Group 5 The DEA quietly attempts to criminilize CBD earlier this week. It is incredibly important that this is not allowed to happen. CBD is a medicine that many people rely on. This is a real issue and it effects us all. This is about medicine, freedom and control. The DEA’s Foolish Fight Against CBD Despite the fact that many states throughout the US have finally “woken up” and made marijuana and its extracts legal for medical use, cannabis’s status federally still means that the US government at large sees the plant as “illegal”. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has chosen to tighten the screw rather than relieve the tension between state and federal law by making marijuana’s extremely helpful extracts – most notably CBD oil – illegal and making it a Schedule I drug. Almost everyone throughout the marijuana community, medical or otherwise, is understandably shocked at such news. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive effect for the majority of people, and its applications for conditions like epilepsy, muscle spasms and pain is pretty much scientific fact at this point. Furthermore, the ability for the DEA to include new codes in order to include products under other, already existing codes and laws sets a scary precedent and directly impacts scientific research. So, why has the DEA decided to take such a short-sighted view? There are several reasons, but the main one seems obvious: money. Researchers have to apply for a license in order to work with marijuana and, by including CBD and other cannabinoids under the current Controlled Substances Act, money must be paid to central government in order for scientists and doctors to carry out their work. The other, perhaps more pernicious reason is control. The DEA pretty much admits as such, as stated by DEA spokesman Russel Bair in a VICE News article: “The purpose is to drill down and get more accurate information about research that’s being conducted with CBD in particular.” Effectively, the DEA seems to be saying, “It doesn’t matter whether or not marijuana and its extracts has proven medical use – we will treat it as a Schedule I drug.” How and why can a plant with so many benefits to health and well-being be considered a “drug with no medical applications”? For all intents and purposes, the DEA are pursuing a very anti-scientific agenda. The third reason for the DEA’s current stance on marijuana is effectively to keep jobs. Let’s face it: jailing small-time marijuana growers is a lot easier than tackling violent cocaine and heroin kingpins, and there’s not going to be much that keeps a number-chaser happier than an easy bust. Of course, it’s not just amongst law and enforcement agencies that jobs will be kept. Politicians with an interest in looking “tough on drugs and crime” for the sake of votes will want to keep up appearances. There are also likely to be vested interests in the pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco agencies – all of whom would most likely want to see the proliferation of marijuana restricted. After all, why go to a shop or pharmacist to get your highly addictive prescription drug, when you can easily grow your own medicine at home? Regardless of the DEA’s attitude towards marijuana, it must be noted that the cat is essentially out of the bag. People US- and worldwide are starting to see marijuana as a unique substance with lots of medical applications. Pretty soon, state and federal laws will in no way reflect the attitude or will of the people, and officials will either have to change stance or lose the faith of the people. The law will not be able to keep up appearances. The fight to take CBD off the list of scheduled drugs is just one step towards a more just, rational and scientifically-informed government. In the meantime, we recommend you write constructively angry letters to your local politicians in order to put pressure on the DEA and get their position to change and arbitrary laws quashed.