Pubdate: [Sat, 01 Mar 1997]
Source: Spokesman-Review, Spokane (WA)
Author: Johanna Wools

Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey has said that the scheduling of marijuana
(determination of its medicinal availability) should not be determined by
public opinion, but should be decided by the FDA. He stated that it was
dangerously unscientific for non-experts to make these decisions.

If that's the standard, let's apply it to America's two most common
pleasure drugs, alcohol and tobacco. If tobacco was subjected to FDA
scrutiny it would be a Schedule I drug, prohibited just like heroin because
it is extremely addictive and has no medicinal value.

Alcohol would join cocaine in Schedule II, having some medicinal value but
still having enough potential for abuse to warrant full criminalization if
used for recreation.

This points out the hypocrisy of America's drug enforcement system. The
recreational drugs endorsed by the majority have been exempted from the
scheduling standards that harshly criminalize users of drugs like
marijuana. Marijuana is currently used by about 20 million Americans and
has been used at one time or another by 50 million others, including our
president and House speaker.

All drugs should be subjected to the same standards of criminalization
determined by a factual review of their potential for causing harm. Equal
protection under the law demands that America's double-standard must end.

Johanna Wools,
Grand Coulee