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Would reclassifying marijuana for medical use help control it?

Marijuana is one of the first "controlled substance" drugs that children and others are warned about, and it is often glorified through various "party" movies. However, for many people marijuana isn't just for fun. It is used for medicinal purposes in many states and many swear by its ability to reduce pain.

Still, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.) classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug along with such substances as heroin. Colorado legislators are asking to change this by giving medical marijuana a Schedule 2 designation. If this is agreed to, doctors will be able to prescribe marijuana to their patients and it will be able to be distributed by pharmacies.

While some are concerned that giving medical marijuana a Schedule 2 classification will increase recreational use and misuse of marijuana, the bigger issue may be that those who are legitimate candidates are already suffering from painful conditions and must jump through unnecessary hoops to get the treatment they need. In many states doctors can "recommend" medical marijuana which means it must be obtained through regulated dispensaries or grown by the patient. In many cases, otherwise law abiding citizens may feel pressured into obtaining marijuana illegally in order to treat their condition.

Proponents of reclassifying marijuana to allow doctors to prescribe it and let it be distributed in pharmacies disagree that the classification would cause misuse. In fact, they claim the opposite is true, and that regulating it in a way akin to prescription painkillers would assure proper tracking as well as the better quality of the substance. Chances are marijuana is something recreational users will always be able to find, but that doesn't negate the real medicinal value it has been shown to have.

Source

Associated Press: "Colorado becomes third state to ask DEA to reclassify pot," Kristen Wyatt, Dec. 28, 2011

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