Marijuana advocates have been saying that the U.S. government is deliberately blocking research on medical marijuana research for many years. Now the community is somewhat vindicated in this accusation as the country’s drug czar has come out saying that research has not been supported. Michael Botticelli, the director of national drug control policy for the Obama administration, recently spoke out on Politico’s “Pulse Check” podcast about marijuana, the “war on drugs”, addiction and reform. Botticelli told Politico, “I do think it’s a somewhat fair criticism that the government hasn’t fully supported research to really investigate what’s the potential therapeutic value.”
An Urgent Need for Drug Policy Reform
He went on to talk about the connection between drug policy reform and criminal justice reform, stating, “The previous policy and practice of arresting and incarcerating people … doesn’t work.” He discussed how the military style interventions didn’t eradicate any drug issues, it only added to the problems felt by the African-American communities in how they were treated by police officers. In most places where drug use is the same amongst races, the arrests seem to specifically target black and brown communities. “It’s very clear that that sort of focus and policy of the past had a disproportionate impact on people of color,” says Botticelli. He talked about the importance of undoing the damage now with drug policy reform.
Potential Forward Strides in Medical Marijuana Research
Until now all marijuana based research has been conducted at or through the University of Mississippi, which has a very limited amount of strains. No official medical marijuana research was conducted and forward movement was blocked. As of August this year, the DEA has stated that it will begin to allow medical marijuana research to be conducted, so long as a series of conditions and regulations are met. This is a big breakthrough for the marijuana community although the decision was reached after they decided not to reschedule or de-schedule marijuana.
The Archaic Schedule I Classification
Currently marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug, putting it in the most dangerous and high risk drug category. A Schedule I classification also makes marijuana illegal on a federal level, banning any medical marijuana research to take place in any official capacity. The DEA stated that they would use the FDA’s recommendation to decide what to do. A document obtained by ATTN, under the Freedom of Information Act, now indicates that the DEA suggested rescheduling CBD oil due to its medicinal uses. It also seems clear that they believe reform is necessary, and that a change needs to happen in how the government reviews drugs as part of the Controlled Substances Act.
As more and more states continue to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana, the push for more research becomes louder and more prominent. Medical marijuana research would be able to provide the public with correct dosing and strains for different conditions, allowing countless people to be helped. With Botticelli coming out about the issue, at least we can see progress occurring that is likely going to lead to a remedy to the problem, along with the DEA’s decision to also approve research now.