Pubdate: Fri, 06 Mar 2009
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (AK)
Copyright: 2009 Fairbanks Publishing Company, Inc.
Author: Craig Burnham


To the editor:

On Feb. 25, Attorney General Eric Holder told a group of reporters
"What Obama said during the campaign ... is now American policy." What
was Eric Holder referring to? Raids against state licensed medical
marijuana dispensaries and cultivators. The Drug Enforcement Agency
has been going after these co-ops ever since states legalized
marijuana for medicinal purposes, with California being the main stage.

What this means is that the DEA and other federal agencies will have
to respect, and abide, by state law. But there is a bigger implication
here. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are recognizing the
medicinal value of marijuana. Currently, under the Controlled
Substance Act, marijuana is listed as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1
drugs, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, "have no currently
accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of
accepted safety for use under medical supervision." Some of the other
drugs considered a Schedule 1 are cocaine, heroin and LSD.

This should open the door for a national debate, and hopefully a
policy change, when it comes to marijuana's classification as a
Schedule 1. Marijuana has its medical purposes and can be used safely.
Safe methods of using marijuana include ingestion and inhaling using a
process known as vaporization. We can only hope that soon marijuana
will be removed from its place as a Schedule 1, and will open the door
to full legalization.

Craig Burnham

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