The DEA’s Inexplicable Decision

marijuana-leafBelow is a copy of my August 26 letter to the editor in the Seattle Times on the recent inexplicable decision by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to continue classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug, which prohibits the ability for it to be prescribed and research to be conducted on it.

I point out the cognitive dissonance of this decision, especially given the fact that the U.S. Patent Office issued a patent for cannabis in 2003 for “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants,” citing the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

“The editorial “Reefer madness in the halls of the DEA” [Opinion, Aug. 14] perfectly explains the cognitive dissonance in the DEA’s insistence on continuing to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, while (minimally) easing restrictions on growing marijuana for research purposes.

Another example is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s patent issued in 2003 for “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants,” citing the efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Is the DEA cognizant of this fact?

Here in Washington state, we have a serious, sometimes fatal problem with heroin and opioid addiction. Yet, as The Times stated in the editorial, opioids remain Schedule II drugs, allowing for research and prescription access. But marijuana, which has never been documented to cause overdose fatalities, remains Schedule I.

Research into marijuana efficacy and safety is extremely important. As a state senator, my legislation (enacted in 2015) created a cannabis research license, permitting researchers working with the University of Washington and Washington State University to grow marijuana for research purposes. However, without reclassification of marijuana, the program cannot be fully viable.”

– Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Seattle

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