Marijuana's schedule I status presents more problems and
costs to society than the substances persistent, widespread
use. To reiterate, Section 4 introduced three areas of social
and economic costs--ready access to marijuana for school-age
youths, a spiraling co-dependency between law enforcement
and black market entrepreneurs, and an erosion of credibility
for the nation's law enforcement and public health officials.
This section introduced six more areas of social and
economic costs which the Controlled Substances Act mandates
be reconciled with any possible benefits resultant from marijuana's
schedule I status.
1) The absolute yet unenforceable schedule I prohibition
contributes to an unfavorable set and setting accompanying
school-age access and exposure to marijuana.
2) Adherence to the polarized and unscientific 'use =
abuse' model obstructs the development of effective, research
based policy and drug-abuse prevention programs.
3) The absolute yet unenforceable schedule I prohibition
creates tremendous ethical problems for physicians and health-care-providers,
professionals well-aware of the widening gap between existing
governmental policies and the developing support for marijuana's
therapeutic potential in scientific and medical literature,
and professionals who are seemingly instructed by law to discourage
their patients from using marijuana even if such use has obvious
4) The failure of the Department of Health and Human
Services, and of the National Institute on Drug Abuse specifically,
to address this widening breach between recent research about
marijuana and the findings required to sustain marijuana's
schedule I status unfairly and inappropriately makes our federal
law enforcement officials, particularly officials of the Drug
Enforcement Administration, appear to be heartless, self-serving
5) The federal failure to reconcile marijuana's schedule
I status with contemporary medical and scientific evidence
places an unfair and expensive burden on state criminal justice
agencies and their limited budgets.
6) Marijuana's schedule I status and the high priority
it places on domestic and international marijuana eradication
has the unintended effect of transforming domestic law enforcement
activity into a massive market and price support mechanism
for entrepreneurs here and abroad.
The scope of marijuana use in the United States has far
exceeded the government's ability to enforce the substance's
schedule I status, and this existing scheduling status does
far more harm than good to the social fabric of our nation.