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By Scotty T. Reid – “Tough on Crime” politicians and pro-drug war forces have been fighting to keep Nixonian criminal drug penalties codified in law for decades. Just as the oil and gas industries fight against Climate Change science by funding think tanks that produced junk science to confuse the public and believe its all a hoax, a survey has come out that relies on similar junk science in the cannabis legalization debate. The outdated clinical term “Cannabis Use Disorder” is being used to oppose or question the legalization legislation that has been sweeping the nation which includes the House Judiciary Committee passing the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in a 24-10 vote on Wednesday.
A Newsweek article titled “CANNABIS USE DISORDER IS RISING IN U.S. STATES WHERE WEED IS LEGAL” cites a source that admits that “Cannabis Use Disorder” is an outdated term but it seems clear that the term is being resurrected for its propaganda value in attempts to undermine public and political support for cannabis legalization.
Cannabis abuse is a term describing the continued use of cannabis despite impairment in psychological, physical, or social functioning. It is an outdated medical definition formerly used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) which divided substance use from substance dependence.
“Cannabis Use Disorder”, by Jason Patel; Raman Marwaha seems to be the primary source of KASHMIRA GANDER’s Newsweek article.
Both seem to be rooting their arguments in the DEA’s classification of cannabis which is not a medical agency but a law enforcement agency with a history of corruption and a key role in facilitating mass incarceration policies of every administration up to the current Trump administration.
Cannabis is considered by the Food and Drug Administration, along with heroin and peyote, as a schedule I drug. It has no accepted medical purpose and has a high potential for abuse. Commonly prescribed drugs like opiates and stimulants are schedule II drugs, meaning they have a high risk of abuse but are medically useful.
The DEA ‘s official position is that cannabis is a “drug” comparable to heroin with no medical value. This is the assertion of the DEA despite current medical studies highlighting the medicinal value of cannabis including its CBD oils used to effectively treat epilepsy. According to the DEA, oxycontin and other opioids which were overprescribed by doctors encouraged by drug companies to push their “schedule II” drugs on the public, is less addictive than cannabis and this fraudulent assertion would be laughable if the nation was not years into an opioid crisis which is claiming lives and destroying families every day. How many cannabis users died of an overdose during this opioid crisis which has claimed so many victims to the point that the crisis is part of pop culture commentary becoming the punchline of Dave Chappelle’s jokes? Zero, that would be zero cannabis overdose deaths.
The DEA’s political classification of cannabis has historically been used as an excuse to support policies that have led to unprecedented arrests, detention and imprisoning of millions of citizens. In some states, victims of drug war policies obtain a permanent second class citizen status subject to taxation without representation.
Any use or perceived addiction to any substance can be called a disorder and if we are going to label people as having disorders because of use of a particular substance, are we then going to argue for criminal penalties to target those who may have developed Energy Drink Use Disorders, Alcohol Use Disorders, Eating Disorders, Sexual Use Disorders and so one and so forth, the list could be endless. It seems illogical to target anyone for medically treatable substance abuse disorders with criminal penalties that include fines and incarceration and why criminal penalties for cannabis use must end.