Since 1972, there have been many proposals in the U. S. to remove cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the most tightly restricted category reserved for drugs which have “no currently accepted medical use.” Cannabis does not meet the Controlled Substances Act’s strict criteria for placement in Schedule I, and therefore the government is required by law either to permit medical use or to remove the drug from federal control altogether.
The U.S. government insists that cannabis is a dangerous narcotic, that cannabis has no acceptable medical use, and that cannabis is addictive. Of course, alcohol and tobacco have been exempted from Schedule I designation altogether because of powerful industry lobbies.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined. The CDC says that there are approximately 80,000 deaths attributable to excessive alcohol use each year in the United States. This makes excessive alcohol use the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation.
Excessive alcohol use is responsible for 2.3 million years of potential life lost (YPLL) annually, or an average of about 30 years of potential life lost for each death. In 2006, there were more than 1.2 million emergency room visits and 2.7 million physician office visits due to excessive drinking. The economic costs of excessive alcohol consumption in 2006 were estimated at $223.5 billion.”
In 5,000+ years of human consumption, not a single person has ever died from a toxic reaction or overdose of cannabis. Unlike alcohol, cannabis is not known to make people act violently, and it is clearly not as addictive or as dangerous as alcohol and tobacco. The statistics tell the story the gross hypocrisy that has been leveled on Americans. The healing, therapeutic herb is deemed dangerous and addictive, while the toxic, deadly, addictive substances are deemed innocuous, and sold freely.
As long as cannabis is a Schedule I restricted substance this struggle for reform will continue. Don’t expect us Seattle Hempfest folks to slow down until cannabis has been EXEMPTED ENTIRELY from the DEA Federal Schedule program. Cannabis has no place on the DEA’s drug schedule at all.
To hell with the Partnership for a Drug Free Society, their name is disingenuous, as they don’t care about the thousands of annual deaths from pharmaceutical drugs, they are way too busy lying about cannabis. Hempfest is a partnership for a free society. By instituting proven harm reduction messaging, a free society can do a much better job at fighting abuse, dependency and addiction than this catastrophic failure known as American prohibition, which squanders tax payer dollars and has put more citizens in jail than any nation in human history.
You cannot have both a “drug free” society and a free society at the same time. Which one will it be? We must decide before any more damage is done to our fragile young republic.