Ohio’s State Sen. Kenny Yuko reportedly has filed a bill calling upon Congress and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to downgrade marijuana’s restrictive category.
The DEA currently places marijuana in the Schedule I category alongside other drugs such as heroin. Schedule I is used to identify drugs which are considered to have no medical use and have a high abuse potential. Others have questioned why more addictive drugs such as oxycodone and methamphetamine have been placed in a less regulated Schedule II category.
Marijuana use remains to be a federal crime although it has been legalized for recreational use in 9 states including Washington, and medically in 29.
Marijuana advocates have expressed their anger on the Trump Government’s stance on marijuana. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has shown his intentions to put a crackdown on the use of marijuana.
Senior policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Mike Brickner has shown his opposition to the government’s planned crackdown.
“This is just a return back to a lot of the failed policies we have seen over the last several decades with the war on drugs,” said Brickner. “Many legislators have had this tough on crime mentality, and it just has not worked for our community. These laws just funnel more people into our criminal justice system. Ohio has 20,000 people in county jails each day, and a lot of these people are in for low-level crimes like drug possession.
“Marijuana is part of this war on drugs that has not benefited our society whatsoever. We have tried to address drug addiction through the criminal justice system, when really the better way to address it is through public health. We have to look at ways to treat the issue. We’re spending billions of dollars on our state prison systems.”
The senator explained his proposal aims to help it make easier for people to have access to medical marijuana by making it easier for medical marijuana businesses to operate.
“Marijuana’s Schedule I status is both inaccurate and damaging to the many Americans who benefit from medical cannabis,” Yuko reportedly said. “The families of sick children who have used this product know how important it is. But researchers are afraid to study cannabis, and legal businesses are forced to remain cash-only, because the government still views it as dangerous.”
The senator added that with marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug, banks are stringent when it comes to accepting monies that are derived from marijuana businesses. This makes it more costly for dispensaries to operate. Another problem is that marijuana businesses are currently disallowed to deduct some expenses for tax purposes.
“There’s a new understanding as to what that product can do for people,” Yuko said. “It’s not a gateway drug. We’re not trying to create a situation where people are walking around high all day long. ”
“This can be a game changer. For Washington to try to stick their head in the sand is absolutely wrong,” Yuoko added. “The world and over half of the country is on board. We’re supposed to be the voices of the people.”
The classification of drugs such as marijuana is essential in regards to their regulations and prescription. Other drugs such as Tramadol can also be classified based on other types of measure such as its effect on the user.