Time Magazine and Think Progress both reported on August 11, 2016 that Secretary Clinton’s campaign has pledged to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act. Will she really do it? It’s hard to say for sure. Clinton shifted some of her policies closer to Bernie Sanders’s positions during the primary campaign:
— Making college more affordable (but not quite free tuition at public colleges);
— A $12/hour minimum wage (instead of $15);
— Moving from support of the Trans Pacific Partnership to opposing it “as it is now.”
On August 11, the Drug Enforcement Administration refused to reschedule marijuana but expanded the limits on research of medical uses. That day, senior Clinton policy advisor Maya Harris said in a statement:
“As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects. As president, Hillary Clinton will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.”
The statement sounds almost like a straightforward commitment to rescheduling. Then again, Harris did not mention decriminalization. There is no mention of marijuana on Clinton’s campaign website. And moving marijuana to Schedule II would have fairly limited effects.
What’s the Difference Between Schedule I and Schedule II?
The DEA lists drugs in Schedule I when it believes that they have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Besides marijuana, ecstasy, heroin, peyote, and LSD are listed as Schedule I.
Schedule II drugs have some medical benefit, but also high potential for abuse. This schedule includes many opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone (commercially known as Oxycontin) as well as cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, and Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexedrine. It is still a crime to buy these without a prescription.
Is Clinton Just Blowing Smoke?
Clinton’s stance on marijuana has shifted somewhat over time. In 2008, she was strongly against decriminalization (making possession a ticketing offense). In 2014, her response to the issue was that we need more evidence on both medical and recreational use before we take any action. She hasn’t moved very far from that position. But there has been progress.
Image is a YouTube screengrab.