Back in April of 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) informed members of the United States Congress that the DEA hoped to release in the first half of that year its determination of whether marijuana should be moved from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to another schedule. Such rescheduling could result in a curtailment of aspects of the US government’s war on marijuana. Come August of 2016, the DEA announced it had decided marijuana should be left in Schedule I — the category for which the greatest drug war restrictions and penalties apply.
Here we go again. On Friday, Riley Griffin reported at Bloomberg that the DEA will be initiating another review of marijuana’s presence in Schedule I after receiving an August 29 letter from the Department of Health and Human Services recommending moving marijuana to Schedule III. We’ll have to wait and see if this review, unlike the previous one, leads to a schedule change.
All the while, despite approval of marijuana legalization being the majority view among Americans — be they Democrats, Republicans, or neither — Congress leadership has year after year refused to hold a vote on simple, straightforward legislation to end the US government’s war on marijuana and leave marijuana policy to state and local governments that continue to liberalize marijuana laws. This has been the case under both Republican leadership that blocked the consideration of legalization and Democratic leadership that backed exclusively legalization legislation including extraneous provisions that ensured the legislation would not gain approval.
American marijuana legalization can provide a much bigger gain for freedom than can shifting marijuana among the Controlled Substances Act schedules.
Keep in mind that the majority of American voters — and the majority of the subgroups of Republican, Democratic, and other voters — have supported marijuana legalization. In October of 2017, looking at such support for legalization in polling, I commented that I would not be surprised if the US government legalized marijuana within five years. Next month will be six years since I made that comment. Oh well. The US government has an impressive ability to resist taking actions favorable to freedom, even when such actions have broad-based public support.