“Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known…it would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious for [the] DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance.” ~ Francis L. Young, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge, 1988
Ironically, as U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Cancer Institute was updating its website to include cannabis as having medicinal benefits, specically, “for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illegal substance,” and cannabinoids as activating “specific receptors found throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system,” other branches of government have been on a spending spree wasting tax dollars trying to stop medicine in the form of cannabis from benefiting these human systems in patients that are qualified to do so.
Not only have dispensaries and collectives been under attack in states that have allowed the use of medical cannabis, but also patients that just want to grow their own medicine, and have the physical ability to do so, are also under attack.
People like Susan Soares and places like Perris, California are the stories that don’t make the headlines. Riverside County is making poor use of their solar energy and at a time when the real estate market could still use a boost, have decided, like their Orange Curtain neighbors to the North, by vastly limiting the availability of medicine for patients by limiting the areas in which to grow the medicine.
Similarly, when San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors usurped the will of the people by circumventing the Compassionate Use Act through land use laws, patients came out in droves to declare their rights as patients and protect those rights, only to be silenced by a vote to excluded all access to collectives and dispensaries and only limit the amount of people involved to two, virtually redefining that law passed in 1996 by a majority of Californians.
The Dam is Breaking, We Need More Bubblegum
When the DEA could no longer use the American Medical Association’s position, the common rhetoric from the agency points the finger at Congress, stating that the creation of the Controlled Substances Act placed cannabis in Schedule I, meaning the plant has no medicinal value and is highly addictive.
The convenience of scapegoating Congress has caught up with the Drug Enforcement Agency, as they seem to be losing their grips on what they see the drug war to be. Now that they clearly have defined the drug war as a war on medical marijuana, their actions tell the public that despite what the science says, cannabis as it is inaccurately defined by Congress, shall remain the agency’s focus of attack, via the path of least resistance.
The short sightedness of what Americans would hope to be one of the smartest agencies we should have, gives us a reason to pause and question how many other issues they won’t give up spending money on. Thinking a medical cannabis community operating in plain sight is much easier, and much much safer, than going after a real criminal.
Why go into a meth lab full of criminals and guns, when, because congress says cannabis is a Schedule I, law enforcement can go after a class of criminals that don’t have guns – the medical marijuana patients.
That’s because cannabis is still illegal under federal law, simply due to the fact that when the law was being created, the creators ignored the information they had solicited in the first place, and placed cannabis as a more dangerous substance to control than cocaine, among many other harmful drugs that collectively, Congress knows is not true. Congress would even vote to reschedule it given the opportunity, but no such opportunity has come up… until now.
If we go back to the 1972 Shafer Report, we’ll find that despite what we now know, what we knew then was that the Commission recommended certain changes to the federal law regarding marijuana. Those changes were to include the “possession of marihuana for personal use would no longer be an offense…” and “casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana… not involving profit would no longer be an offense.”
It has been nearly forty years since the Nixon Administration flubbed the Commission’s findings and imprisoned cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule I drug. In that time we’ve had the global discovery of scientific breakthroughs regarding our body’s own cannabinoid system and the medicinal values associated with our our endocannabinoid system’s receptors bind to phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD in the plant.
Recently, a branch of Health and Human Services admitted our body’s receptors as having great influence over other body systems and those receptors bind to those cannabinoids in the plant, empirically supporting today’s general consensus, especially within those who have first hand experience and knowledge, that the plant indeed has medicinal value, making it a matter of moments before cannabis is finally redefined from it’s classification as ‘having no medicinal value,’ according to congress, and appropriately placing it in a category that removes the criminal element from it’s use.
Until then, not only will our tax dollars be spent uprooting the innocent, but the collateral damage from the resources wasted on the drug war will continue to bleed preciously from places like Perris, where Joe Grumbine felt the effects of a raid.
We are the Insurgents
The Shafer Report also points the fact that “the marihuana explosion of the mid-sixties occurred within the context of 30 years of instilled fear,” and while “based much more on fantasy than on proven fact… the threat which marihuana use is thought to present to the dominant social order is a major undercurrent of the marihuana ‘problem’… making it “more than a drug: it becomes a symbol of the rejection of cherished values.”
If this is why DEA agents are going into medical marijuana facilities, then the DEA have painted themselves as a rogue branch of government, pathological in nature and bitter to their core. Their job as Drug Enforcement depends on what congress defines as drugs. If the Shafer report, which congress was supposed to listen to when defining cannabis, explicitly states that possessing it and emphatically emphasizes the harm-reduction aspect, and in the last forty years they have continued to ignore those findings, as well as new information that has come to light, including the National Cancer Institutes recent revelations regarding the plant, as well as the body system it binds to, then we must admit there is a war on patients, and patients like Susan Soares and Joe Grumbine are the insurgents of that war.
Susan Soares, after being raided in her home and having her roommate arrested had her home ripped apart, her plants ripped out, and her community reeling, is ready and waiting to strike back. Being that the pen is mightier than the sward, and as they come at insurgents, there is a growing number of coalition forces building up their armies and taking aim at the agencies that are the lower hanging fruits, like the DEA that clearly has a need to justify using their weapons of rage on the sick and dying.
After spending the day with Susan and her friend, and helping her find a home thanks to MPP’s Sarah Lovering, we got news that another soldier, Stephanie Landa, was the target of yet another raid.
We the People will change law and congress will redefine cannabis, but until we make our elected officials take advantage of this opportunity and take a serious and sensible look at this issue, the DEA will continue to pathologically pursue patients because they can, and because they are funded to do just that. If the agency that is tasked to enforce drugs has tunnel-vision towards medical marijuana patients in states that have permitted them to participate in a program of some sort, then it’s up to the insurgents to make congress redefine that agency’s agenda regarding that particular drug.