Last week, US President Joe Biden asked his attorney general to look at rescheduling cannabis. Right now, authorities refer to it as a “Schedule I drug.”
But what does that mean? And what would it mean if the government rescheduled or de-scheduled cannabis altogether?
Rescheduling Cannabis in the United States
It began in 1970 with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act. This organized substances into five categories or “schedules.”
Slotting substances into their schedules are based on the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) criteria. They looked at the potential for abuse and medicinal uses.
Schedule I consists of substances with high abuse rates and little-to-no medicinal qualities. At the same time, Schedule V is for substances with low rates of abuse or addiction.
For example, a Schedule V drug would be over-the-counter cough medicine. Where a Schedule I drug is street-grade heroin.
Somehow, cannabis ended up in Schedule 1. Even in 1970, very few believed cannabis was as addictive and dangerous as cocaine or heroin.
For decades, activists have been trying to remove cannabis from Schedule 1. With Biden’s recent announcement, rescheduling cannabis may finally happen.
What if They Rescheduled Cannabis?
The DEA has five “Schedules” for substances. With I being dangerous and addictive and V being relatively harmless. Here’s a sample:
- Schedule I: Marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, LSD
- Schedule II: Methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl
- Schedule III: Steroids, ketamine
- Schedule IV: Xanax, Valium
- Schedule V: Cough medicine
Obviously, these categories are not reflective of reality. In no uncertain terms can someone call LSD “addictive,” nor does anyone think fentanyl has a higher safety profile than heroin.
As Dr. Carl Hart has demonstrated in his numerous books, lectures, and podcast appearances – drugs like heroin aren’t inherently harmful.
It all comes down to a person’s headspace and environment. “Set and setting” is a famous phrase used to ensure a psychedelic trip is a positive one.
But this term can be applied to any substance.
Many observers suspect the Biden administration is rescheduling cannabis to Schedule V.
But even if they re-categorize cannabis to Schedule II, the DEA is out, and the FDA is in.
And since the pharmaceutical industry practically owns the FDA, this option is only marginally better than prohibition, and even that’s debatable.
But what if the Biden administration forgoes a rescheduling? What if, instead, cannabis is de-scheduled?
What if Cannabis is De-scheduled?
The Controlled Substance Act shouldn’t exist. And it certainly shouldn’t have cannabis listed even as a Schedule V drug.
The only real solution is the total removal of cannabis by de-scheduling it. De-scheduling cannabis would protect the legal states and make banking much easier since they no longer deal with a federally prohibited substance.
A de-scheduling would require little-to-no federal bureaucracy to implement. There wouldn’t be any need for a national task force looking into cannabis legalization. Nor would Congress need to pass technical, regulatory details.
De-schedule cannabis and then treat it like you would any other good or raw commodity.
How likely is the Biden administration to do this? I wouldn’t bet money on it. Just look at Biden’s legislative history.
Biden Pardons Americans That His Crime Bill Incarcerated
The 1994 Crime Bill introduced mandatory minimum sentencing and exacerbated the issue of increasing incarceration rates. It introduced a “three-strikes” provision that grouped violent felonies with nonviolent offences and minor crimes.
Joe Biden, then the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote and promoted the 1994 Crime Bill. During the 2020 presidential campaign, he defended parts of it and apologized for others, blaming Republicans.
Regardless, Biden’s pardoning of cannabis offences at the federal level work to undo the damage of the 1994 Crime Bill.
People are praising Biden for this move without fully grasping how Biden himself is responsible for people in prison for pot. (Don’t get me started on Vice-President Kamala Harris’s cannabis prosecution record.)
Where were these critics when Donald Trump pardoned seven prisoners with life sentences for cannabis?
The government imprisoned people without parole as per Joe Biden’s 1994 Crime Bill.
As one attorney put it, “Biden is responsible for the 1994 crime law that [resulted in] Corvain Cooper being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for marijuana and the Obama-Biden administration was directly responsible for the prosecution.”
Is Biden’s move political posturing for the midterms? Most likely.