The Obama administration’s decision to expand opportunities for scientific research of medical marijuana, while leaving cannabis classification under its longtime most-dangerous-drug status, strikes us as an important step, but hardly a solution, says the Denver Post in an editorial. The decision is hopeful in that it signals an attempt to end the bureaucratic hurdles that prevent scientific study of the drug that so many advocates claim has curative powers. But leaving in place the stigma and legal problems that a Schedule I designation creates makes the administration’s attempt to find some middle ground difficult to truly appreciate.
And by leaving cannabis in that most-dangerous category — a category that defines pot as having zero medicinal value — the decision leaves in place restrictions that baffle researchers and does nothing to ameliorate the many problems state-legal cannabis businesses must navigate. Nor, obviously, does it do much good for personal freedom in states where cannabis remains illegal. And so the destructive, decades-long war on pot hobbles along. But declassifying cannabis was a long-shot. Despite the fact that public opinion toward legalization has greatly shifted toward acceptance, legitimate questions about its safety exist. More study is in order, and to that end, Thursday’s news is positive.