If you want a snapshot of just how ridiculous America's marijuana laws are, take a look at carfentanil — an opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine, according to the DEA. That means it's also significantly more lethal, and yet the federal government says it's safer than marijuana.
Carfentanil is the most potent opioid on the market. So powerful that it's not approved for human consumption. Instead, it's used as a tranquilizing agent in zoos for elephants and other large animals. It's so dangerous that a speck the size of a grain of salt can kill a person.
Despite all that, carfentanil is listed in the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule II drug, meaning the feds consider it less dangerous than Schedule I drugs like marijuana. That's right: elephant smack is considered safer than marijuana in the government's eyes, even though the DEA acknowledges that nobody has ever died of a marijuana overdose.
In contrast, carfentanil is so deadly that it should be classified as a chemical weapon, according to former US assistant secretary of defence Andrew C. Weber, who specialized in defence programs for chemical, nuclear and biological war. In fact, Russian soldiers used carfentanil to kill Chechen soldiers back in 2002.
When was the last time you heard of soldiers trying to kill rebels by hot-boxing their hideout with weed?
More recently, the DEA has reported fatal overdoses stemming from opioid addicts injecting heroin that had been laced with carfentanil. Ironically, those lives could have been saved by medical marijuana. Recent research suggests marijuana is an effective alternative to the prescription painkillers that often lead to heroin addiction and a method to wean people off opioid addiction.
So medical marijuana could have prevented at least some of those victims from turning to heroin in the first place. But not while Congress still sees a promising solution as more dangerous than the drugs causing the problem.