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DEA May Decide To Reschedule Marijuana ‘By Mid-Year’


dea emails marijuanaMarijuana has been a Schedule I drug for decades. It has always perplexed cannabis supporters, and supporters of science and logic, that marijuana is a Schedule I substance. Schedule I is defined as, “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.” Anyone who has researched cannabis knows that cannabis doesn’t fit that description.

Cannabis has medical value, proven by the fact that the federal government has patents related to cannabis’ medical properties, the federal government grows medical marijuana at the University of Mississippi, and has been supplying medical marijuana to federal medical marijuana patients for many, many years. Those facts alone are enough to highlight the hypocrisy of marijuana’s current status as a Schedule I controlled substance. The federal government has been petitioned in the past to address this obvious disregard for reason, and each time the federal government has decided to keep marijuana’s classification right where it’s at on the Schedule I list.

A group of Senators sent a letter late last year urging the DEA to research and take action on rescheduling marijuana. In a letter dated April 4, the DEA responded to the Senators. Per the Huffington Post:

The Drug Enforcement Administration plans to decide whether marijuana should reclassified under federal law in “the first half of 2016,” the agency said in a letter to senators.

DEA, responding to a 2015 letter from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other Democratic senators urging the federal government to facilitate research into marijuana’s medical benefits, doesn’t indicate whether it will reclassify marijuana as less dangerous.

The U.S. has five categories, or schedules, classifying illegal drugs or chemicals that can be used to make them. Schedule I is reserved for drugs the DEA considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no “current accepted medical use.”Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, along with heroin and LSD. Rescheduling marijuana wouldn’t make it legal, but may ease restrictions on research and reduce penalties for marijuana offenses.

I recently wrote an article in which I stated my opinion on whether Obama would reschedule marijuana prior to leaving office. Unfortunately, I don’t think that he will, which is unfortunate. I don’t fault Obama for not being able to reschedule marijuana while in office, as doing so via administrative action would not be an easy task due to the layers of bureaucracy that he would have to deal with. However, I do fault him for not at least trying. If he can’t get the job done, I’d understand. But to not champion the issue, and not do what he can to make it happen, is very lame in my opinion. I get the feeling from the DEA letter response to the Senators that while a decision will be coming by ‘mid year,’ I don’t expect it to be favorable. Call it a hunch. But I’d be pleasantly surprised if it happened, and won’t knock those that are hopeful for a favorable decision!


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Johnny Green


  1. Cannabis should not be scheduled at all, let alone be in Schedule I.

    It is absurd that the Federal Government still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance along with Heroin. It is classified in a more dangerous category than Cocaine, Morphine, Opium and Meth. The three required criteria for Schedule I classification are:

    “1) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.”

    The dependence rate of cannabis is the lowest of common legal drugs including tobacco, caffeine, alcohol, and many prescription drugs. More important, cannabis does not cause the kind of dependence that we typically associate with the term, like that of alcohol or heroin. It is more similar to that of caffeine, with less symptoms. Cannabis dependence, in the very few who develop it, is relatively mild, and usually not a significant issue or something that requires treatment, unless of course it is court ordered. [Catherine et al. 2011; Lopez-Quintero et al. 2011; Joy et al. 1999; Anthony et al. 1994;]

    “2) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

    Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Despite great difficulty in conducting medical cannabis research, the medicinal efficacy of cannabis is supported by the highest quality evidence. [Hill. 2015] Already 76% of doctors accept using cannabis to treat medical conditions even though it is still illegal in most places. [Adler and Colbert. 2013]. Cannabis is able to treat a wide range of disease, including mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few. Cannabis is able to do this partially through its action on the newly discovered (thanks to cannabis) endocannabinoid system and the receptors CB1 and CB2 which are found throughout the body. [Pacher et al. 2006; Pamplona 2012; Grotenhermen & Müller-Vahl 2012].

    “3) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”

    On September 6, 1988, after two years of hearings on cannabis rescheduling, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young concluded that:

    Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…. Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.

    Relatively speaking cannabis is a safe drug [Iversen L. 2005]. The evidence is is clear, cannabis does not belong in Schedule I [Grant et al. 2012]. It does not meet any one of the three required criteria.

    Please help bring end to this senseless prohibition. The organizations below fight every day to bring us sensible cannabis policies. Help them fight by joining their mailing lists, signing their petitions and writing your legislators when they call for it:

    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Projecthttp://www.mpp.org/
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliancehttp://www.drugpolicy.org/
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Lawshttp://norml.org/
    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionhttp://www.leap.cc/


    –Adler and Colbert. Medicinal Use of Marijuana — Polling Results. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013.
    –Anthony et al. Comparative epidemiology of dependence on tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, and inhalants: Basic findings from the National Comorbidity Survey. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. 1994.
    –Catherine et al. Evaluating Dependence Criteria for Caffeine. J Caffeine Res. 2011.
    –Grant et al. Medical marijuana: clearing away the smoke. Open Neurol J. 2012.
    –Grotenhermen F, Müller-Vahl K. The therapeutic potential of cannabis and cannabinoids. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2012. Review.
    –Hill K. Medical Marijuana for Treatment of Chronic Pain and Other Medical and Psychiatric Problems. A Clinical Review. JAMA. 2015. Review.
    –Iversen L. Long-term effects of exposure to cannabis. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2005. Review.
    –Joy et al. Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base. Institute of Medicine. 1999.
    –Lopez-Quintero et al. Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011.
    –Pacher et al. The endocannabinoid system as an emerging target of pharmacotherapy. Pharmacol Rev. 2006. Review.
    –Pamplona FA, Takahashi RN. Psychopharmacology of the endocannabinoids: far beyond anandamide. J Psychopharmacol. 2012. Review.

  2. sooner they stop the war against their own people, which wikipedia describes in part on high treason’s definition in part, 3rd paragraph second sentence

    the sooner they start doing right the better, it seems without cannabis, and thc in them, the folk in government seems to have lost they’re ambition to honor the constitutional rights of those who cannabis, and for that, shame on them, they are an embarrassment to any sane society, and a menace to all

  3. Sharon Taulbee on

    Not gonna keep my fingers crossed and sure as hell not gonna hold my breath…..seems like getting Senators Greenley and Feinstein replaced on the committee would be more likely yet again I’m not gonna cross fingers or hold breath…..we need a powerful lobbyists in our corner…any volunteers?…….didn’t think so

  4. So instead.of a felony posession of a schedule 1 drug and then Shazam Now you still get a felony or 3 or 4 years probation. 6 of 1 half dozen other other. You still get ran through the courts and make the lawyers rich because just like Matt Abel who is a lawyer wrote the Michigan law so poorly that he knew he would make a fortune defending all the dispensary and growers. He is the epitome of the wolf guarding the hen house.

  5. Schedule 2 would open the door for monster- Santos to do their FrankenGMO thing. Purity laws first, then DE schedule.

  6. So these people are going to reschedule something that keeps their offices rolling in the money? Unlikely to happen but I guess there is always a chance even if it’s a small chance.

  7. Having just spent the better part of an hour reading the 26 pages (included the attached appendix info) of the DEA’s response to the Senators’ letter, I can assure you, there is very little hope. According to the letter, the DEA received the FDA’s recommendation and have been “reviewing” the documents since last December. If you ask me, they’re making sure they have their bureaucratic asses covered when they, once again, deny the currently pending petitions to reschedule. Frankly, the only useful information included was in the appendix of the various strains produced and supplied by the NIDA, and also that the number of researchers supplied each year is in the SINGLE DIGITS (except for 2014 — that was twelve).

    Even if the FDA recommended rescheduling cannabis, the DEA has the stipulations of the Controlled Substances Act as well as the 1961 Narcotics Treaty to justify not rescheduling. They’ll use any semantic and legal trickery they can possibly dredge from the bottom of their barrel of BS to prevent cannabis from budging one inch from Schedule 1.

    Apparently the Senators also asked about the nine million layers of nonsense US-based researchers must go through to get a supply of cannabis, while researchers in other countries (the UK, Canada, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Uruguay, and Israel) who all abide by the Single Convention on Narcotics are surpassing us in medical cannabis research in leaps and bounds. The DEA’s response, in short: “Ask them, not us.” Meanwhile, in the last two years, US-based financial institutions have invested around $50 million into medical cannabis research in Israel, alone. Does the DEA care? Nope!

    The DEA says that they will indeed decide the pending petitions for rescheduling in the “first half” of 2016, but given how the letter read like 26 pages of begrudged legal speak (they vaguely reference the “stipulations” and “provisions” they’re adhering to without actually specifying *what they SAY*), any follow-up letter from these Senators will likely be met with an equally dense, equally uninformative, equally annoying response. Every last answer to every last question, tersely put, was “We’re acting in accordance with the law.” Because our laws give them the right to make rescheduling as painful as possible, they do. Unless our lawmakers get their act together and CHANGE the law, the DEA will continue unabated.

  8. What! And admit they have been wrong all these years about cannabis? If there were a Schedule Zero, they’d put cannabis on it, just below Kryptonite.

  9. Lawrence Goodwin on

    Moving “marihuana” to Schedule II is certainly not acceptable, but it will cause an explosion of new, domestic scientific research. That, in turn, will prove beyond ANY doubt how cannabis flowers offer us miraculous medicinal products (just as they always have). Plus, anyone who knows how to educate themselves on this subject (as opposed to blindly trusting media or public ‘officials’) understands why it’s impossible for Hillary Clinton to “take credit” for such a “re-scheduling.” The Drug Enforcement Administration’s own judge, Francis Young, proposed moving “marihuana” to Schedule II in September 1988, calling cannabis flowers “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” and women. That was 4 years before the Clintons were first able to occupy the White House. The DEA administrator simply ignored Young, and a long line of successors have prolonged one of the biggest national scandals since Watergate. The “marihuana” fraud must be exposed as the evil blight on our noble republic that it truly is.

  10. PhDScientist on

    The best move is to de-schedule it completely.
    That’s the right move based on the facts.
    If not, it should be on no more restrictive a Schedule than 4 or 5 since pure THC (Marinol) is on Schedule 3.

  11. David Yoseph Schreiber on

    Mid year means June 30. A count down of the days may be in order. That means 85 days from today.

  12. saynotohypocrisy on

    Schedule II would mean cannabis is still considered to have a high potential for abuse. In the real world, if cannabis has a high potential for abuse, alcohol has an extremely high potential for abuse. But they love them their alcohol, and they’re special, not like us peons.

  13. I am highly doubtful that the Dea will reschedule Marijuana to anything favorable they will probably reduce it to schedule 2 which is better than schedule 1 but doesn’t really do as much as needed. They can still arrest people with Marijuana

  14. PhDScientist on

    We in the US should do what the Israeli’s are in the process of doing with respect to Marijuana – Make it available at and any and every Pharmacy for any Physician to prescribe for any purpose they feel it will help.

    Marijuana has an unmatched safety profile and an incredibly wide therapeutic index..

    Google Marijuana therapeutic index

    The Israeli’s say it best — Marijuana is a “Gift from God” — “Tikkun Olam” — “To Heal The World”

  15. TheSinnedAngel on

    It’s no accident the DEA will make an announcement in the middle of a tumultuous election year. They have waited 10 years in the past to make these decisions.
    I smell a political rat.

    They’ll make it S2 if Hillary gets the nomination knowing it will hold us off for at least another 10-15 years.. AND of course, Hillary will take credit for it as “her idea”
    (and worst of all, anyone who applies for testing under S2 will probably be forced to use the govt UofMS crap weed. That will guarantee it helps no one)

    If Bernie gets the nomination it will stay S1 and they will align with GrASSly to battle Bernie every inch of the way to get it descheduled entirely as he said he will do.


    The Sinned Angel

  16. Exactly Moldy, if rescheduled to #2 the raids will continue, the mass incarceration of our youth will continue, new prisons will be built to house the ever growing “criminal” population.

    Nothing will change with a schedule 2 status other than SOME research will be easier to do but research permits will still be in the control of the DEA and they have yet to give a permit to anyone seeking positive results. They have only issued research permits if you want to prove how harmful cannabis is.

    I think this is just a shitty move by the DEA to stall legalization. “We have removed the barriers to research on cannabis” is what they will tout as huge move on their part to try and appease Senators that are screaming the loudest.

  17. PhDScientist on

    The level of agreement among Scientists that Marijuana needs to be taken off of Schedule 1 immediately is massive, because the empirical evidence is overwhelming — everything from individual Cancer patients experiences with Marijuana oil to large scale “Big Data” studies that provide hard evidence the protective effects of Marijuana use.

    One of the most exciting stories, and one everyone who cares about Medical Cannabis should know about, is the Kaiser “Big Data” Cancer Study which showed that men who use Cannabis have a 45% lower rate of Bladder Cancer — the fourth most common form of Cancer.

    These results are EXTREMELY significant. They show beyond any doubt that Marijuana reduces cancer rates and in the case of bladder Cancer they do so to an amazing extent.

    Kaiser is a MAJOR HMO, and the study involved the medical records of 82,050 men form Northern and Southern California.

    The results were presented at the American Urological Association 2013 Annual Scientific Meeting.

    Again, this is an extremely significant result and makes it absolutely. imperative that Marijuana be removed from Schedule 1 immediately.

    For more information, google “kaiser 45% less bladder cancer”

  18. Fungi Sclerotia 1427 on

    It should be de-scheduled entirely,
    (not merely made “legal as cocaine”, a.k.a. CARERS Act),
    as Senator Sanders’ SB 2237 “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act” proposes to do…

  19. The DEA is just stalling. If they do move it down I’ll bet you an oz that it will be in schedule #2 so they can still hassle and arrest anyone they want.

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