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Marijuana Rescheduling Announcement Could Be a Huge Let Down

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Marijuana Rescheduling Announcement Could Be a Huge Let Down

Some of the biggest news circulating around the marijuana community over the past week is word that U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to offer a decision sometime before August as to whether the agency will downgrade the Schedule I classification of the cannabis plant.

A 25-page memo sent out last week to members of Congress in response to a 2015 letter urging the federal government to unleash some of the restrictions that prevent medical marijuana research, indicates that Uncle Sam’s leading drug henchmen hope “to make a decision on whether to reschedule marijuana before the end of summer 2016.” Of course, the moment Matt Ferner of The Huffington Post published his initial report it spawned a legion of misleading press coverage that seems to have conned a significant number of pot advocates across the nation into thinking that a marijuana reschedule is inevitable.

What appears to be true is that the DEA has received an evaluation from the Food and Drug Administration over the scientific and medical evidence surrounding marijuana. It was revealed in 2014 that Health and Human Services was planning to review the data surrounding the safety and effectiveness of marijuana for the FDA, with the potential outcome credited as being a huge determining factor for whether a recommendation would be issued for a lesser schedule. Although the agency did not specify how long their eight-factor analysis would take, it did suggest that this decision could lead to a recommendation for a Schedule II listing – an admission by the federal government that cannabis has a place in medicine.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the DEA has responded to the call of removing marijuana from the same schedule listing as heroin. Throughout the course of the past two decades, the DEA has been petitioned for a reschedule several times – some of which have been rejected while other remains undecided. In a recent analysis by Jacob Sullum, senior editor at Reason Magazine, he points out that the DEA is infamous for dragging its feet on rescheduling petitions, suggesting that the agency’s lingering decision should, in no way, be construed as serious consideration.

“This sort of delay is typical of the way that the DEA responds to rescheduling petitions, and it should not be interpreted as evidence that the agency is giving the issue more careful consideration than it has in the past, let alone that it has changed its position,” Sullum wrote.

While the Obama Administration has been somewhat more progressive on its stance toward marijuana than those of the past, there has been no indication that President Obama is gunning for nationwide change before he leaves office. In fact, earlier this year, White House press secretary John Earnest said that marijuana reform was not on the President’s agenda for the duration of his term. Furthermore, it has always been Obama’s stance that “what is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” which more than suggests that the Administration has opted to leave this decision up to a future president.

What’s more, according to Sullum, is that if DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg were planning to sign off on an effort to reclassify cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act, we would have seen some government research being conducted over the past couple of years aimed at determining whether marijuana meets the criteria needed to make such a momentous change.

“The DEA has always insisted that marijuana cannot be moved until its medical usefulness has been confirmed by the kind of expensive, large-scale clinical studies that the Food and Drug Administration demands before approving a new medicine,” Sullumn wrote, adding that the federal government has never conducted any whole plant studies.

In an apparent response to the increasing interest over the ability of cannabidiol (CBD) to control seizure frequency in epilepsy patients, the latest DEA memo indicates that the agency also plans to conduct a separate review in order to determine whether the non-intoxicating compound of the cannabis plant should be given a less restrictive classification.

So, while major newspapers like The Los Angeles Times have said, “It’s heartening that the federal government is reconsidering this misguided policy,” most drug policy experts are not convinced that change is on its way.

What do you think? Is the recent DEA memo good news for the potential rescheduling of marijuana?

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Corey M Callahan

    April 19, 2016 at 12:47 am

    Pretty sure either way is going to be a disappointment. Nothing will be more fun that going up against big pharmaceutical companies. They probably wont even arrest you, just come thru and chop up your whole family alive like the drug cartels. The faster more cost efficient prohibition. Freedom! At its finest.

  2. agent11421

    April 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Why doesn’t President Obama simply order the DEA to reschedule the plant? Who the hell do the DEA think they are? They are so powerful that even the President of the United States is afraid of them. Ridiculous.

  3. Akiva Ben Shlomo

    April 18, 2016 at 7:56 am

    Keep in mind they profit from prohibition of all kinds. Greedy heartless bastards of satan

  4. YearofAction

    April 14, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    The DEA could compromise, and succumb to following the Constitution when it makes its announcement. It could leave marijuana in Schedule 1 (oh, boohoo.), remove cannabis from the Schedules (yay!), and preserve the constitutional prohibitions on who can grow it (what?!), by re-interpreting the circumlocutory federal definition of marijuana.

    This definition which spells out the Holistic interpretation that the DEA should follow, with their insistence that their agents must uphold our Constitution, also lets them redirect their enforcement efforts for the benefit of the People and their children:

    Sec.802.(16). The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

    Later, after this text of the re-interpreted definition is enacted into law, then it can be rescheduled. The Supremacy clause will also force the holdout States to reform their marijuana laws to uphold the Constitution.

    This year is a good time for the DEA to re-interpret the definition of marijuana, and a good time to contact your congressional representatives to enact this reform of the text of that definition.

    The existing federal definition of marijuana is shown here:
    http://www.fda.gov/regulatoryinformation/legislation/ucm148726.htm

    Other uses for the plant Cannabis sativa L. are in Sec.7606 on page 264:
    http://www.agriculture.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Farm_Bill_Final.pdf

  5. Lawrence Goodwin

    April 13, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Eighty years of federal “marihuana” law point to another blunt refusal of common sense by the heartless bureaucrats of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Alcohol and tobacco are not prohibited by the Controlled Substances Act, two of the most lethal and dangerous products manufactured and sold in America. That means cannabis leaves, flowers, stalks and seeds do not belong there, either. “Marihuana” prohibition must cease and give way to (limited) federal regulation, perhaps under the jurisdiction of a renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Cannabis, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

  6. Zanrak

    April 12, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    I just finished reading “The Devil’s Chessboard”, which discusses, among many other things, how certain parties in government leak info to the msm. While the DEA has continued its fossilized dogma in the past, I wonder if this time, since the msm is so all over this, that perhaps they’re testing the waters to see if they can loosen their leash a notch or two…

  7. Warren Bobrow

    April 12, 2016 at 8:25 am

    I think we should be drinking our cannabis in our cocktails! http://www.amazon.com/Cannabis-Cocktails-Mocktails-Tonics-Buzz-Worthy/dp/1592337341

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