The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has finally reached a decision regarding the marijuana scheduling. The agency received a letter from Democratic Senators, including Elizabeth Warren, petitioning them to reschedule the herb, considering 25 states now have legal medical marijuana and the majority of the country are in favor of legalization and the end of prohibition. The DEA responded, saying that they intended to consider the recommendation of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would have a decision by mid-year. They have finally concluded by not changing the scheduling at all, leaving marijuana with a Schedule I category meaning it will continue to be considered as dangerous as heroin and cocaine and deemed to have no medicinal value.
Attempts to Clarify Their Reasoning
They claim that their decision regarding the end of prohibition is less based on the dangerous aspect, considering no one has ever died from consuming marijuana, and more based on the fact that they consider it to have no medicinal value. Because of its current classification, researching marijuana in any official capacity has been federally illegal without government approval and next to impossible to get the necessary approval.
Classification Due to Lack of Research Due to Classification
One of the biggest complaints about the Schedule I classification is how intensely it has restricted valuable research regarding how this herb could potentially be helping people suffering from debilitating conditions. Now the DEA is claiming that its own restriction is the reason they will not be changing the classification. They stated that marijuana has no “currently accepted medical use’” since its “chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.” Ultimately the lack of federally approved medical research, enforced by the DEA, is the reason they will not be rescheduling or descheduling the herb.
No End of Prohibition but Easier Research
On the brighter side of things, the DEA has decided to make it easier for researchers to study the herb. As it stands, the only place allowed to study it in a limited capacity is at the University of Mississippi. Their agenda is to prove its potential for harm and abuse. Now researchers will have access to studying its medicinal benefits, using a wider variety of strains and they’re effects on various illnesses. Further study will allow researchers to discover the best THC and CBD levels for various illnesses and give a better idea about dosing.
“Upholding a Failed Drug War”
Advocates of marijuana were shocked and disappointed by the decision the DEA made regarding the end of prohibition. Tom Angell, who is the chairman of the Marijuana Majority, told High Times, “It’s really sad that DEA has chosen to continue decades of ignoring the voices of patients who benefit from medical marijuana. President Obama always said he would let science — and not ideology — dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value.”
Maybe now that researchers will be able to study the herb and prove its medicinal benefits, the DEA will no longer be able to get away with refusing to reschedule marijuana to a more appropriate classification. But then it may be too much to hope that they’d bow to the obvious medical benefits at risk of their own jobs.