Anyone who has tried pot knows there are downsides; you drive slower and sometimes math homework is harder.

But there are upsides, too. Nobody has ever overdosed, empirical data shows it treats diseases and can soothe opioid additions. It's certainly not as dangerous as heroin, or more dangerous than cocaine. Not according to science, death statistics and two-thirds of Americans. But that reality hasn't penetrated the Trump Administration yet, something that’s become even clearer this week when a high-up Trump official said the government is right to classify marijuana as just as dangerous and un-medical as heroin.

"We follow the law and the science," said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this week. "And from a legal and scientific perspective, marijuana is an unlawful drug. It's properly scheduled under Schedule I."

To review, Schedule I is where PCP and heroin are. Schedule II is where cocaine is. Go figure.

Some conservative media saw in Rosenstein's words a joyful hint that their beloved War on Drugs might be headed for an encore. Cannabis advocates, however, are fearful. The Trump Administration "is pursuing a path to undermine legal state medical marijuana programs,” Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML, told Merry Jane in a statement.

Rosenstein was asked this directly.

"A lot of people in my state are worried," Lisa Murkowski, Senator from Alaska, said about a federal crackdown on marijuana. "Where are we headed with marijuana?" Murkowski asked Rosenstein.

Rosenstein said the Justice Department might head toward changing the current policy of leaving the states alone, but didn't signal a firm change in policy.

A change in policy would be clinically insane. Marijuana has led to zero deaths in recorded history, infinity percent less than are killed per year by alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical opioids (which is 88,000, 480,000, and 52,404, respectively), according to the CDC and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

Responding to another question, Rosenstein said "scientists have found no accepted medical use for it." This would be news to a lot of people, including:

  • GW Pharma, which has a marijuana-based medicine, Sativex, which is currently treating multiple sclerosis and raking in millions for them in 29 countries — none of them named the United States.

  • The scientists who reviewed thousands of peer-reviewed papers and concluded that cannabis treats chronic pain and helps cancer patients with their nausea.

  • The people using it to treat their seizures.

Rosenstein is the right-hand man to Jeff Sessions, a man who thinks marijuana and heroin aren't all that different. Sessions is obsessed with destroying medical marijuana. Rosenstein clearly thinks the same way. Sessions sometimes hints a crackdown isn't coming. Sometimes he hints that it is. In some cases, he appears not to understand the law. Sometimes, it seems he understands the laws very well, like owning (or having owned) stock in private prisons — which his drug policies help fill. Earlier this week, Sessions explicitly asked congress for money to crack down on weed

Judging from this week's hearings, the Justice Department may indeed be looking to re-start the jackassery of the Drug War dark ages.

"We're responsible for enforcing the law," Rosenstein said. "It's illegal, and that's federal law in regard to marijuana."

Yes, it is. It's also in the power of congress to change that law. Yet they've all shown limited political courage to do so.

And it's also in the people's power to conveniently ignore federal law and go on about our slow driving, calculus defying lives — as we in western states like California, Colorado and Washington have been doing for more than two decades.

Who needs math anyway?