Bill Nye: Marijuana Policy Isn’t Based on Science

By Kelly Burch 12/22/17

"Nobody’s really sure how it works, marijuana. There’s a very strong argument that keeping it as a Schedule I drug is not based on any science.”

Bill Nye

Bill Nye the Science Guy says that federal marijuana policy isn’t based on fact, and argues that there is strong evidence that it should be changed in an upcoming episode of his Netflix show Bill Nye Saves The World.

“Nobody’s really sure how it works, marijuana. Nobody’s exactly sure what it does,” 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 on any science.”

Nye goes on to explain what scheduling means, for people who are unfamiliar with the substance classification system. “Schedule I means it’s presumed to be addicting and have no medical value, but people use marijuana and marijuana extracts for all sorts of medical applications, so you gotta think there’s something to it,” Nye said

Schedule I also restricts research of the substance, something Nye seems to think is unwise. “Nobody’s sure how it works, so we've got to study marijuana more and find out what the active ingredients are,” he said. 

In the episode of his show, available December 29 on Netflix, Nye discusses the history of cannabis use and even purchases medical marijuana in California using a license that he obtained online. 

“Didn’t go to a doctor’s office. Didn’t present any evidence that I was a good or bad person,” he said. A clip shows Nye talking with the salesperson at a dispensary, telling her he is purchasing the pot “for science.”

However, he didn’t consume it for science, so don’t count on seeing Bill Nye get high. “I gave it to the props department… I’m not crazy about the smell.”

In the episode Nye plays ultimate frisbee with people who are high to show some of the effects that marijuana has on coordination. Nye has said in the past that he tried pot in college, but he doesn’t like the smell and doesn’t care for smoking. However, he has previously said that he is in favor of legalization. 

“I lived in Washington State for a long time, and Washington State legalized it in 2012. We legalized marijuana, we tax it,” he said in an interview earlier this year, according to Marijuana Moment. “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.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.