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 therapeutic benefits.
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 idiots.
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.