The Medical Marijuana Paradox Essay

1614 words - 6 pages

Should Marijuana be legalized for medicinal purposes? Yes, when you consider that in the treatment of cancer and HIV patients, medical Marijuana is used successfully to increase appetite and decrease pain without the serious side effects of other more modern drugs. However, there is a stigma that surrounds Marijuana and this stigma dates back to the Nixon Administration’s war on drugs. Even today the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration defines Marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. To them, it is a drug that has no accepted medical utility and has an elevated probability of addiction. On the other hand, the United States Government is aware of the medicinal benefits of Marijuana, but it creates a legal conundrum as the DEA erroneously classifies Marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance (DEA Drug Schedule). This classification blocks important research of medical Marijuana and it also makes it difficult for Veterans and others to get the treatment they so desperately need.
The first official government report on the use of marijuana in the United States was initiated by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972. In that report, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse recommended that Federal Law be changed, allowing simple possession of Marijuana for personal use to be “decriminalized”. The report found that Marijuana was not nearly as addictive as once thought, nor does it cause criminal activity or psychotic episodes. “The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse” was never released to the American people, nor were its recommendations followed. This was mainly due to the fact that it did not agree with President Nixon’s war on drugs (Nahas). Consequently, Marijuana is still classified by the Feds as one of the most dangerous drugs in America, right up there with Heroin and LSD (DEA Drug Schedule). In effect, every state that allows the sale of medical Marijuana is disobeying Federal Law, a precarious situation for the United States Government and for those who by state law legally grow, sell, and prescribe medical Marijuana.
Closer to home, on February 28th, 1980, Governor Richard W. Riley signed a bill to enact the “South Carolina Controlled Substances Therapeutic Research Act of 1979”. SECTION 44-53-650 was intended to allow marijuana to be available to cancer patients and others suffering from the pain and discomfort of chemotherapy, radiology and glaucoma (SC Medical Marijuana). The Federal Government will not approve the purchase of medical marijuana to South Carolina doctors, who by state law, can legally prescribe it. This is a major obstacle. In reality, every state in America has their hands tied by the Federal Government’s erroneous classification of Marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.
The paradox that researchers and the medical field face is a twisted, tangled process that can put US approved research on the back burner for years. For example, several years ago the Food and Drug...

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