Today, the DEA announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana’s medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research.
Keeping marijuana in Schedule I shows that the DEA continues to ignore research, science, and growing public and political opinion. Marijuana should be descheduled and states should be allowed to set their own policies.
Ending the DEA-enforced monopoly is a positive step forward that will eliminate obstacles to enable more research.
For decades, the DEA has promoted an unjustified monopoly on research-grade marijuana for use in federally-approved studies – making it impossible for scientists to put marijuana through clinical trials to demonstrate it meets FDA standards for medical safety and efficacy. And the DEA only permitted one facility to supply marijuana to scientists which is operated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – which also has a long track record of obstructing medical marijuana research.
Today’s announcement will help eliminate the marijuana research barriers that the DEA and NIDA have unnecessarily and unjustifiably promoted for decades.
But it’s time to deschedule marijuana and remove it from the list of prohibited substances. Right now, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s deemed to have a high potential for abuse and NO accepted medical purposes. Rescheduling would not change federal criminal penalties or stop the DEA from raiding dispensaries.
Only descheduling marijuana will end federal prohibition entirely and completely remove marijuana from the list of scheduled drugs – and only Congress can do it.
Just last week, we asked you to urge your members of Congress to deschedule marijuana. It’s time to turn up the pressure. Send a message now to help end federal marijuana prohibition for good.
Deputy Director, National Affairs
Drug Policy Alliance