Surgeon General Says Cannabis Needs To Be Rescheduled For Research

By Benjie Cooper

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In 1982, United States Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop called marijuana a major public health problem, and urged physicians to discourage patients from using it, saying that its psychological and biological effects could be harmful.

The former Surgeon General’s statement came only weeks after the White House had rejected a report by the National Academy of Sciences urging cannabis decriminalization.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams

But in 2018, the current Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, says that cannabis needs to be rescheduled to facilitate more research.

“Just as we need to look at criminal justice laws, rules and regulations, we need to look at health laws, rules and regulations,” said Adams. “And that includes the scheduling system.”

Speaking at a Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative conference in Boston on Thursday, Adams encouraged a reexamination of health policies, criminal justice, and how the scheduling system classifies various drugs.

“I’ll take it somewhere else; marijuana,” said Adams. “We need to look at the way we schedule different medications across the board, because one of the concerns that I have with marijuana is the difficulty that folks have to do research on it, because of the scheduling system.”

Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning that it is deemed to have no currently-accepted medicinal use and a high chance of abuse. Heroin, bath salts, and fentanyl-related substances are also listed in the same category.

Jerome Adams Image: U.S. Health Service