The DEA Stalls
Long Story Short
Earlier this year, the DEA said in a letter that they would decide whether or not to reschedule marijuana. Well, the decision is in and it looks like we won’t be seeing marijuana moved from schedule I, leaving it ranked amongst the most harmful substances in America. Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. The DEA is now set to remove one of the main roadblocks marijuana research has faced.
The University of Mississippi has been the only institution legally authorized to grow the drug for use in medical studies. Since this is the only place researchers could obtain federally approved marijuana to study, scientists have had to wait years to receive some. Others found federally approved marijuana impossible to get.
Even though half of the nation has adopted the medical use of marijuana, the research backing up marijuana’s ability to treat conditions like Parkinson’s, Crohn’s, and more is currently lacking. The new DEA policy that three officials have seen and commented on should help provide evidence for or against the use of marijuana in treating several debilitating conditions.
The New Policy
The change in policy comes down to changing the University of Mississippi’s exclusive growing rights. Should the rumored policy change occur, other universities will be able to apply to grow marijuana. The number of new schools with licenses to grow marijuana is unknown. However, the new policy does not limit the number of institutions that can qualify.
The source of this information is three government officials who have chosen to remain anonymous. The three officials have reviewed the new policy but are not authorized to speak on it which is apparently why they’ve decided to remain anonymous. The change in policy could be published as soon as Thursday, but until then the news of this new policy change will continue to be unofficial.
What the Experts Think
Drug policy advocates, experts, and researchers believe that increasing the number of institutions growing marijuana will help speed up the reform of marijuana laws.
“It’s clear that this was a significant hurdle in limiting the quantity of clinical research taking place in the U.S.,” said Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Some researchers are disappointed because the DEA has not decided to reclassify marijuana. Dr. Orrin Devinsky of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at New York University Langone Medical Center believes that the scientific data surrounding marijuana illustrates that marijuana should not be listed as such a dangerous drug.
The Final Hit
Marijuana remains classified as a highly addictive drug with no medical value, just as it has been for the past 46 years. However, the research that will result from this policy change could lead to marijuana’s rescheduling or eventual rescheduling. Overall, many believe this is a necessary step towards legalization. With more scientific research backing the medicinal benefits of marijuana, it will be hard for the DEA to justify keeping cannabis on the list of schedule I drugs.