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Washington Post: More Research Needed to Reclassify Marijuana

marijuana-istockBy Editorial Board
Washington Post

The Drug Enforcement Administration made headlines last week for sticking to the status quo: The agency declined to change marijuana’s classification under the Controlled Substances Act to a lower, less strictly regulated schedule.

Marijuana sits alongside heroin and LSD in the DEA’s Schedule I category, reserved for the most dangerous substances. Schedule II drugs include narcotics such as methadone and oxycodone that are medically useful but have a high potential for harm. Advocates say the current classification of marijuana makes little sense: They cite studies that show pot can help patients manage pain without any serious risk of abuse. The only problem? The Food and Drug Administration has done studies of its own, and its experts do not agree.

There’s one way to resolve the debate: more research. Until there is substantial evidence that marijuana does more to help than to hurt, the DEA is right not to reschedule the drug. The agency took a step in the right direction by allowing more places to grow marijuana for research on how the drug could treat chronic pain and diseases such as epilepsy.

But even with the rule change, most scientists who want to learn more about marijuana’s effects will find themselves hamstrung. Schedule I drugs are not supposed to have medical benefits, so the rules governing them do not easily allow for clinical trials. That means researchers and the DEA are stuck: The DEA can’t reclassify marijuana unless research proves its effectiveness, but scientists have a hard time doing research unless the DEA reclassifies marijuana.

ATF Offers $10K Reward After 8 Milwaukee Businesses Were Set Ablaze

ATF_LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the capture and conviction of arsonists who set fire to eight Milwaukee businesses during an uprising over the weekend.

The Washington Times reports that arsonists targeted a gas station, beauty supply store, auto parts store, supermarket and three liquor stores on Saturday and Sunday night.

A rally over three fatal shooting of Sylville Smith, an armed black man, turned violent after police tried to stop a march.

Seven officers also were injured.

The damage is “estimated to exceed several million dollars,” the ATF said.

Other Stories of Interest

Parker: DEA Passes on Opportunity to Bring Rationality to Hemp Laws

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office. He is the author of the book “Carving Out the Rule of Law: The History of the United States Attorney’s Office in Eastern Michigan 1815–2008″.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Overlooked in the firestorm reaction to DEA’s decisions last week declining to re-schedule marijuana was its decision not to alter the enforcement policy on industrial hemp cultivation and sale. To me this was a lost opportunity to bring some rationality and sense to one small part of the Cannabis quagmire which has resulted in the anomalous situation in which half the country has legalized pot for one purpose or another with the federal government continuing to consider it a Schedule I illegal substance.

I thought that the Acting Administrator’s and the agency’s decision on marijuana was a reasonable response. People think that keeping it in the highest schedule is an inflexible insistence that it belongs among the most dangerous drugs. It is not. It merely follows the Controlled Substance Act’s definition that it has not been scientifically proven that it has a currently accepted medical use and poses an acceptable risk. The fact that 25 state legislatures have authorized its medical use is not sufficiently reassuring to me to ignore the recent preliminary studies that it can be a risk to health, particularly for the growing brains of adolescents and young adults.

DEA has authorized 354 individuals and institutions to conduct research on this question, and when that research produces some answers then the decision to re-schedule it can proceed. Meanwhile, federal law enforcement and prosecutors have been forced to walk the tightrope on enforcement particularly in states where its use is otherwise legal.

But I thought DEA whiffed it on the hemp decision. For those unfamiliar with hemp, it is a variety of Cannabis Sativa L and so, even though it has miniscule amounts of the psychoactive THC (below .3%), it was swept up by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Thus came the end of a long history of promising and profitable commercial and agricultural uses.

La_Roche_Jagu_chanvre_1

Versatile Hemp

Hemp was used in the Neolithic Age in China to make paper more than 10,000 years ago. Its hardy nature and versatility spread its cultivation until it became one of the most produced agricultural plants in the world. Its uses ranged widely from ropes on ships, clothing, food, and dozens of other products. It is claimed that Columbus’s ships’ riggings, the Gutenberg Bible, the paper on which the Declaration of Independence was written, and the first American flag were all made of hemp products. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were hemp farmers.

During World War II hemp was used to make uniforms and for other military products. The government considered it so important to the war effort that it produced a film entitled “Hemp for Victory” in 1942. Some irony there.

Today, 30 countries in the world still allow industrial hemp cultivation, and some, like France, Great Britain and Canada, report that in the last two decades it has made a resurgence and that today’s hemp economy has increased by several times. Canadian farmers in particular would be unhappy if their southern neighbor lifted its prohibition. Hemp enthusiasts today claim that the product has an unlimited economic future. With climate change assaulting farmers all over the world, crop versatility becomes increasingly important to their futures as well.

Read more »

Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association ‘Astounded’ That NFL Has Rejected Decal to Commemorate Dallas Cop Killings

dallas-cowboys

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association issued a statement Monday saying it was “astounded” that the National Football League has rejected its request that the Dallas Cowboys football team wear commemorative decals on helmets to honor the five Dallas police officers killed by a sniper in July.

The Association says that the NFL denied the request because of a policy regarding uniform regulations. Dallas Cowboy executive vice president Stephen Jones told Sports Day that he respects the NFL’s decision.

“Everyone has to be uniform with the league and the other 31 teams,” Jones said.

The associations’ national President Nathan Catura is asking the NFL to reconsider.

In a statement, Catura said:

“When the Dallas Cowboys opened their training camp by walking arm-in-arm with members of the slain Dallas police officers’ families, FLEOA’s membership was overwhelmed with pride.

“We did not think we could be more grateful for this outpouring of appreciation for our men and women in uniform until we learned that the Cowboys wished to further commemorate the sacrifice of the five Dallas police heroes by displaying an “Arm in Arm” decal on the helmets of ‘America’s Team.’

“However, we were astounded to find that the NFL denied permission for this important gesture. In the past, the NFL has allowed exceptions to their strict uniform rules to bring attention to breast cancer prevention and national memorials.

“The Dallas Cowboys represent both a community that these officers sacrificed to serve and a team they loved, and for that reason this humble request deserves the approval of the NFL.  Our members and the hundreds of thousands of law enforcement officers across the country are calling on you, Commissioner Goodell, to do the right thing.”

 

FBI to Disclose Interview Notes with Hillary Clinton to Congress

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI plans to turn over notes from its interview with Hillary Clinton to members of Congress as early as today.

The FBI said there is no transcript of the three-and-a-half hour interview, the New York Post reports. 

Clinton was interviewed during the Fourth of July weekend about her role in sending and receiving classified information from her private email server.

Comey earlier told Congress that there’s “no basis to conclude she lied to the FBI” during the interview.

Unreasonable Police Searches Are Illegal And Happen Far Too Often

police lightsBy Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune

The most memorable moment of the recent Democratic National Convention was when the father of a Muslim U.S. Army captain killed in Iraq demanded of Donald Trump, “Have you even read the United States Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy.” Conservatives, however, also revere our founding document. At the first tea party rallies in 2009, attendees waved copies.

But the Constitution is not self-enforcing, and one important section has eroded to the point of invisibility: the Fourth Amendment. It says, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.” In much of America, that guarantee is an empty promise.

The latest evidence came in a report on police practices in Baltimore, issued Aug. 10 by the U.S. Department of Justice after an investigation spurred by the 2015 death of Freddie Gray. It documents that the city’s law enforcement officers operate with virtually no regard for the Fourth Amendment.

In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that cops may stop someone when they have reasonable grounds to suspect criminal activity and, if they have reasonable grounds to think the person is armed, may frisk him lightly to detect weapons. They may not stop anyone they please, and they may not vigorously search a citizen’s clothing and body without a good reason.

The court intended to empower police only within strict limits. It emphasized, “No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law, than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.”

But the Justice Department found that in Baltimore, police routinely stop people on the street without reasonable suspicion, conduct physical searches that lack adequate grounds and exceed legal limits, and arrest people without justification. Each of these practices is more than a mistake: It is a violation of fundamental liberties at the heart of what it means to be an American.

To read more click here. 

Illegal Immigration This Year Already Exceeds Totals from Last Year

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of undocumented immigrants sneaking into the U.S. this year has already surpassed 2015 with two months until the fiscal year ends, the Washington Times reports. 

During the first 10 months of the fiscal year, more than 332,000 people were caught at the border, exceeding last year’s numbers.

Federal authorities report a renewed interest in crossing the border, especially among children and families from Central America. The increase apparently has been spurred by violence at home and hopes of being granted amnesty.

“Overall apprehensions by the Border Patrol in July along our southwest border — an indicator of total attempts to cross the border illegally — fell during the month of July, although apprehensions of unaccompanied children and family units increased somewhat from June. These trends are generally in line with seasonal patterns we have observed in previous years,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Homeland Security agency that oversees the Border Patrol, said in releasing the numbers.

DEA’s Catch-22 on Marijuana Makes Reclassification Nearly Impossible

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Editorial Board
The Register Guard

The Drug Enforcement Agency has rejected petitions to remove marijuana from its list of Schedule 1 drugs — those with a high potential for abuse, and lacking any recognized medical uses. It’s laughable — and, for those whose lives have been ruined by a small-time marijuana arrest, tragic — that pot should remain in the same category as heroin and LSD. But simultaneously with the DEA’s announcement, the Obama administration said last week it would lift roadblocks to research that could lead to a more rational approach toward marijuana.

The DEA based its decision on the fact that the Food and Drug Administration has not determined that marijuana is “a safe and effective medicine.” One reason the FDA had made no such determination is that the Schedule 1 classification stands in the way of marijuana research. It’s a Catch 22: Marijuana’s status as a drug with no beneficial uses blocks study of uses that might be beneficial.

The Obama administration’s new policy will lift one of the primary barriers to research. Currently, the FDA recognizes only federally approved research studies, and those must obtain marijuana from a federally approved source. Only one such source exists: The University of Mississippi is the sole supplier of marijuana for medical studies. Obtaining marijuana from that source can take years, applications are often denied, and some types of marijuana — including those with high concentrations of one of the drug’s active compounds, THC — are not available. The Obama administration will increase the number of research universities licensed to supply marijuana by a yet-unspecified number.

To read more click here.