February 10th, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director
Reporter Mike Riggs at The Daily Callerhas an important story online today revealing how U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officials are making plans to reschedule natural THC under federal law.
Under the plan, THC derived from the marijuana plant would be classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, while the plant itself would remain classified as a Schedule I illegal drug. Sound fishy? It is.
As a DEA spokesperson quoted in the story explains, “THC, natural or synthetic, remains a schedule I controlled substance. Under the proposed rule, in those instances in the future where FDA might approve a generic version of Marinol, that version of the drug will be in the same schedule as the brand name version of the drug,regardless of whether the THC used in the generic version was synthesized by man or derived from the cannabis plant.”
So, in other words, if a pharmaceutical product contains THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that would be a legal commodity. But if you or I possessed THC extracted from the marijuana plant, that an remains illegal commodity.
Wait, it gets even more absurd.
Since the cannabis plant itself will remain illegal under federal law, then from whom precisely could Big Pharma legally obtain their soon-to-be legal THC extracts? There’s only one answer: The federal government’s lone legally licensed marijuana cultivator, The University of Mississippi at Oxford, which already has the licensing agreements with the pharmaceutical industry in hand.
In other words, THC in plant form or as an extract, will still be illegal. What won’t be illegal is if a pharmaceutical company buys THC from a government-licensed provider, puts it in a pill, receives the DEA’s stamp of approval, and sells it a price that will likely be far higher than the price of marijuana.
Armentano said such circular reasoning is a product of decades of hostility towards marijuana research.
“This is the insane rationale necessary for banning medical marijuana,” he said. “Take away the prohibition and the political elements, and you would never have the stretching of logic necessary to pass organic THC but only if it mimics Marinol.”
Expect the DEA’s ’stretching of logic’ to become even more absurd in the future.
You can read the entire Daily Caller story, “Is the DEA legalizing THC?,”here.