Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has previously stated that he supports the concept of Medical Marijuana, but more recently told Bill O’Reilly that legalizing medical is “good and in other ways, it’s bad.”
Although that would put pot in the same category as methadone and oxycodone, rescheduling cannabis to Schedule II would immediately allow U.S. doctors to prescribe the drug for approved ailments.
But could Clinton’s very politically safe approach to marijuana legalization do more harm than good for patients and cannabis enthusiasts?
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and other organizations are pushing for the government to remove marijuana’s Schedule I status completely, which would effectively legalize and decriminalize the drug at the federal level. That option is ideal, but calls for full legalization don’t win presidential election.
However, moving cannabis to a Schedule II drug carries it’s own dangers for the cannabis industry.
Schedule II drugs, which include Percocet and morphine are tightly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This opens cannabis up to the governing of manufacturing, regulations on processing and labeling, and tight government restrictions on marketing, packaging and distribution.
And don’t forget about how costly adhering to all these new regulations can be. Moving Cannabis to a Schedule II could effectively move medical marijuana into the pharmaceutical business, a marketplace dominated by the richest (and least compassionate) of companies.
The entire culture of cannabis could literally change overnight, slowing down the means by which patients receive their medicine. Under the guise of ‘consistency’ and ‘safety,’ THC content decisions would shift from the growers to the government, vastly affecting the quality of cannabis.
But still worse might be the aspect of newly required clinical trials, as almost all drugs regulated by the FDA undergo.
The FDA is never going to just ‘believe’ marijuana enthusiasts, producers, or even doctors that cannabis is medically beneficial for any one ailment.
Lengthy — and costly — drug trails will have to conducted.
A good percentage of already established farmers will likely be forced to fold: The filing fees for drug approval alone are high enough to bankrupt some marijuana producers.
Don’t get me wrong, moving marijuana to Schedule II is likely better than leaving the herb in the same Schedule I designation as heroin and crystal meth. Perhaps all cannabis really needs to achieve full legalization is a little undeniable scientific evidence that pot is not only as harmless as alcohol (which is legal), but is furthermore, medically important.
Perhaps Clinton’s batter-safe-than-sorry approach to marijuana legalization will do more harm than good.
Then again, there’s always the chance that Clinton, if anything a consummate politician, is only waiting until she is solidly in the Oval Office to affect the change that so many marijuana activists, and patients, desperately need: full nationwide legalization of cannabis.