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DEA turns down bid to reschedule cannabis

Posted on August 13th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

THC After much speculation that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would reschedule cannabis this summer, the agency on Aug. 11 dashed petitioners' hopes, rejecting their request to remove its classification as a Schedule I dangerous drug. The DEA denied two separate requests by former state governors to re-classify cannabis as a Schedule II drug or lower. The agency stated (PDF) that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has "concluded that marijuana has high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision." Tthe DEA did propose a new policy that would allow universities to apply to grow cannabis for research. Until now, the University of Mississippi had a monopoly on cultivation for study. (Jurist)

This decision quickly sparked criticism from many—including Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who said that the ruling leaves "patients and marijuana businesses trapped between state and federal laws." (Reuters)

Many have noted the Catch 22 of the government limiting cannabis research and then citing insufficient research into its medical benefits. Last year, a Brookings Institution report slammed the federal government for "stifling medical research" in the area of marijuana policy. (WP)

Jon Gettman spelled out the "obvious paradox" in a commentary for High Times: "[B]ecause the drug doesn't fit the conventional form of a pharmaceutical drug and is widely accepted and used by the public as an effective drug, it can’t be recognized as a drug under the standards embedded in the Controlled Substances Act by Congress. The problem here is not with marijuana, nor with the decisions made by the public, but instead with the standards created by Congress. Thus, the only remedy to this conflict is for Congress to remove marijuana from the CSA and regulate it via more appropriate legislation."

Graphic: Lycaeum

 

Comments

Hillary Clinton for cannabis reschedule?

Global Ganja Report's picture In response to the DEA’s decision to retain cannabis as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, Hillary Clinton’s campaign says that if she’s elected president, she will reschedule cannabis. “Marijuana is already being used for medical purposes in states across the country, and it has the potential for even further medical use,” Maya Harris, a senior policy advisor to the Clinton campaign, said in a statement. “As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects.”

He continues; “As president, Hillary will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance. She will also ensure Colorado, and other states that have enacted marijuana laws, can continue to serve as laboratories of democracy." (Joint Blog, Aug. 12)
Comment by Global Ganja Report on Sep 9th, 2016 at 2:34 am

Obama to reschedule cannabis?

Bill Weinberg's picture  We doubt it. Everyone is making much of his promising comments to Rolling Stone's Jan Wenner: "I am not somebody who believes that legalization is a panacea. But I do believe that treating this as a public-health issue, the same way we do with cigarettes or alcohol, is the much smarter way to deal with it."

But it's easy for him to finally come to this position when he is virtually out the White House door. And he added: "Typically how these classifications are changed are not done by presidential edict but are done either legislatively or through the DEA. As you might imagine, the DEA, whose job it is historically to enforce drug laws, is not always going to be on the cutting edge about these issues."

So we're more than a bit skeptical about the claims, e.g. from the ever-breathless Santa Monica Observer, that Obama will sign an executive order rescheduling cannabis before he leaves office.
Comment by Bill Weinberg on Dec 5th, 2016 at 4:25 pm

DEA: 'media attention' hampers pot busts

Bill Weinberg's picture  The Washington Post reports Dec. 8 that the DEA actually just complained in an official report: 
Many states have passed laws allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana within their respective states. Due to these varying state laws, as well as an abundance of media attention surrounding claims of possible medical benefits, the general public has been introduced to contradictory and often inaccurate information regarding the legality and benefits of marijuana use. This has made enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult, especially in states that have approved marijuana legalization.
Facts are such annoying things. Damn that pesky media.
Comment by Bill Weinberg on Dec 9th, 2016 at 2:54 am

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