Legalization of marijuana has been a major political issue in recent weeks. Despite successful legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington, marijuana remains a schedule I drug under federal rules. But why is marijuana a schedule I drug?
Marijuana is a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act passed by the Congress in 1970. A schedule I drug is a dangerous substance that has no recognized medical use and that has a high potential for abuse. In addition to marijuana, heroin, LSD and ecstasy are schedule I substances.
However, many argue that marijuana does not deserve such categorization. Marijuana has been proven to have medical benefits for a number of diseases such as cancer, depression, HIV and many more. This is why 18 states and the District of Columbia now allow the medical use of marijuana.
In terms of high potential for abuse, it appears that marijuana is less addictive that many other substances like tobacco, heroin, cocaine, caffeine or alcohol. This challenges the rationale behind its categorization as a schedule I substance.
Finally, in terms of dangerousness, no marijuana related deaths have been reported while tobacco and alcohol are responsible for the death 500,000 people annually.
Should the scheduling of marijuana as a scheduled one drug be reconsidered?