DEA Will Allow “Research”

Long Story Short

The DEA just announced that it will not reschedule cannabis. As a result, cannabis remains a Schedule I illegal substance. But while the agency said it won’t change marijuana’s legal classification, it will try to make it easier for scientists to research cannabis.

The Details

The DEA’s announcement was a response to two new petitions asking the agency to reclassify cannabis. Marijuana is currently a Schedule I illegal drug. Substances in that category are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Schedule I drugs are also considered the most dangerous of all drugs. And they usually carry the heaviest criminal charges.

DEA Refuses To Reschedule Cannabis

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Critics of the U.S.’s cannabis laws have repeatedly asked the DEA to move marijuana out of the Schedule I category. But the agency has once again denied those requests.

Here’s how the DEA explained its decision. “Marijuana will remain a schedule I controlled substance,” the agency said in a statement. “It 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.”

DEA Tries To Improve Cannabis Research

The DEA said it will try to make it easier for scientists to study cannabis. Under current rules only the University of Mississippi can grow cannabis for researchers. Many researchers say this system creates a lot of challenges that make it hard to carry out effective studies.

Now, the DEA said it will allow more universities to grow cannabis for use in research. The agency said the change will make it possible for more research to be completed. And if that research can produce enough evidence, the DEA said it might reconsider its decision.

“If the scientific understanding about marijuana changes—and it could change—then the decision could change,” the DEA’s statement said.

Critics Say It’s Not Enough

Pro-cannabis lawmakers and activists said the DEA’s newest decisions simply aren’t enough.

“I welcome the decision to lessen barriers to medical marijuana research,” Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer said in a statement. Blumenauer helped put together the most recent petitions to reclassify cannabis.

“However, this decision doesn’t go far enough and is further evidence that the DEA doesn’t get it. Keeping marijuana at Schedule I continues an outdated, failed approach.”