No reclassification of pot, but maybe more research
Two petitions filed with the federal government to reclassify marijuana went to pot in August.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said marijuana has no accepted medical use and will continue to be classified as a Schedule I drug.
DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote in a letter to petitioners Govs. Jay R. Inslee of Washington state and Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island that marijuana “does not have a 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.”
The governors had sought reclassification of marijuana from a Schedule I drug, a class that includes heroin and peyote, to a Schedule II drug, a class that includes cocaine, morphine and opium.
In recent years, more than half the states, including Washington and Rhode Island, have legalized marijuana for recreational or medicinal use.
The DEA also announced in August plans to make it easier for researchers to study the benefits of marijuana by expanding the number of DEA-registered entities that can grow pot. Currently only the University of Mississippi is authorized to supply about 350 researchers.
“Research is the bedrock of science and we will — as we have for many years — support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts,” Rosenberg stated.
He continued, “DEA has never denied an application from a researcher to use lawfully produced marijuana in a study determined by the Department of Health and Human Services to be scientifically meritorious.”
Legislators in pro-pot states, as well as some physicians and many health care advocates, criticized the DEA’s scheduling decision and challenged the assertion by Rosenberg that the federal government’s pot prohibitions have not interfered with marijuana research.
“One of the main reasons the DEA said it won’t reclassify marijuana is because there aren’t enough studies showing if marijuana has medicinal benefits,” said California state Rep. Sam Farr. “What’s frustrating is that because the DEA says marijuana is a Schedule I drug, it’s extremely difficult for medical researchers to access the drug to study it.”
FAILED FEDERAL POLICIES
The DEA announced its decisions in a notice in the Federal Register after a lengthy review and consultation with the HHS.
The notice was published the same week state lawmakers from across the country adopted a resolution calling for reform on failed federal policies.
At an annual meeting in Chicago, the National Conference of State Legislatures adopted a resolution calling on Congress to remove marijuana from the Schedule I list of drugs by amending the Controlled Substances Act. The conference also called for a change in federal regulations to allow banks to deal with marijuana businesses in states where such business is legally taxed and regulated.
Inslee, in a press statement, said, “As states continue to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, there is more that the federal government must do to provide states with legal certainty and empower the operation of safe systems across the country.” Köhler’s Medicinal