During the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the war on drugs had reached one of it’s highest points with small time cannabis users being one of the biggest targets. The narcotics sections in police departments had grown from small, sometimes single person units, to full blown divisions with some of the highest budgets in the entire police force. Cannabis was being portrayed to be be a drug which ruined lives and critically affected peoples health.
We know today however that this is far from the truth but even back then there were still those within the DEA itself who raised a voice about the wrongful classification of cannabis.
Let’s cast back to September 6th 1988. Administrative Law Judge at the DEA, Francis Young, had finished his ruling entitled “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling” which determined that “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”
The ruling goes on to say that “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”
In response to the rulings finding, the response was to reschedule cannabis as a Schedule II substance: “The administrative law judge recommends that the Administrator conclude that the marijuana plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, that there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision and that it may lawfully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II [of the federal Controlled Substances Act].”
The ruling would ultimately be rejected in 1994 after years of being pushed aside by agencies and court appeals. However there is paragraph within the document that easily illustrates why the current laws regarding cannabis are quite frankly, insane.
“In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating 10 raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death. Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within the supervised routine of medical care.”
You can read the full ruling here.