Opinion Editorial by Clarence V. McKee, Esq.
In a not so subtle slap in the face to proponents of Amendment 2, a key agency of President Obama’s Administration has “just said no” to medical marijuana – in Florida and elsewhere!
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that marijuana will remain a Schedule 1 drug and continue to be illegal “for any purpose” under the Controlled Substances Act as is the case with heroin and cocaine. Such drugs have been determined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have no medical use.
The announcement further stated that marijuana meets the three requirements for placing a substance on the Schedule 1 list:
- Has a high potential for abuse.
- No currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
- A lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.
Further undercutting Amendment 2 proponents, the DEA cited a Health and Human Services evaluation that shows marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because “the drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.”
Stating that “there is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder, the DEA concluded:
“The known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”
If the DEA announcement is not enough evidence that Florida voters should reject legalizing marijuana by voting ‘no’ on the scam that is Amendment 2, the Obama Administration has consistently made it clear that it opposes legalization of marijuana for any purpose.
The official website of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) makes the Administration’s position very clear:
“The Obama Administration continues to oppose legalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs because this approach runs counter to the public health approach to drug policy.”
Discussing the public health impact, it recites the many dangers of legalization of the drug including:
- MARIJUANA USE POSES SIGNIFICANT RISKS TO PUBLIC HEALTH (Poses considerable danger to the health and safety of the users themselves; can lead to dependence and addiction; is associated with addiction, respiratory illnesses, and cognitive impairment; is also the second leading substance for which people receive drug treatment, and a major cause for visits to emergency rooms).
- INCREASED AVAILABILITY LEADS TO INCREASED HEALTH AND SAFETY COSTS (Legality increases the availability and acceptability of drugs; increased availability and acceptability of marijuana would likely lead to increased consumption; increased consumption leads to higher public health and financial costs for society).
- LEGALIZATION WILL NOT SOLVE PUBLIC HEALTH OR SAFETY CHALLENGES (Marijuana legalization would not eliminate the black market for the drug, or improve public health and safety).
Florida voters should take particular note of the ONDCP’s comments in its “Marijuana Resource Center” regarding state laws and marijuana:
“Confusing messages being presented by popular culture media, proponents of “medical” marijuana…perpetuate the false notion that marijuana is harmless (emphasis added). This significantly diminishes efforts to keep our young people drug free and hampers the struggle of those recovering from addiction.”
The concluding comments sums it up nicely:
“The Administration steadfastly opposes legalization of marijuana…because legalization would increase the availability and use of illicit drugs, and pose significant health and safety risks to all Americans, particularly young people.”
The Obama Administration is right on this issue. Florida voters should VOTE NO on Amendment 2 in November.
*Clarence V. McKee, Esq. is a consultant to the VOTE NO On 2 Campaign. Additional information may be found at www.VoteNo2.org.