fixing american drug laws
fixing american drug laws

How to Unf**k American Drug Laws - Dissolve the DEA and Re-Negotiate Worldwide Drug Treaties

How does America fix its outdated drug laws and international agreements?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Tuesday Mar 26, 2024

fix american drug laws

How to Unf**k America!


The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has long been a staunch opponent of cannabis legalization, so it comes as no surprise that they've rejected the Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) recommendation to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act. The HHS review found cannabis to have medical value and a lower potential for abuse than currently scheduled.


However, the DEA believes the agency is wrong on this front.


This stance is unsurprising given the DEA's role as the enforcer of drug laws that has largely criminalized cannabis for decades. Their opposition protects the interests of the powerful pharmaceutical industry which stands to lose billions if cannabis is rescheduled and medical programs expand.


It's estimated that wherever medical cannabis is legalized, pharma loses roughly $10 billion in annual revenues as patients switch from prescription drugs to medical marijuana.


The DEA's rejection of rescheduling leaves America at a crossroads. Do we continue allowing an agency with a vested interest in maintaining cannabis prohibition to override scientific evidence on the plant's medical value? Or do we re-evaluate the necessity of the DEA's existence altogether?


This antiquated drug war institution has not only perpetuated injustices against cannabis consumers but has also contributed to policies that make illicit substances even more unsafe and available on the black market. By clinging to an ideology focused on criminalization over harm reduction, the DEA's presence is increasingly antithetical to the ideals of a free society.


As America reckons with the DEA's hardline position, it's worth examining whether disbanding the agency entirely and renegotiating international drug policies could be the first step in "unf**king" the nation's catastrophic war on drugs. This article aims to showcase these reform ideas and a path forward.


What the DEA said exactly


While anonymous sources cited in the Wall Street Journal report claim there is tension between certain DEA officials and the White House over marijuana's scheduling status, the agency itself has not taken an official public position on the matter.


The DEA has only stated that it is currently carrying out its scientific and medical evaluation of cannabis as required by law after receiving a scheduling recommendation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).


HHS conducted its own assessment and advised moving marijuana from its current restrictive Schedule I status to the less prohibitive Schedule III under the Controlled Substances Act.


In testimony before Congress last year, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said the agency would "keep an open mind" and "look at all the research" during its review process. This suggests the DEA has not pre-judged the outcome and is withholding any scheduling decision until it has thoroughly examined the evidence.


Importantly, the DEA has stressed that as the agency tasked with enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, it maintains final authority over determining cannabis' proper scheduling – not HHS. While the Congressional Research Service stated it is "likely" DEA will accept HHS' Schedule III recommendation based on past precedent, the DEA is not legally bound to that advisory opinion.


The purported resistance from some DEA officials cited anonymously aligns with the historical position of the agency and its past administrators who have vigorously defended marijuana's Schedule I status quo. For example, the quote in the Journal from former DEA head Timothy Shea asserting "the science does not support rescheduling" reflects this entrenched anti-rescheduling mindset.


However, the DEA has made no definitive public statement adopting or rejecting HHS' scheduling recommendation to date. All the agency has officially communicated is that it is presently conducting "an appropriate review of the science and available data" related to marijuana's abuse potential, risk to public health, and medical value as required under the Controlled Substances Act.


In fact, Administrator Milgram pointedly declined to even acknowledge if there is any internal dissent when asked about the Journal's reporting, telling Marijuana Moment: "I'm not going to comment on any internal DEA deliberations."


Some cannabis reform advocates have expressed skepticism about the motivations behind the anonymously-sourced leaks claiming DEA opposition, especially given the consistent anti-rescheduling history and drug war ethos of the agency. As NORML's deputy director stated, there's a presumed faction within DEA that wishes to "cling to their 'flat Earth' cannabis policies at all costs" regardless of the evidence.


While this apparent internal wariness about rescheduling aligns with the DEA's historic stance, the agency's official public position for now is that it is dutifully carrying out the scheduling review process as required with an open mind. Definitive proof of whether the DEA will accept or reject HHS' recommendation to reschedule cannabis to Schedule III is still pending completion of its evaluation in the coming months.


The DEA Lost the War on Drugs


The Drug Enforcement Administration's own mission statement makes clear that the agency's purpose is to enforce the controlled substances laws and regulations of the United States. However, the DEA has catastrophically failed to achieve those objectives over the past several decades of waging its self-described "war on drugs."


According to the DEA's mission statement, the agency is tasked with "bringing to the criminal and civil justice system...organizations involved in the growing, manufacture, or distribution of controlled substances." Yet despite an increasingly militarized effort and violating civil liberties in the name of this "war," illicit drugs are more widely available and used today than when the modern Controlled Substances Act was established in 1970.


One key reason the DEA has been losing this war is because the Controlled Substances Act essentially grants a monopoly over the "manufacturing of Schedule I drugs" solely to well-funded pharmaceutical corporations and research institutions. By wrongfully placing cannabis in the most restrictive Schedule I category, the DEA has made it nearly impossible for anyone outside of big pharma to legally research and develop drugs derived from the plant.


This monopolistic blockade goes against stated American principles of facilitating open research, scientific inquiry, and a free market of innovative new medications. Instead, it protects the profit motives of large pharmaceutical companies by eliminating potential competition from cannabis-derived drugs and therapies.


Despite an overwhelming body of scientific evidence showing cannabis' relative safety and potential medical benefits, the DEA stubbornly clings to antiquated dogmas labeling it a dangerous substance "with no currently accepted medical use." This ideological inflexibility seems motivated more by a desire for the DEA's own bureaucratic relevance than upholding facts, ethics or American principles.


After over 50 years and over $1 trillion spent enforcing draconian drug laws, it's clear that the DEA's militarized "war" has been an extraordinarily costly and tragic failure in terms of public health, civil liberties and human rights. Not only has prohibition caused a crisis of overincarceration, but it has also empowered violent criminal cartels while failing to reduce drug availability or use.


In the 1970s when the modern war on drugs was launched, around 25 million Americans had used illicit drugs. Today, after a trillion dollars spent on DEA enforcement efforts, over 119 million Americans have used prohibited substances according to federal data. Rather than reducing availability and use, drugs are unquestionably more prevalent across all demographics than before the DEA's creation.


Not only has the DEA's drug war failed to reduce drug use, but it has enriched and further empowered the highly organized, well-resourced, and increasingly ruthless criminal cartels that control the lucrative illegal drug trade. Before the harsh prohibitions, drug operations were unrefined and largely limited to small crime rings. But cartels grew into the multinational billion-dollar enterprises they are today precisely because of the high-risk, high-reward economics created by blanket criminalization.


Essentially, the DEA's drug enforcement policies turbocharged the profitable international drug trade into a full-blown cartel-controlled battlefield with thousands of lives lost in drug-related violence every year. In many regions, murderous cartels exert more control than governments due to the lawlessness and fortunes enabled by harsh prohibition.


Simply put, the DEA has undeniably lost its militarized crusade to extinguish drug use and suppress drug supply through harsh criminalization. It is clear that continued prohibition and DEA enforcement actually makes drugs more available, more potent, more adulterated with dangerous additives, and more consolidated under the control of bloodthirsty criminal enterprises.


Since the DEA has manifestly failed in its purported core mission after a half-century of trying the same unsuccessful strong-arm tactics, it's time for America to radically renegotiate its relationship with drugs and drug policy. Clinging to this quixotic, destructive "war on drugs" only perpetuates injustice, enriches murderous criminals, erodes civil liberties, inhibits research into potential cures, and debases America's founding ideals.


The first step in renegotiating this relationship is ending the DEA's fundamentally flawed, uniquely American strain of blanket drug criminalization that gifted cartels their very power and riches. Only then can the nation reclaim its principles and pragmatically regulate drugs in a manner that improves public health and safety.


The Sticky Bottom Line


The inescapable reality is that the DEA's prohibitionist policies have utterly failed to curb drug use, availability or the power of violent criminal cartels. In fact, the evidence shows their harsh crackdown tactics have made the drug supply more dangerous and emboldened criminality. This raises the uncomfortable but imperative question - is the DEA itself more detrimental to America's overall health and wellness than the drugs it futilely aims to eliminate?


By decentralizing drug policy away from the DEA's one-size-fits-all criminalization model, America can open the door to responsibly exploring therapeutic psychotropics like psilocybin and LSD. These could provide psychiatric breakthroughs, yet their potential remains bottlenecked by the DEA's restrictive drug scheduling system which fuels a cruel cycle of patient suffering.


Disbanding the DEA does not mean descending into some Mad Max drug apocalypse fantasy peddled by drug warriors. Rather, it simply unlocks the gates restraining scientific inquiry into these substances' medicinal wisdom for the betterment of society.


Moreover, America cannot continue moralizing about illicit drugs being universally "bad" while simultaneously celebrating mind-altering drugs like alcohol that are scientifically more toxic and lethal than cannabis. This blatant hypocrisy and muddled messaging undermines credibility. Alcohol objectively fits the profile of a Schedule I narcotic far more than marijuana, yet it's aggressively marketed during events like the Super Bowl while the DEA places its watchful eye on those seeking alternative paths outside the mainstream river of pharmaceutical junk.


For those adamant about "unfucking America," one of the most imperative first steps is dismantling the DEA power structure and reclaiming individual bodily autonomy from the state's draconian prohibition regime. America's founders envisioned a society of personal freedoms, not one where federal foot soldiers infringe on liberties under the prejudiced guise of keeping "dangerous" plants from citizens who wish to consciously explore their own consciousness.





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