Florida Drug Laws: The Epitome Of Hypocrisy

September 2010 - By Mark NeJame | David Jancha, a partner with NeJame Law, contributed to this article

Florida law, Chapter 893 classifies substances according to five (5) schedules. Schedule I substances have "a high potential for abuse and . . .no currently accepted medical use . . . and in its use under medical supervision does not meet accepted safety standards." Heroin, LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) are among a few of the substances listed. One substance listed as a Schedule I substance does raise suspicions though; Cannabis. Cannabis, better known as marijuana, is actually grown and used for medical purposes in a number of other States- most notably California.

Scheduled II substances have "a high potential for abuse and . . . currently accepted but severely restricted use in treatment . . . [and] may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence." Substances listed include opium, codeine, morphine, and cocaine. It is surprising, in this day and age, that cocaine is listed as having an 'accepted medical' use.

Schedule III substances have "a potential for abuse. . .and . . .currently accepted medical use . . . [which]may lead to moderate to low physical dependence or high psychological dependence." A few of these substances include mixtures of codeine combined with other active ingredients that are not controlled substances.

Schedule IV substances have "a low potential for abuse. . .and . . .a currently accepted medical use in treatment . . . and abuse of the substance may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. Finally, and Schedule IV substances have a "low potential for abuse . . . and had has a currently accepted medical use . . .and abuse . . .may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence."

Without question, the use of any of these substances has substantial negative effects on the body, brain, central nervous system and organs. It is ironic though that many of these Schedule I substances are naturally occurring plants and have been used by many cultures and in religious rituals throughout history. Paradoxically, Schedule IV and V substances seem to be among the most abused, dangerous and addictive "prescription" medications, including highly addictive and potentially deadly drugs such as Alprazolam, Clonazepam, Diazepam, Hydrocodone, Oxycondone, and Oxycontin.

One must ask: Are our drug laws based in reason and a genuine desire to address addictions, crime and treatment or are they created to pander to an ignorant and unknowing public in an effort to gain political support...all at the risk of being counterproductive to the real dilemmas faced. To suggest that marijuana deserves to be categorized as a more dangerous drug than oxycontin or hydrocodone, is the epitome of ignorance and hypocrisy, and rather than helping only exacerbates the drug crisis in America today.

 

David Jancha, an associate with NeJame Law, contributed to this article.