Thursday, April 15, 2021
Uncategorized Ask the Bud Man: Can Eric Holder change the...

Ask the Bud Man: Can Eric Holder change the pot laws?


Editor’s note: Ngaio Bealum writes on medical (and, well, not-so-medical) marijuana issues, and his column will be appearing weekly at You can post questions in the comments section and he’ll try to answer them in future columns.

Hi, Ngaio. Did I hear that right? Could The Department of Justice really reschedule marijuana? I thought you needed an act of Congress…

 Medical Mary

You heard it right.

According to the Controlled Substances Act, the US Attorney General has the power to “remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.”

48hillsngaioThe DEA has marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug, and according the agency, “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Classifying weed as a Schedule 1 drug is hogwash. We all know that marijuana has been used as a medicine for hundreds of years. We also know that marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, nicotine or caffeine.  There is no reason for marijuana to be classified in the same category as heroin, methaqualone (quaaludes, for all the old-timers out there), LSD, MDMA, and peyote. I would even make an argument for peyote and MDMA(ecstasy)  being removed from the schedule as well, but that’s a discussion for a different column.  Using the DEA’s own definition, it’s clear that marijuana doesn’t belong in the Schedule 1 class and should be rescheduled or even removed from the drug list completely.

And if Attorney General Eric Holder has the power to do it, why hasn’t he done it already?

There are a few reasons: Changing marijuana’s status on the drug schedule would not make weed legal. There are way too many federal and state laws that explicitly ban cannabis.

It would also open up a political shitstorm. All the drug prohibitionists will start with the wailing and the screaming and the gnashing of the teeth, and why would AG Eric “Fast and Furious” Holder want to go through that?

So why should Holder make the bold move of rescheduling marijuana? Because science. Right now, it is virtually impossible for American scientists to do any research on the medicinal uses of cannabis. Every time someone proposes a study, the DEA argues against it. And even when scientists manage to get an experiment approved, they have to talk the NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) into giving them cannabis to use for the experiment, since the NIDA is the only agency authorized to grow cannabis for research. The NIDA hates marijuana, and grows terrible weed. They also hardly ever let anyone do cannabis research, unless the research is an attempt to show how harmful marijuana is. It’s a big ol’ loop of governmental BS.

But who knows what may happen? Recently, Holder has let it be known that he is willing to talk to Congress about rescheduling pot. This comes on the hills of several Congressmembers from Washington and Colorado asking for the DOJ to take a fresh look at marijuana’s status in the drug schedule. I still feel like the Obama administration will take even more steps toward legalizing weed by the end of 2016, but to make sure it happens, we have to keep the pressure on our politicians to wake up and do the right thing.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.


  1. Ngaio, would appreciate your comments on my opinion.
    “Legalisation” is simply putting lipstick on the pig of prohibition. We are already, as predicted, seeing the immediate and future disastrous results of ‘marijuana’ legislation in Canada, Washington and Colorado. Increased government control and bureaucracies; enhanced law enforcement; restriction of individual rights and freedoms; corporate controls and eventual monopolies – LittlePharma now with BigPharma waiting in the wings; hype and pyramid schemes marketing marginally effective snake oils; restricted consumer choice and access; increased consumer costs….ad nauseam.
    MCLRA.2014 is an abomination which will only deepen the nightmare scenario. If it is enacted it will be virtually impossible to ‘improve’ it. The ‘legislators’ and profiteers will not surrender any of their power, control or market share. The only safe and sane approach is to repeal all cannabis prohibitions; regulate for consumer and environmental safety and protection; free all POW’s.
    CCHI.2014 (now 2016) appears to come closest to achieving these goals. We have survived for 80 years under the current system imposed and perpetuated by the Oil, Timber and Pharmaceutical interests, we can wait a couple more in order to get it right.
    Just my 2c.
    Patrick Monk. RN Hospice Case Manager. SF. Ca.
    *Society of Cannabis Clinicians.
    *American CannabisNurses Association.
    **Identification only.

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