Starting on Oct. 1,
Despite the president's 2008 campaign promise to not interfere with states' medical marijuana programs, his administration has shown it is all too willing to crack down on dispensaries — even ones complying fully with state law — with its recent raids of Oaksterdam University and threats of property seizure against Harborside Health Center, both in California. Marijuana remains in the most restrictive legal category, Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it is officially recognized as having a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use in treatment.
To put this in perspective, other Schedule I drugs include
If President Obama wants to make good on his campaign promise, he could direct the Drug Enforcement Agency to look at the facts and move marijuana to a more appropriate schedule, such as II or III. This would lift the federal prohibition on marijuana for medical use and allow states to regulate it without fear of federal interference. It would also enable marijuana to be prescribed to patients and dispensed at a pharmacy, rather than forcing legislatures to use legal loopholes and allow doctors to "recommend" it and have patients buy it from dedicated dispensaries. Most important, rescheduling would allow much more research to be done on the effects of marijuana, allowing us to better understand its uses and how to administer it as safely as possible.
The fact that the Obama administration could quickly and easily end federal interference in medical marijuana is no secret. Last year, Govs.
Connecticut's elected leaders, including our congressional delegation and Gov.Dannel P. Malloy, must join with other states to put pressure on the Obama administration to look honestly at the science and reschedule marijuana. They have all shown great support for medical marijuana in the past. Mr. Malloy campaigned on the issue in 2010, and his support was key in making Connecticut the 17th state to permit medical marijuana this year.
TheU.S. House of Representativesrecently held a vote to block federal funding for raids on medical marijuana dispensaries; although the motion failed 262-163, all five of Connecticut's representatives voted against federal interference.
Nationwide, support for medical marijuana consistently polls at well over 70 percent, significantly higher than President Obama's own approval rating, which currently hovers around 47 percent. Connecticut is the country's most recent state to allow medical marijuana, and if allowed to be implemented, its law will be one of the most responsible in the nation. Our state leaders need to stand up for the rights of Connecticut's patients — and the will of its voters — and advocate for the end of federal interference in state medical marijuana programs.