One of the most puzzling aspects of ongoing marijuana prohibition has been the ability of the government to preserve clear falsehoods within the Controlled Substances Act. Even with our limited access to peer-reviewed studies on the plant, we know that many of the risk factors initially associated with marijuana use are baseless.
Marijuana legalization advocacy group Americans for Safe Access were fed up with the hypocritical handling of cannabis and are taking a stand, but they need your help. The group started a petition that they hope will force the DEA to tell the truth about cannabis so that those in need may finally get legal access. Organizers hope to gather over 100,000 signatures, at which point the petition will be delivered to President Obama in the hope that he will force the DEA to take corrective action.
According to the Information Quality Act, it is against the law for a government agency to knowingly and purposefully disseminate false information to the public. The ASA petition argues that the DEA has been doing just that by continuing to hold fast in their claims that cannabis has addictive properties and zero medicinal value. By allowing these false claims to remain on the books, politicians are able to use the plant’s CSA designation as a reason to shoot down new reform.
The Change.org petition accompanies a legal request filed by Americans for Safe Access last month with the Justice Department in hopes of forcing the DEA to correct their outdated and disproven information. Specifically, ASA wants the DEA to stop calling cannabis a “gateway drug” and a causing factor for long-term brain damage. The filing also demands that all future legislation and publicly available information about cannabis reflect the most recently available research data and medical information.
“The DEA has actually admitted that cannabis is not a gateway drug and does not cause long-term brain damage, psychosis, and other alleged harms, yet they keep distributing this false information anyway, despite the reality these claims are not based on scientific fact,” explained Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs for ASA. “It’s illegal for the government to disseminate inaccurate information and the DEA must be held accountable. This misinformation hurts the millions of medical cannabis patients in the 29 states where cannabis treatment is legal, as well as patients in other states who are working to pass laws, for whom safe and reliable access to marijuana is a matter of necessity.”
The timing of the petition and legal filing are no coincidence, as the nation recently watched Senator Jeff Sessions begin the confirmation process for his Attorney General appointment. The Alabama Senator has a strong record when it comes to opposing marijuana, even claiming at one point in his career, “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” Advocates for cannabis know that the next legislative session is a crucial one for the advancement of legalization efforts, and they want these important decisions made based on real scientific data rather than archaic opinions.
If you would like to see the government make informed decisions about cannabis, sign the ASA petition here. You can also read the legal motion filed by ASA here, including pages 6-12 that spell out in detail each false claim the government has made about marijuana with regards to mental illness and the “gateway” theory.