Surgeon General weighs in on cannabis classification

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Schedule I status of marijuana preventing research, asserts Surgeon General Adams

A former Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, once said that marijuana needed to be legalized. Now, the current Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, is joining the push for legalized medical marijuana, arguing that its current status as a Schedule I controlled substance is hindering research possibilities that could help define the true nature of the compound.

Adams, who has a history of supporting marijuana research, said during a recent conference of the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative in Massachusetts, “Just as we need to look at criminal justice laws, rules and regulations, we need to look at health laws, rules and regulations, and that includes the scheduling system. I’ll take it somewhere else: marijuana. We need to look at the way we schedule different medications across the board, because one of the concerns that I have with marijuana is the difficulty that the folks have to do research on it, because of the scheduling system.”

Schedule I drugs are the most restrictive, according to the Controlled Substance Act. Marijuana shares the category with other drugs such as heroin and cocaine, despite overwhelming evidence that it does not have the same harmful characteristics. Even the Drug Enforcement Agency has argued that marijuana does not meet the classification of being a Schedule I drug.

The timing of his comments could go a long way to seeing changes in federal marijuana policies. The Farm Bill is expected to be approved, which could lead to industrial hemp production, and President Trump has already asserted that he supports a change in the laws. 2019 is starting to look like the year for major changes in the marijuana policies in the U.S.