Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Will Big Pharma, and "the Impact of Marijuana Pharmaceuticals," determine the future of marijuana reform?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this new paper available via SSRN. The short piece is by John Robert Alfino and it is titled "The Impact of Marijuana Pharmaceuticals." Here is the abstract:

The FDA will soon approve Sativex, the first marijuana-based pharmaceutical. Sativex is a tipping point in the marijuana law and the politics of strict prohibition. The reclassification of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act is in the financial interests of the American pharmaceutical industry. The availability of marijuana-based, or synthetic cannabinoid-based, pharmaceuticals will change the politics of marijuana prohibition.

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No. The goal of marijuana law reform is for marijuana to be put onto the same legal footing as alcoholic beverages. The goal is not to make big pharmaceutical companies $Billions selling "marijuana pills" to patients while at the same time they're arrested for growing and possessing marijuana in its natural form. That would be like legalizing vitamin-C pills while criminalizing oranges!

And it's hard to imagine another product where its legality changes based on the purpose that its lawful owners put it to. Once we purchase a product we are free to use it for whatever reason we want - we are not arrested for choosing to use it for some purposes while ignored for choosing to use it for others. Why should marijuana be any different?

Sativex is an example of a group of people trying to profit from the marijuana prohibition, it is *not* an indication of the demise of the prohibition. The DEA has no problem taking a schizoid position where it keeps natural marijuana 100% illegal while at the same time allowing an extract of natural marijuana to be legal if produced by big pharmaceutical companies and sold to patients in pill form.

Marijuana is a significantly less-harmful and less-addictive alternative to alcohol and we could prevent a lot of the harm that alcohol causes by giving people the right to choose marijuana instead of alcohol. I believe that it is our duty to make this happen.

Posted by: Jillian Galloway | Sep 16, 2013 3:21:37 AM

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