The USA’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is getting the hurry up on progress concerning removing marijuana from the list of Schedule I drugs.
While hemp is legal in the USA at a federal level thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill, marijuana is still illegal.
For marijuana to be legalized at a federal level, it must first be descheduled and removed from the US Controlled Substances Act. Among other things, Schedule I indicates a substance has no accepted medical use – so this needs to change just based on the medical aspect alone as marijuana is in wide use medicinally in the USA.
In October last year, US President Joe Biden announced he was tasking the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Attorney General to commence an administrative process to review how marijuana is scheduled under federal law.
10 months on and not a lot seems to have happened.
The situation has led to U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz sending a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram last week concerning the status of this initiative.
“I believe it is important for the administration to be transparent with Congress regarding where the process of descheduling marijuana stands,” states Rep. Graetz.
Representative Gaetz expressed concerns that during July 27, 2023 testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance, Ms. Milgram said the Department of Health and Human Services has not provided a timeline for sending its descheduling recommendation.
In his letter, which can be read here, Rep. Graetz requests the DEA provide a copy of the letter that President Biden sent to the Secretary of HHS and the Attorney General asking that the process of descheduling marijuana begin. He also asks:
“Have you asked HHS for its timeline for getting you its recommendation on the descheduling of marijuana? If so, what was HHS’ response? In the case that you received a timeline, provide that timeline.”
Rep. Graetz has asked the information and answers to the questions be provided to him by September 15, 2023.
While the feds have been slow on embracing cannabis – for both recreational and medicinal purposes – many states have already done so. Adult-use marijuana is now legal in 23 U.S. states, three of its territories, and District of Columbia. Medical cannabis is legal in some form in 38 states, four U.S. territories, and DC.