Pubdate: Sun, 14 Aug 2016
Source: Bulletin, The (Bend, OR)
Copyright: 2016 Western Communications Inc.


The federal Drug Enforcement Administration delivered recently good 
news and bad to the nation's growing marijuana industry. It will not 
remove weed, which is legal for both medicinal and recreational 
purposes in Oregon, from its Class I schedule. It will allow more 
experimentation to determine just how dangerous - or helpful - 
marijuana really is.

Substances on the Class I list include, in addition to marijuana, 
such things as LSD, heroin, peyote and ecstasy. They have no widely 
recognized medicinal value and they are, according to the DEA, highly 
addictive. The worst of the worst, in other words.

Yet even the DEA admits it doesn't really know much about marijuana, 
which is why it won't lift the ban. Under federal law it must have 
scientific research proving weed has medicinal value to reclassify 
it. But the DEA has kept a tight lid on the availability of weed 
suitable for testing, limiting its legal growth to the University of 
Mississippi only.

That will change in the weeks ahead, however: The DEA announced 
Thursday it will soon allow other research universities to grow marijuana.

Other changes are needed, as well.

The National Institutes of Health need to spend less money on 
studying weed's addictive properties and more on studies of its 
medicinal ones. If the feds know little about the latter, it may be 
because spending has been so lopsided. In the period 2008-14, for 
example, NIH spent a total of $1.4 billion on marijuana research. 
About $1.1 billion of that went into abuse and addiction studies, 
according to the USA Today newspaper.

And, Congress must get busy and give banks the legal shelter they 
need to allow dispensaries and recreational marijuana shops to bank 
their proceeds, something they cannot do now. Those businesses, which 
now must keep large amounts of cash around because they cannot use 
banks, are increasingly becoming the targets of armed robbers. A 
Portland marijuana dispensary was robbed Aug. 3.

Congress already is easing some laws governing marijuana, led in part 
by members of the Oregon delegation. That's good. Now the DEA and 
other agencies need to get on board.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom