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Group Calls for Change in Pot Designation

This article originally was written on Focus on the Family (CitizenLink.org) 2005

Protesters want the government to stop calling marijuana a ‘dangerous drug’

Americans for Safe Access protested in seven U.S. cities on Wednesday, calling for the Department of Health and Human Services to no longer designate marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug—those that are most restricted—or else it will sue 30 days from now.

Twenty-five protesters showed up for the Washington, D.C., rally while 200 gathered in San Francisco. Rallies were also held in Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City and Seattle.

Hilary McQuie, communications consultant with Americans for Safe Access, explained the group’s rationale for the proposed change.  “Schedule 1 is reserved for drugs that are addictive, highly dangerous and have no medical use,” she said. But, she added, “Addictive, highly dangerous with no medical use does not describe marijuana at all.”

McQuie would like to see marijuana reclassified as a Schedule 5 drug, which means most doctors could prescribe it.  Tom Riley, with the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said there’s good reason for the government to keep marijuana in a dangerous category.

“Marijuana is a much more dangerous drug than most people realize,” he said. “It’s implicated in a vast number of psychological problems and health problems. It’s involved in accidents.”

Dr. Karl Benzio, with the Christian Medical Association, told Family News in Focus he also opposes any change.

“I would advocate for no move, to keep it a Schedule 1 so that we don’t start that slippery slope process it can get to,” he said. “Marijuana is still a very dangerous drug. It is the gateway drug to many other forms of drug use.”

In Washington, the protesters delivered a letter to Michael Leavitt, the head of HHS, asking him to lift restrictions on marijuana.

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