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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.

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