Marijuana and heroin should not be classified as the same schedule of drug, but the DEA feels differently.
A pair of petitions filed to have the Drug Enforcement Agency reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug with no medical benefits to a more suitable classification were both rejected. They claim that they will keep it classified as a Schedule I drug because they believe that its potential for abuse is too high and that it has no potential to be safely administered by medical professionals.
Anyone who has any knowledge of DEA’s past is not surprised by this decision because this is not the first time that the agency has turned down an application for the rescheduling of marijuana. They have rejected four similar applications in the past thirty years and even went so far as to have its own administrative law be the standard by which marijuana is held to in criminal cases.
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting chief official of the DEA, says that the DEA’s decision to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I drug is because they have yet to see sufficient evidence to consider marijuana as a safe and effective form of treatment. A closer examination of the numerous studies done on the benefits of marijuana for the medical community indicates that the DEA’s claims are backed by politics rather than science.
25000 peer-reviewed papers are available which refute the DEA’s claims. Every one of them shows that cannabis has a wealth of benefits to its users and proves that it has been used as an effective form of medication for millennia. The DEA may have blanket authority over the whole of the US at a federal level however individual states are taking it upon themselves to legalize it in their own jurisdictions. Half of the states in the US now have statutes in place that allow for marijuana to be sold as medicine and an eighth of all Americans identify as consumers. The FDA does not support the DEA’s absurd beliefs either, with their own studies leading them to the conclusion that cannabis does have medicinal value and its classification as a Schedule I drug is not appropriate.
The DEA Cannot Stand in the Way of Change
Willful ignorance is the only thing that the DEA has to defend its decision.
However, there is a bright side to this clown show: the DEA announced that it is looking to change certain policies so that the FDA can source research-grade cannabis for clinical trials.
Currently, any cannabis used for an approved clinical trial must be sourced from the University of Mississippi which is weird considering that no other drug is sourced under such restrictions. The DEA’s recent announcement means that it is now open to applications from other parties seeking to cultivate marijuana specifically for research programs approved by the FDA.
This change in policy is a remarkable change to how the DEA thinks however many still believe that the DEA is dragging its feet in what should be an easy decision in favor of reclassification despite the wealth of information already available which proves that marijuana is harmless when compared to other Schedule I drugs such as cocaine and uncontrolled substances such as alcohol. The DEA cannot be relied upon therefore it is the federal government’s responsibility to take marijuana out of the Controlled Substances Act and allow authorities to regulate its use at a state level.
The DEA has shown time and again that they are vehemently opposed to such an action therefore it is up to Congress to go over their heads and classify cannabis in a way that is in line with both public opinion and scientific evidence rather than allowing outdated modes of thinking to rule.