Better legalize marijuana soon, for pharmaceuticalization is coming

This is where medical marijuana is heading. (Photo: Conselleria de Sanitat)

I have long predicted that the federal government will soon recognize that they can no longer maintain the Schedule I lie about cannabis.  By ever-increasing numbers people are recognizing that contrary to Schedule I, marijuana has amazing medical benefits.  The growing awareness of marijuana’s relative safety has us at a place where there are more people who think marijuana is safer than alcohol and ought to be legalized than people who support continuing prohibition.

So if your goal is to keep marijuana illegal and lock people up for it, you have to diminish the power of people’s compassion for the sick and disabled to use marijuana.  What better way to do that than to create cannabinoid-based pharmaceuticals that provide all the medical potential of the plant?  Patients get the medicine they need and they get it in what would be federally-legal in every state.  They’d likely get it paid for through their health insurance at costs below that of $15/gram dispensary cannabis.  Then the only fight left for patients would be access to plant cannabis, which the government would still deny for fear of “fungible” medical cannabis ending up in the hands of the recreational users.

Medical marijuana supporters, this is the future that waits.  The time to fight for full legalization for all uses is now… or soon the most sympathetic cases for marijuana use will be removed from the fight and it will only be about “stoners trying to get high”.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A quarter-century after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first prescription drugs based on the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, additional medicines derived from or inspired by the cannabis plant itself could soon be making their way to pharmacy shelves, according to drug companies, small biotech firms and university scientists.

A British company, GW Pharma, is in advanced clinical trials for the world’s first pharmaceutical developed from raw marijuana instead of synthetic equivalents— a mouth spray it hopes to market in the U.S. as a treatment for cancer pain. And it hopes to see FDA approval by the end of 2013.

Opponents and supporters of crude marijuana’s effectiveness generally agree that more research is needed. And marijuana advocates fear that the government will use any new prescription products to justify a continued prohibition on marijuana use.

“To the extent that companies can produce effective medication that utilizes the components of the plant, that’s great. But that should not be the exclusive access for people who want to be able to use medical marijuana,” Americans for Safe Access spokesman Kris Hermes said. “That’s the race against time, in terms of how quickly can we put pressure on the federal government to recognize the plant has medical use versus the government coming out with the magic bullet pharmaceutical pill.”

Kris, the government does recognize the medical use of the plant.  Despite their public pronouncements, the officials involved can see with their own two eyes the multiple sclerosis patient whose tremors quiet, the chemo patient who stops puking, and the glaucoma patient who can still see after smoking a joint – that’s why they’re moving forward on cannabinoid drug development.  The government already grows and distributes this plant for its medical value to four remaining patients on the Investigational New Drug program.  The reason the government still bans its medical use as a plant is because the government also recognizes its recreational use as a plant.

Until that recreational use is made legal, the government will always oppose the medical use of raw plant cannabis.  The fight for complete marijuana legalization IS the issue of medical marijuana now.

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