Causal Essay Rewrite – Ally Hodgson

So, How Did Marijuana Get Placed Into Schedule One in the First Place?

Marijuana is a schedule one drug. A schedule one drug is described under the Controlled Substances Act as:

 “hav[ing] a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision”

How did marijuana get in a schedule with drugs like heroin, LSD, PCP and ecstasy?

Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, but they needed help on the subject of marijuana. They reached out to the Department of Health Education and Welfare. Roger Egeberg, a chairman for the HEW, wrote a letter to Congress when asked where they should put marijuana. Egeberg decided to be cautious:

“Since there is still a considerable void in our knowledge of the plant and effects of the active drug contained in it, our recommendation is that marihuana be retained in schedule I at least until the completion of certain studies now underway to resolve this issue. If those studies make it appropriate for the Attorney General to change the placement of marihuana to a different schedule, he may do so in accordance with the authority provided under section 201 of the bill” (procon.org).

Marijuana got placed in schedule one simply because Congress didn’t know what to do with it since there was not substantial research. The problem with being in schedule one is, as the legislation states, “[schedule one] limits authorized activities.” Marijuana is placed into schedule one because they need more research but the fact that marijuana is in schedule one makes it harder to research. This catch 22 makes it hard for us to learn anything about the herb. If marijuana was taken out of schedule one, it could be researched, which would be beneficial.

Egeberg did state marijuana should be moved if the studies concluded so. The studies mentioned finished in 1972. They studied marijuana’s effect on people, their behaviors and marijuana as a social problem. They consequentially recommended marijuana be removed from any scheduling and personal use should be decriminalized. These studies were done by the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse.  Raymond Shafer, a chairman, recommended:

“Possession of marihuana for personal use would no longer be an offense, but marihuana possessed in public would remain contraband subject to summary seizure and forfeiture. Casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration not involving profit would no longer be an offense” (procon.org)

So why didn’t we try this? In 1971, Nixon stated even if the studies recommended he decriminalize marijuana, he overrule their decision. He explained he had “strong views” on this subject and would follow those views. In Nixon’s words from his personal tapes in the Oval Office: “homosexuality, dope, immorality in general: these are enemies of a strong society.” He also stated: “I think there’s a need to come out with a report that is totally, uh, uh, oblivious to some obvious, uh, differences between marijuana and other drugs, other
dangerous drugs, there are differences” (Nixon, Richard).

Would decriminalizing marijuana even work? People in opposition of marijuana make it seem like our country would be absolutely chaotic if it were legalized. Drugs were decriminalized in Portugal. There was not chaos; it was very beneficial to the country. 10 percent of Portuguese people over 15 have used marijuana in their lives. This is the lowest percent in Europe and staggeringly low compared to America’s 39 percent of people over twelve.

Works Cited:

Abuse, National Commission on Marihuana and Drug. “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding.” March 1972. Iowamedicalmarijuana.org. 26 April 2012

“Busted: America’s War on Marijuana,” www.pbs.org

Controlled Substances Act TITLE 21 – FOOD AND DRUGS CHAPTER 13 – DRUG ABUSE PREVENTION AND CONTROL SUBCHAPTER I – CONTROL AND ENFORCEMENT FDA US Food and Drug Administration. 11 June, 2009. 12 April, 2012.

Historical Timeline- History of Marijuana as Medicine – 2900 BC to Present Procon.org. 3 June, 2012. 12 April, 2012.

Richard Nixon: “Oval Office Conversation – Meeting with Nixon, Haldeman and Ehrlichman,” Mary 13, 1971. Online by Common Sense for Drug Policy.

Richard Nixon:“The President’s News Conference,” May 1, 1971. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project.

United States National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. 1972. Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC

This entry was posted in X Archive 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Causal Essay Rewrite – Ally Hodgson

  1. allyhodgson93 says:

    this didn’t fit in but i’d like to bring some attention to a quote by good ol’ tricky dick: “You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them?”

  2. davidbdale says:

    The man had a way with words. 🙂

  3. davidbdale says:

    This has gotten significantly better over the course of several revisions, Ally.

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