Letter to DEA and DOJ opposes rescheduling cannabis

A national group of 104 parents and victims wrote to the DEA Administrator and the Attorney General, asking that cannabis not be rescheduled. The greatest number of people signing the letter were in California and Colorado; many asked to sign the letter after it had been mailed on December 2nd.  (A bipartisan group of former states attorneys also sent separately a letter to the DEA and DOJ; SAM put out a press release about the letter.)   Here’s the content of the letter:

Administrator Anne Milgram
Drug Enforcement Agency
8701 Morrissette Drive
Springfield, VA 22152

Honorable Merrick Garland                                                                                         US Department of Justice                                                                                         950 Pennsylvania Avenue                                                                                 Washington, DC 20530 – 0001

Dear Attorney General Garland and Administrator Milgram:

Everyone signing onto this letter has a personal or familial story of permanent damage caused by cannabis (marijuana). For some of us, a loved one died as a direct result of cannabis use. For others, cannabis brought unfathomable damage to mental or physical health. Others were in car crashes caused by THC. For most of us, it was because of the industrial strength pot of today, but we include on this list those harmed by the old-fashioned marijuana of the 20th century. Besides those who lost their lives, there are those living with chronic conditions like permanent Cannabis-Induced Psychosis (Schizophrenia) or Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome.

We are Victims of Marijuana even if we did not die from it. We also speak for victims who find speaking out on these issues is too painful.  A small number of the signatories have children who died from fentanyl or another drug, but blame marijuana for starting the loved one on drug use and/or addiction.

Dr. Martien Kooyman of the Netherlands vehemently stated in 2014 that cannabis cannot be labeled a ‘soft’ drug, and that there is no justification to have different laws for cannabis than for other drugs labeled as ‘hard.’ At the World Federation Against Drugs meeting in Sweden, Kooyman said: “The damage done from chronic use (of marijuana) is worse than the damage done from chronic use of heroin.”

The duty of the federal government is to protect its citizens. For that reason, the DOJ and DEA must not reschedule marijuana. The reasons marijuana was made a Schedule I drug, in the first place, are manifold, and it was a wise decision. You’ll recall that between 1979 and 1992 youth drug use was brought down from a high of 39% to 14%. The current addiction epidemic began when the US allowed the widespread prescribing of opiates and when California introduced ‘medical’ marijuana in 1996. It is a fraud for any cannabis shop to be called a ‘dispensary.’

An ever-growing number of people are in our club of those with family members harmed by cannabis. We are ridiculed and shamed by cannabis advocates, even when our children die. The pain of families who lose a child because of cannabis is no less severe than the pain of those who died from fentanyl, heroin, or other drugs. Why are we tossed aside and disregarded?

Please note –

  • Middle-class and low-income families can’t afford multiple addiction treatment services, and they often go through bankruptcy or lose homes paying for medical care of their pot-using children.
  • The Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome Facebook group now has 23,700 members. A recent report shows that nearly 100 people have died from CHS.
  • The cost of treating schizophrenia (30% of all cases could be avoided by not using cannabis, according to a recent long-term study) is upward of $100,000 a year, whether paid by the families, insurance, or Medicaid.
  • About half the people with Schizophrenia or Bipolar I don’t comply with treatment, a situation made worse by cannabis legalization, which can lead to violence and danger to the public.
  • Marijuana use is associated with suicidality in multiple studies. It is known to trigger suicidal ideation in people who were not suicidal prior to the start of marijuana use.
  • The homelessness situation grew exponentially with legalization; some of us have family members who prefer living on the streets so they can use drugs without anyone stopping them.
  • A state’s percentage of traffic fatalities involving cannabis grows to about 37%, as it is in Illinois, up from 24% prior to legalization and 16% before decriminalization. Colorado also has about 37% of its traffic deaths involving a driver using marijuana, a statistic which appears to be the norm in states with legal cannabis.
  • Widespread allergic reactions to THC and cannabinoids, plus secondhand smoke which is harming children in homes, apartments, public housing and goes against Clean Air laws!

Please do not throw us to the wind just because of the fancy marketing/public relations game of the marijuana activists, the willful ignorance of the Press, and political donations. Remember, we are not simply against marijuana; we are direct victims of marijuana.

We beg you to adhere to SCIENCE and not politics — Do not reschedule marijuana!   

Very truly yours,

Co-signed by individuals and families of diverse ethnic, political, and religious backgrounds, 81% of whom live in states where marijuana is legal for recreational use: