Senator Perry B. Clark ( D-Louisville) is scheduled to hold a press conference at 2pm EDT on Thursday, July 5 to introduce the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, which would make marijuana a Schedule II drug within Kentucky so doctors can legally prescribe it under state law.
On the federal level, marijuana can be rescheduled out of Schedule I legislatively through Congress or through the executive branch, such as Tommy Chong described in a recent June interview on Fox.
- Schedule I drugs, such as heroin, are deemed highly addictive and lack legitimate medical use, so doctors can’t legally prescribe them under federal law.
- Schedule II drugs, such as cocaine, still have a high potential for abuse, but they have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
Whereas even deeming cannabis as a Schedule II drug is still a slap in the face since it is not highly likely to create psychological or physical dependence and being lower on the Schedule is more accurate, being rescheduled to Schedule II on the federal level would be a huge win. As a Schedule II drug, doctors could legally prescribe marijuana under federal law. This is absolutely not full recreational legalization, but this would be a monumental advance in the 75 year war against federal prohibition!
In June 2010, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy reclassified marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug, making it the first American state to classify marijuana outside of Schedule I drug. However without the federal government making this distinction, Oregon doctors are still violating federal law. Only a rescheduling of marijuana at the federal level ultimately matters, but the more states that follow Oregon’s lead could help create additional pressure for the federal government to follow suit. However between rumors of Obama needing to reschedule to win the election or a dark horse candidate like Gary Johnson winning, we have a couple shorter-term lotto tickets to victory. Worst case the slow and steady path to victory shall be punishing prohibitionist politicians at the polls and watch as more states adopt sensible marijuana laws until it’s truly too big for the federal government to fight any longer.
Parting piece of trivia: The United States federal government holds a “medical patent” for all cannabinoids – a patent which it has held since 2003.