A Modest Proposal For Drug Scheduling

I ain’t got no home, I’m just a-roamin’ ’round,
Just a wandrin’ worker, I go from town to town.
And the police make it hard wherever I may go
And I ain’t got no home in this world anymore

I am pretty sure Woody Guthrie was not singing about the Controlled Substances Act, but his lyrics might well have been voiced by cannabis sativa, which just doesn’t seem to fit comfortably anywhere in our current drug schedules.

The heart of the problem is that Schedule I for non-medically approved drugs is a grab bag of substances which vary both in riskiness and therapeutic potential. I lay out a different way to construct Schedule I that could increase the value and credibility of Scheduling for a range of drugs including but not limited to cannabis in Washington Post’s In Theory Section.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.