November 8, 2022
Throughout this year we have given you some basic information on THC products, policies, and protections. There is much to know about THC. We have discussed many topics, including vaping, edibles, concentrates, and hemp-derived psychoactive products, in our last 10 issues, which are available on our website. If you have been following this series, you know more than a large number of elected officials and you now have the tools to help educate others. In this issue, we have a few more facts that will be helpful to the conversation. At the bottom of this email, we have also included other great resources.
Why it Matters:
Knowledge gives you the power to make change.
Today is election day and, as always, there are important decisions to be made. Your voice remains important and will continue to be as the marijuana industry continues to expand commercialization into everyday life that impacts our roads, schools, businesses, and homes.
What you need to know:
What is a Schedule 1 drug?
Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance according to the DEA’s Drug Schedule. Substances are categorized based on the abuse or dependence potential with the main difference between a schedule l and schedule ll substance being that the latter has an accepted medical use. Of the remaining levels, abuse and dependence potential is less with the higher schedule number. Below are some examples of controlled substances.
- Schedule 1: marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, peyote, and psilocybin (magic mushrooms)
- Schedule 2: cocaine, meth, oxycodone, fentanyl, Adderall, Ritalin, and Vicodin
- Schedule 3: Tylenol with codeine, ketamine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone
- Schedule 4: Xanax, Soma, Darvocet, Valium, and Ambien
- Schedule 5: Robitussin AC, Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, and Parepectolin
Changing marijuana to a schedule ll substance would push oversight to the FDA allowing pharmaceutical companies to research and sell FDA-approved products in pharmacies. It is easy to see where the industry would prefer de-scheduling rather than re-scheduling to a lower level. De-scheduling would avoid some FDA oversight, similar to tobacco and alcohol.
We occasionally hear the argument, why shouldn’t 18-year-olds be able to legally use? They can be drafted, sign contracts, vote and are considered an adult in many situations.
Our young adults are smart and should be allowed to start making decisions and engaging in actions that will affect their lives, but we still have an obligation to protect them from harm wherever possible. The age restrictions for marijuana use by 18 to 20-year-olds are based on today's science which shows the later the initiation of use, the less likely they are to suffer the negative consequences of marijuana use. The same is true for similar restrictions on other addictive substances.
The Minimum Legal Drinking Age (MLDA) Act passed in 1984 established 21 as the legal drinking age in the US. Before the MLDA the legal age varied from state to state. States complied with the law largely because federal funds could be withheld from those states that did not comply.
From the CDC: The MLDA of 21 saves lives and improves health. Following the implementation of the MLDA:
- States saw a 16% median decline in motor vehicle crashes.
- Drinking during the previous month among persons aged 18-20 years declined from 59% in 1985 to 40% in 1991.
- Drinking among people aged 21-25 declined from 70% in 1985 to 56% in 1991.
- There is also evidence that the age 21 MLDA protects drinkers from alcohol and other drug dependence, adverse birth outcomes, and suicide and homicide.
In 2019, the federal minimum age for the sale of tobacco and nicotine products was raised from 18 to 21 to protect young adults from negative health effects and addiction. Unfortunately, this legislation passed in large part due to the explosion in youth nicotine vaping, resulting from the rise of flavored nicotine vapor products.
With today's expanded knowledge of how the brain develops, we know that THC can have detrimental effects on the developing brain for those under the age of 25
Why local control?
The primary Federal law governing alcohol policy is the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed national prohibition in 1933. The 21st Amendment allows prohibition to be maintained at state and local levels by allowing local control over the sale, distribution, and possession of alcohol.
Local control of marijuana policy is also important for our communities that do not want to participate in the commercialization of marijuana.
The Denver 2019 Child Well-Being Index overlapped with Marijuana licenses shows overwhelmingly that marijuana locations disproportionately saturate the “Areas with Multiple Obstacles to Success” as opposed to those “Areas with Fewer Obstacles to Success”. This outcome potentially repeats in several large and lower-income communities throughout the US, reinforcing the need for local control.