Reports that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would soon effectively make medical marijuana legal across the nation may have been a little optimistic.
A news item on the Santa Monica Observer a few days ago stated the “..U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration will reclassify marijuana as a “Schedule Two” drug on August 1, 2016, essentially legalizing medicinal cannabis in all 50 states with a doctor’s prescription.”
The statement was attributed an unnamed DEA lawyer “with knowledge of the matter”.
However, a follow up report published on ANewDomain points out the DEA can’t just change the legality of any drug unilaterally.
In comments reportedly provided to ANewDomain from a DEA official, the Administration says it wasn’t going to hold itself to any artificial timeline either. The official, staff coordinator Russ Baer, also stated the DEA wants there to be further research on marijuana and its component parts; i.e, the hundred or so cannabinoids in the plant.
“We want to know more about cannabis – we need rigorous scientific research – the DEA stands behind the scientific process,” he said.
While the August 1 rescheduling may not eventuate, pace on reforms and pressure on the U.S. Government is certainly picking up. With medical cannabis now legal in half of US states; the state vs. federal issue is becoming a more pressing one.
On the topic of reforms; early this week, Congressmen Earl Blumenauer introduced the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016; a bipartisan and bicameral bill that seeks to removes barriers holding back medical marijuana research.
“Despite the fact that over 200 million Americans now have legal access to some form of medical marijuana, federal policy is blocking science. It’s outrageous,” said Congressman Blumenauer.
“We owe it to patients and their families to allow for the research physicians need to understand marijuana’s benefits and risks and determine proper use and dosage. The federal government should get out of the way to allow for this long overdue research.”
One of the main elements of the legislation is a less cumbersome registration process for marijuana research; reducing the time for approval, the need for certain security measures and other unnecessary red tape. It will also make the marijuana required for research easier to obtain as a result of production and distribution regulation reforms.
In other related recent news, the Hemp Industry Association (HIA) petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration earlier this month to remove industrial hemp plants from the schedules established under the Controlled Substance Act altogether. Industrial hemp plants contain very little of the intoxicating substance THC; so little that they have absolutely no value as a recreational drug.