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New Report Slams DEA Scheduling Practices

A red DEA special agent truck is parked.


New Report Slams DEA Scheduling Practices

The Drug Enforcement Administration is responsible for impeding and rejecting the science of marijuana and other drugs for the past four decades, according to a report by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

The report chronicles the history of the DEA from the powers granted by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 to their continued obstruction of marijuana research through 2013. The document reviews five case studies, in which DEA practices are revealed to “maintain the existing, scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system and to obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules.”

The report, titled “The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science,” accuses the DEA of failing to act in a timely fashion, as their decisions (mostly denying various research and medical requests) have been shown to take more than ten years to be made; of overruling their own administrative law judges who wanted to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug, and therefore under the regulation of the Food and Drug Administration; and of creating a regulatory Catch-22 in pointing to insufficient evidence to support rescheduling marijuana when, according to the report, they are the ones constraining such evidence.

“The DEA is a police and propaganda agency,” Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Huffington Post. “It makes no sense for it to be in charge of federal decisions involving scientific research and medical practice.”

The DPA suggests completely removing responsibility for determining drug classifications and health determinations from the DEA. It recommends a non-governmental entity such as the National Academy of Sciences to replace it.

The DEA deems Schedule I drugs to be the most dangerous, with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule I drugs include heroin, LSD, ecstasy and peyote.

Schedule II drugs also have a high potential for abuse, but according to the DEA, less so than Schedule I drugs. The agency recognizes the medical value and use of these drugs. Schedule II substances include cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone, meperidine, oxycodone, fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall and Ritalin.

Schedules are split into five classifications and going down the list makes marijuana’s precarious position as a dangerous Schedule I drug seem more and more out of place.

Rick Doblin, executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies released the following statement earlier this month.

“The DEA has obstructed research into the medical use of marijuana for over 40 years and in the process has caused immeasurable suffering that would otherwise have been treated by low-cost, low-risk generic marijuana,” Doblin said. “The DEA’s obstruction of the FDA approval process for marijuana has to the DEA’s dismay unintentionally catalyzed state-level medical marijuana reforms.”

What do you think? Should the FDA reschedule cannabis? Tell us in the comments below.



  1. Linda Doherty

    October 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Don’t leave the people who live with fibromyalgia, arthritis, muscle spasms, etc, etc, hanging on by their fingernails. We’re hoping to get off the OxyContin, the Morphine, Fentanyl, and yes, even Methadone! We want to get off the pain meds, the muscle relaxers, anxiety meds and anti-depressants that weaken our immune systems, destroy our livers, kidneys, and even hurts our hearts! Medicinal marijuana can do this for the sick and suffering, both young and old. as long as marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, worse than crack cocaine and heroine, people like me and my 93 year old grandfather will never find relief. I’m a 60 year old woman who spends every afternoon and all night at home with a heating pad. I’ve tried all the available medications and therapies prescribed to me over the last 15 years, but nothing helps with chronic pain and muscle spasms. I’m one of those people who have such adverse affects to opioids that I can’t take them. I vomit, my muscle spasms and pain worsen. I currently take Soma, Diazapam, Neurontin, naproxen, that is supposed to help and Imy body tolerates. However, if I took the prescribed dosage of Soma, Diazapam, and Neurontin I would be a walking zombie or asleep in bed. My body hurts so much during the night that I toss and turn trying to get comfortable and have to take Zolpidem to help me to sleep. After those nights, however, I wake up the next morning in excruciating pain and a stupor that can take hours to overcome. Constitutional amendments are not the only way for people to get relief. The amendments can do very little as long as the FDA refuses to reclassify marijuana to a schedule IV or V. The FDA has had more than enough years and spent enough money on research that this should not be an issue to deal with any longer. Please do the right thing for Americans. Remember, too, that people die every day due to alcohol abuse, tobacco poisoning cancer, and overdoses of drugs that are classified as Schedules II, III, IV, and V. Does the FDA really and truly believe that a natural herb such as cannabis is worse?

  2. Damian

    September 16, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    My great grandfather robber benbow passed in a nursing home starving to death in pain and could never sleep, if cannabis was reschedualed just 7 years ago he might still be here today but instead a world war 2 veteran suffered to death karamas a bitch n I hope those who kept it back feel his pain personally b4 they go, to be in so much pain that you have no will to eat nor to live must have been a living hell and in no way a thanks for fighting for our country

  3. William Harman

    June 27, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I am one of those people that need this drug to be available, have been on other medicines that were mentioned in article, and they are not working ! And I mean, I have been on them for years ! Please stop letting people die because you are not educated or you are getting money, how do you people sleep at night ? I feel sorry for you ! ~ ♡♡♡ ~

  4. John

    June 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    cannabis should absolutely be rescheduled. it doesn’t belong where it is. it should be somewhere below legal alcohol and nicotine since combined they kill about half a million people a year. 2 drugs advertised in glowing neon on practically every street corner in the country. by contrast no one dies from a cannabis overdose.
    even during alcohol prohibition it was possible to purchase medicinal alcohol at the local walgreens which grew from 20 locations to 525 locations in the span of 10 years. what manner of complaint would merit the prescribing of alcohol to remedy?
    the issue with cannabis has always been political never medical. the case against cannabis has always been pursued on moral grounds, not on a scientific basis. cannabis is condemned and prohibited as being a problem not because it is harmful but because arbitrary moral decisions have decreed it to be so.

    • Yujin

      July 11, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Both alcohol and tobacco are not even listed in the Controlled Substances Act. But in my opinion, both could easily fall into schedule 1. As I don’t see very much medicinal value (there is none), and there is a proven high potential for abuse.

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