The U.S. Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration have proposed a significant increase in the amount of marijuana that may be manufactured in the U.S. in 2019.
Marijuana is still listed as a Schedule I substance in the USA, which means it is defined as a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Yes, the listing is way behind the times – and behind dozens of U.S. states that have legalised it or derivatives of cannabis for medical use.
The Schedule I status means marijuana is very tightly controlled and its use is only allowed at a federal level for research.
This year’s quota for “marihuana” (still spelled this way by the U.S. feds) was for 443,680 grams; which is around half a US ton. The proposed quota for next year is 2,450,000 grams; approximately 2.7 tons.
It’s a significant signal that the archaic and misguided federal stance on cannabis is beginning to change – and not before time.
On the flip side, the proposal decreases manufacturing quotas for the six most frequently misused opioids for 2019 by an average ten percent as compared to the 2018 amount.
According to a release last week from the DEA, the move to cut production of some opioids is in line with President Trump’s “Safe Prescribing Plan”, which seeks to slash nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years.
“We’ve lost too many lives to the opioid epidemic and families and communities suffer tragic consequences every day,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon.
In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose and 2 million suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The good news is that cannabis has demonstrated good potential for use in treating or managing some conditions previously addressed by opioids – and more safely. We’ve covered this topic extensively here on HempGazette.
Upping the quota is a good start – now all the federal government needs to do is to remove the ridiculous Schedule I listing to enable medical marijuana to be more widely available and to assist with further research and development of cannabis medicines.