DEA Doesn’t Budge On Marijuana Rescheduling

Marijuana to remain Schedule 2
Cannabis Image: BigStock

There are many disappointed medicinal cannabis supporters in the USA today after the nation’s Drug Enforcement Administration refused to reschedule marijuana.

Hopes were building that the DEA would reclassify marijuana from Schedule One to Schedule Two after an unnamed source in the DEA indicated in June it would occur this month.

It wasn’t to be. The summary of the reasons given by the DEA were:

“… because it does not meet the criteria for currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.”

Among the many individuals and groups criticizing the decision was Americans For Safe Access.

“Our report shows that the DEA failed to take into account over 9,000 patient/years of data with medical cannabis products used in gold standard clinical studies,” said ASA’s Senior Scientist, Dr. Jahan Marcu.

“Instead the DEA focused on outdated information from last century, animal research, surveys, and disregarded dozens of clinical trials that didn’t fit into their political agenda for regulating medicine.”

The National Cannabis Industry Association also condemned the announcement.

“DEA’s decision flies in the face of objective science and overwhelming public opinion,” stated NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

“Continuing marijuana prohibition forces critically ill people to suffer needlessly, leaves life-changing treatments undeveloped, and keeps patients and providers in limbo between state and federal laws.

Marijuana law reform group NORML says the decision was a continuance of the DEA’s “Flat Earth” position.

“The DEA’s decision is strictly a political one. There is nothing scientific about willful ignorance,” stated NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano.

While the DEA has dug in its heels at a federal level, medical cannabis is now legal to varying degrees in half of the USA’s states.

There was somewhat of a silver lining to the heavy cloud the DEA brought into the day. The Administration has also updated a policy regarding the supply of marijuana for research purposes, which up until now was the sole realm of the University of Mississippi – and has been for the last 50 years.

The DEA says the new policy will enable other approved parties to cultivate and distribute marijuana for FDA-authorized research purposes. However, additional growers will only be added to the point that an adequate and uninterrupted supply can be maintained. It will come as no surprise that to gain authorization, plenty of red tape will be involved.

Also today, the DEA in partnership with the FDA published a statement of principles (PDF) relating to the Agricultural Act of 2014 and the cultivation of industrial hemp for industrial purposes.

The full text of the DEA’s announcement can be viewed here.