In an interview with PBS, former Attorney General Eric Holder has come out fully in support of decriminalizing and rescheduling cannabis.
Welcome to the world of common sense, Eric Holder. As early as 2014, when Holder was still the top official in the U.S. Department of Justice, he questioned the wisdom of keeping cannabis in the same category as heroin, a highly addictive and dangerous drug. In an interview with PBS, the former Attorney General has come out fully in support of decriminalizing and rescheduling cannabis.
Currently, cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high risk of abuse with no accepted medical use in the U.S. And, depending on how one employs the word “abuse”, both of those stipulations have been scientifically proven not to apply to cannabis. The majority of consumers are using it responsibly.
But drug warriors, law enforcement, and the “pharmedical” establishment categorically define ANY consumption of ANY controlled substance outside a doctor’s prescription as “abuse”. In the minds of committed, hardcore cannaphobes, that even includes cannabis prescribed by physicians…those physicians are deemed by the anti-scientific types to be wrong about the medical benefits of cannabis and engaging in fraud.
Holder, while speaking in favor of regarding cannabis as a more innocuous substance, drew sharp contrasts with and affirmed his stance against ever legalizing addictive drugs like heroin, as well as crack cocaine and crystal meth, which are Schedule II narcotics. Ketamine, the only known physically addictive psychedelic and dissociative needle drug, is in Schedule III. So, if he is consistent with logic and reason, Holder should favor rescheduling cannabis below that, to Schedule IV or V; however, in the PBS interview he did not make his opinion on that crystal clear.
This illustrates why advocates of cannabis freedom perceive plans to reschedule or decriminalize cannabis as more perpetual government stalling and insist instead on de-scheduling and legalization. In fact, when pressed on the destruction caused by the addictive and lethal drug alcohol despite its full legality for adults, the former Attorney General offered no reason why cannabis, which is far milder, should not be similarly legal and unscheduled.
The medicinal consumption of cannabis has been cited throughout history. From Nero’s personal doctor, Andromachus the Elder, to the ancient Greek physicians, the health-enhancing properties of the plant have been exploited and celebrated. In 1850 it was added to the U.S. Pharmacopeia and applied in a vast cornucopia of ailments. Cannabis medicines were even available over the counter in drugstores across the U.S. until the 1930s.
The Mexican Revolution started in 1910, and the subsequent influx of Mexican immigrants brought the casual use of cannabis to America. Americans knew it was fun but used it primarily as a pain reliever. But Mexicans used it mainly for fun. And increasingly, so did Americans who associated with the Mexicans.
Also, in the early 1930s, teetotalers and abolitionists waged a war against alcohol, cannabis, and, seemingly, all forms of fun. They got their way in 1919 with the Volstead Act, but the Great Depression and the violence from organized crime combined to sway popular opinion back to appreciating alcohol. Cannabis was left in the cold.
Harry J. Anslinger had been the commissioner of Prohibition, but became the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics upon its creation in 1930 while Prohibition was on the verge of repeal. Anslinger found comrades in zany newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and the duPont chemical family.
Hearst had invested heavily in the timber industry, the duPonts in patents to make synthetic fiber. Both saw hemp as an existential threat to their billion-dollar business empires. Together they convinced the U.S. government and the general public that the cannabis that went into the tincture inside everyone’s medicine chest was an enormous problem.
The problem was that this weed called marihuana—the name chosen to replace “cannabis” and then re-spelled “marijuana” to give it a scarier, more “Spanishy”, foreign feel—caused Mexican and black men and white women to wantonly seek one another’s sexual attention, which if permitted would rapidly obliterate civil society. Films like Reefer Madness and Marihuana: Assassin of Youth molded public opinion and instilled animosity against Mexicans for their custom of smoking “marijuana” and against the Chinese for their use of hashish, painting cannabis in an evil light.
By comparison, tobacco, another plant widely in use, actually IS highly addictive, and nicotine actually is a poison. But, at the time, cigars, cigarettes, and pipe tobacco were associated with high society, whereas cannabis was associated only with lower classes, immigrants, and poverty.
Tobacco, when smoked or dipped, has been demonstratively proven to cause cancer at very high rates. Cannabis, when smoked, has been shown to deposit tar in the lungs. However, according to researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “Analysis of pulmonary function and lung disease have failed to detect clear adverse effects of marijuana use on pulmonary function.”
They studied 5,000 subjects for 20 years. At lower levels of exposure, cannabis smoking actually improved lung function and capacity; at higher levels, lung capacity “remained significantly greater than baseline”. More clinical studies of the effect of smoked cannabis are needed; however, when cannabis oils are ingested instead of inhaled, damage to the lungs is nonexistent.
The process of infusing cannabinoids into food at home has been made easier and more consistent so that dosage can also be more consistent. The Botanical Extractor made by MagicalButter has made home extraction as easy as adding ingredients and pushing a button. Now you can enjoy the beneficial effects of cannabis discreetly and with no risk at all of irritation to the throat or lungs.
Cannabinoids have proven very effective for treating pain, muscle spasms, insomnia, seizures in adults and children, autoimmune diseases, cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments, and so much more. Known side effects of cannabis are generally mild and can include dry mouth, sharpened sense of humor and attention to detail, slowed time perception, elevated mood, talkativeness, drowsiness, possible paranoia, and a peculiar sharpening of the appetite called the munchies, which is highly beneficial to patients undergoing therapy for anorexia nervosa, cancer, and AIDS.
Cannabis withdrawal, nausea, risk of overdose, and addiction in the normal sense are negligible; and lethality is non-existent. This makes cannabis very different from and superior to both alcohol (as a social relaxant) and the spate of narcotics frequently prescribed for chronic conditions, drugs that do have high risks of addiction and overdose. Lawmakers need to be made aware that people can and do substitute cannabis for other, more dangerous legal substances, both socially and medically; and that when they do, society benefits.
Scientists have been effectively prevented from studying the effects of cannabis, because the classification of cannabis as a “Schedule I narcotic” has made it difficult to get clinical trials approved. Finally, public servants spanning the political spectrum from liberal to libertarian are realizing how inane and deeply wrong it is to have applied the classification system to cannabis at all.
Who is next to join the ranks of the common sense party?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amber Boone considers writing the cornerstone of communication. She interviews MMA (mixed martial arts) athletes for CombatPress.com and opines on MMA at FightItOut.com. She’s passionate about helping folks tell their stories and making the world a better place, which includes working to win the freedom of Americans to partake of the herb. When not writing or playing beach volleyball, she can be found at her day job—for now. Follow Amber on Twitter @thruthetrees11.