayer dollars. The only acceptable action, specifically targeting “marihuana,” is to repeal in a similar manner as alcohol Prohibition was repealed. We must completely erase the fraudulent legal term “marihuana” from all federal laws, and rename the federal regulator as the Bureau of Alcohol, Cannabis, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Cannabis is not just seedless female flowers that Americans smoke (or extract waxes and oils) to get high. It’s amazingly useful fibers and pulp from the stalks. It’s wonderfully nutritious seeds from pollinated female flowers. Indeed, it’s no exaggeration to say we are in the midst of an epic struggle to restore justice and sanity regarding cannabis plants (coca and opium poppy, too), comparable to all-out revolution against the Sith/Galactic Empire/First Order in “Star Wars.” May the Force be with us, always.

    •  

      Do you know anything specific about the Surgeon General to make you pessimistic about what he’s going to say? Maybe he’ll point out that alcohol use, or tobacco, or prescription opiate use is far, far more likely to lead to catastrophe than cannabis use and we should consider having public policy reflect that.

      •  

        Dr. Vivek Murthy is obviously exceedingly intelligent to be Surgeon General of the United States, and in general he seems like a really nice man. He did make some very promising remarks about expanding domestic scientific research of cannabis in spring 2015. But my own personal “pessimism,” as you say, stems from nearly 80 YEARS of federal “marihuana” tyranny, which has tainted every formal “review” of cannabis–starting with Harry Anslinger’s reaction to opponents (including a lawyer who represented the American Medical Association) of the fraudulent 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Anslinger also foisted the “marihuana” fraud on the entire world through his manipulation of the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotics. Then came President Richard Nixon’s complete dismissal of the 1972 National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse report. Then came President Ronald and Nancy “Just Say No” Reagan, whose Drug Enforcement Administration totally ignored its own administrative judge, Francis Young. In a 1988 report, Young called cannabis flowers “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” (and woman), and strongly recommended immediate rescheduling of “marihuana” to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act–“cannabis research” would have exploded more than 27 YEARS ago! So I wish Dr. Murthy the best, I really do. But clearly, in any “review” of “marihuana” law, he will soon be going up against one of the most powerful corporate/government/police state tyrannies the world has ever known.

        •  

          There are 2 things that have changed recently: public opinion and new research, such as the analysis showing a big reduction in opiate overdose deaths from expected levels in states w/ access to medical marijuana compared to states without it.
          Dr. Vivek has a ‘bully pulpit’, he can put it to good use if he wants and take on the tyrannical, bigoted bullies. Here’s hoping.

          •  

            I’m just as hopeful, saynotohypocrisy. In my 15 years of fighting against “marihuana” prohibition, though, I have seen how “public opinion” and “new research” get totally ignored by career, unelected, anti-drug bureaucrats at the Drug Enforcement Administration, who have all the resources and power they need to ensure that nothing–absolutely nothing–changes. The U.S. Surgeon General does not have any power to unilaterally amend the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. Also, please note how this pending “review” has a strong focus on substance “misuse.” That whole concept (equating all drug use with “misuse” and “abuse”) was devised by arrogant federal officials, who have imposed absolute tyranny on Americans for more than 100 years by aggressively targeting domestic commerce related to cannabis and coca plants, plus opium poppy. And the corrupted feds really just do the bidding of synthetic pharmaceutical and chemical companies, et al., whose profits will be severely diminished when cannabis, coca and opium poppy–widely recognized for centuries as the 3 most effective medicinal plants on Earth–are legal again.

          •  

            He’s going to talk about legal as well as currently illegal drugs. Let’s see if he makes any direct comparisons between alcohol and weed. If he doesn’t see a difference between a drug that kills 100,000 a year, and one that kills very rarely, and is an important life-saving medicine, he won’t be acting as a scientist. But I have no idea what he is going to say or not say.
            I know he has no power, but cannabis prohibition is starting to totter, and he could give that a powerful push in the right direction if he chooses.

  4.  

    Hopefully this will be done in a unbiased manner and all fact are considered and not just anti Marijuana propaganda.

  5.  

    If he looks honestly at the “health consequences of substance misuse”, he should feel compelled to raise ethical and policy issues about punishing people for using weed instead of far more dangerous alcohol.

    •  

      They will do what they are told by the Attorney General, they will get most of their info from law enforcement, just like every other time.

      David is right, they will lump cannabis in with the other “killing” drugs because that’s what law enforcement does.

      This report will harm the movement as it will show cannabis in the negative light as an “abusable substance”, lumped in with the others.

      The haters will jump on this as legalization is trying to sweep the nation.

      EVERY report that is coming out of the private sector or State Depts. in legal states show positive things about cannabis.

      THIS ONE will be the NEGATIVE ONE they are after, they can come up with whatever results they want, doesn’t have to be backed by scientific evidence.

      Mark my digits, this will be a damaging report filled with lies.

  6.  

    Don’t you see, this report is mainly about treating substance abuse. They will lump marijuana in there right along with alcohol and hard drugs.

    •  

      They will lump a substance that very rarely kills or maims together with substances that are far more likely to kill or maim? Maybe he has too much integrity to do that.

    •  

      It’s not really a they who will write this report, the Surgeon-General alone is responsible for what’s in this report. It all depends on him, he has the chance to help lead public discussion of drug policy in the directions he wants.

  7.  

    Hemp being on the schedule 1 list is proof that our politicians are all morons and idiots.

    Hemp is the only non-drug on the drug list, WTF?

    Why is hemp on the list….because it LOOKS like pot.

    The DEA hack down thousands of hemp plants every year……because it LOOKS like pot costing YOU millions a year for this useless effort. They(DEA) says they must eradicate hemp …because IT COULD BE MISTAKEN FOR OR SOLD AS POT, WTFFFFF?

    There are lots of plants that look like pot….WHY are they not on the list, hell I sold parsley in 7th grade….why isn’t parsley on the list, it COULD be sold as pot

    I have a Japanese Akea Maple bonsai bush that absolutely LOOKS like pot, why isn’t it on the list? It has the same cannabinoid level as hemp (NONE).

    When any Government puts NON-DRUG items on the schedule 1 list ….they are morons and idiots and are keeping it there for the money involved with keeping it there.

    THERE IS NO REASON WHAT-SO-EVER FOR HEMP TO BE ON THE SCHEDULE LIST other than the DEA wants to keep the jobs going for the boneheads to eradicate a plant that has no DRUG in it at all.

    Every politician that does not stand up to this madness is a RACIST and BIGOT just like NIXON when he demanded they put cannabis on schedule list to put all the young blacks and Jews in prison.

    Grow up Obama, or are you the same type of RACIST Nixon was?

    How can you watch as thousands of young Blacks are jailed every year by a law made by a RACIST?

    No BALLS Obama, no BALLS, you useless piece of shit, never again will I vote on a promise. And I sure as shit ain’t voting for Hillary…she refuses to even admit pot is safer than alcohol, just another dumbass hater.

    Don’t expect anything good from this report, it is being made by haters and they will recommend keeping cannabis on schedule one “until more studies have been conducted”, yea, the MOST studied plant on the planet needs more research(that is what Hillary said….”we just don’t know enough about it” and has been saying that for over 10 years.)

    Don’t get your hopes up, remember this Government is the one that has a NON-DRUG on the schedules list and INSISTS on keeping it there, morons and racists, the whole lot of ’em.

  8.  

    I hope he does the right thing and comes out in favor of immediately removing Marijuana from Schedule 1. Its NUTS that Physicians in all 5 states can prescribe Fentanyl, including Fentanyl “lollypops”, but can’t prescribe Medical Marijuana in 27 states.
    Marijuana is a “Wonder Drug” and a “Gift from God” for a wide variety of conditions.
    There is no Scientific or Medical reason to have it be illegal at all, let alone being on Schedule 1.
    The current situation is NUTS.

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