Associate Professor Wayne Bensley met with Honors Program members April 21 at the college to review current federal laws controlling marijuana and to present data available from states that have approved the drug for medical and recreational use.
The director of the college’s forensic science technology program, Bensley spent his earlier career in police labs testing for drugs and testifying in drug-related court cases. Despite being approved for medical use in an ever-growing number of states, including New York, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug, considered by the federal government “to have no medical use.”
Bensley addressed this seeming contradiction, telling members, “In the 1930s, political influence, Hollywood filmmakers, yellow journalism, and a measure of racism put ‘reefer madness’ in the headlines and resulted in marijuana being considered in the same class as heroin by the government, making actual scientific research on the drug nearly impossible.”
Bensley cited short-term positive data resulting from Colorado’s approval of recreational marijuana but also cautioned that the “experiment” in that state is only two years old, too soon to judge its success or failure.
Left to right are Megan Dillon, forensic science technology, Angola; Pauline Kulczyk, forensic science technology, Buffalo; Associate Professor of Physical and Life Sciences Wayne Bensley; Ian Potash, digital media and animation, Syracuse; and Mary Rose Ricotta, forensic science technology, Derby.