Church, Federal Government Oppose Drug Legalization

Today it was announced:

Marijuana will remain a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Substances in Schedule 1 are determined by the Food and Drug Administration to have no medical use. States that allow marijuana for medical use or legalize recreational use remain in defiance of federal law.

The announcement to be published Friday in the Federal Register relaxes the rules for marijuana research to make it easier for institutions to grow marijuana for scientific study. The DEA currently authorizes just one grow facility in Mississippi.

In reaching its conclusion, the DEA said a Health and Human Services evaluation shows marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because “the drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.”

“There is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder,” the report added….

On other points, the DEA report noted marijuana has a “high potential” for abuse and can result in psychological dependence. It said around 19 million individuals in the U.S. used marijuana monthly in 2012 and that contemporaneous studies showed around 4.3 million individuals met diagnostic criteria for marijuana dependence.

In April, the Holy See reiterated its firm stance against the legalization of recreational drugs, including marijuana, while rejecting an excessively punitive approach to drug use that undermines rehabilitation:

The Holy See firmly rejects the use of illegal drugs and the legalization of the use of narcotics. In his Address to the Thirty-first Edition of the International Drug Enforcement Conference, Pope Francis affirmed that “a reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use; rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future.” For the Holy See “attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called recreational drugs are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint but they fail to produce the desired effect.”

In addition, His Holiness insisted that “the fight against drugs cannot be won with drugs. Drugs are an evil, and with evil there can be neither surrender nor compromise.” In saying “no to every type of drug use,” we must at the same time “say ‘yes’ to life, ‘yes’ to love, ‘yes’ to others, ‘yes’ to education, ‘yes’ to greater job opportunities. If we say ‘yes’ to all these things, there will be no room for illicit drugs, for alcohol abuse, for other forms of addiction.”…

Not all crimes related to illicit drugs are of equal gravity. International drug traffickers, local pushers and drug users have to be treated differently according to the principle of proportionality. Disproportionate responses would be against the spirit of justice, and would not help in the rehabilitation of those who have become addicted to illicit drugs.

The drug problem and its related evils transcend borders and affect citizens worldwide. Hence international cooperation towards an integrated and balanced strategy is required in order to counter them. The most basic understanding of human dignity compels the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to protect all citizens of the world from the scourge of illicit drugs.