“Nobody’s really sure how it works, marijuana. Nobody’s exactly sure what it does,” Bill Nye said in an interview with CNET. “And so there’s a very strong argument that keeping it as a Schedule I drug is not based in any science.”
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines Schedule I drugs as substances or chemicals with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), ecstasy, methaqualone, and peyote.”
Schedule I drugs are not impossible to study, however the restrictions on the substances make research difficult to access by scientists. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,
Conducting clinical research using marijuana involves interactions with several federal agencies. This includes: obtaining the marijuana for research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) within the National Institutes of Health or another Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)-registered source; review of an investigational new drug (IND) application and the research protocol by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and an investigator registration and site licensure by the DEA.
“But people use marijuana and marijuana extracts for all sorts of medical applications, so you’ve got to think there’s something to it,” Nye said.
Regardless of the federal laws concerning cannabis, 29 states including the District of Columbia have already passed state legislation to allow marijuana use for medicinal purposes. “Well, I lived in Washington State for a long time. And Washington State legalized it in 2012.” Said Nye. “We legalized marijuana. We tax it, we have a lot of tax revenue. It’s no longer criminalized, we don’t spend money on the police department. We spend money regulating the industry in the same way we regulate other substances.”
The Washington State Treasury reports the state collected a total of $189 million in legal marijuana income and license fees in fiscal year 2016, all but $3 million of it from the state’s marijuana excise, or sales tax.
Although Nye aligns with the benefits of legalization, he should not be distinguished as a marijuana user. “I don’t like the smell. I just don’t like it,” he said. “One time in college I tried it, and I’m not good at smoking. I didn’t put in the hours to get good at smoking.”
Nye studied astronomy at Cornell University under Carl Sagan who has also come forth to endorse the legalization of marijuana.
The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world. – Carl Sagan
Cover Photo: Gage Skidmore
Other than that we just get pretty high.
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