Our nation controls potentially dangerous drugs in a variety of ways, either through direct regulation, as with alcohol and tobacco, or by placing them on particular lists, also called schedules.
The government’s “Schedule I” designation is the most restrictive classification for controlled substances, reserved for the most dangerous, most addictive drugs with no medical value. Heroin and PCP are Schedule I drugs, and despite an overwhelming body of scientific evidence supporting its medical value and safety, so is marijuana.
Marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug is the result of politics and ignorance rather than science. In the coming weeks and months, New Jersey has a historic opportunity to become one of the first states to actively “deschedule” this oft-maligned and misunderstood plant.
Last year, Judge Michael Guadagno ruled that the state must reconsider the Schedule I status of cannabis in New Jersey. This decision was referred to the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA), which oversees the New Jersey Drug Control Unit (DCU). The DCA and DCU have decision-making authority over the scheduling of drugs in New Jersey, and they are now free to reschedule or even deschedule marijuana.