With New York State currently trying to fully legalize medical, as well as recreational, marijuana in New York, as nine other states have already done, Pres. Donald Trump recently hinted he’s also reconsidering his stance on the issue.
President Trump often has indicated he has a zero tolerance policy for drug abuse, citing his brother’s death from abuse of alcohol, which, ironically is perfectly legal. Comments in the past week, however, leave open the possibility that marijuana could be removed it from the list of Schedule I drugs, defined as substances with no accepted medical use and high risk for abuse. This list includes heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), LSD, mescaline and several lesser known “club drugs.”
Six months ago, Attorney General Jeff Sessions abolished Obama’s memo protecting states that legalized pot from federal interference. With some doctors increasingly recommending marijuana for all types of conditions, from PTSD to cancer, it’s likely that Trump will send Sessions back to reconsider his own stance.
In New York, where medical marijuana is legal only in certain circumstances, insurance companies do not have to bear the burden of the costs of getting the medication. New York is currently considering letting prescribers give marijuana to those hooked on opiates as a way to steer users away from the harmful, highly-addictive drug. For those who need their insurance to cover the cost of medical marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Agency will have to demote pot from its current Schedule 1 status.
Considering over half the states in the nation have rebelled against the DEA’s attitude toward the drug and now have a medical marijuana program and evidence is accumulating that the plant has legitimate medicinal uses – something even the Food and Drug Administration acknowledge nearly 20 years ago – it is hard to believe marijuana will continue to be lumped alongside heroin in the federal government’s legal classification for much longer.
Getting knocked down to Schedule II does not mean drug dealers and users are free to do as they please. Two of the deadliest stimulants – cocaine and methamphetamine – are Schedule II drugs, as both substances are used in certain rare medical treatments. That has not stopped law enforcement from arresting millions of people for possessing or dealing the drugs.
Numerous opiates similar to heroin are Schedule II drugs, including morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. Though these drugs are used routinely for treatment of pain, law enforcement has stepped up enforcement of prescription fraud and abuse .