D.E.A. Keeps Marijuana on List of Dangerous Drugs- NY TIMES
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision on Thursday to not remove marijuana from the list of the nation’s most dangerous drugs outraged scientists, public officials and advocates who have argued that the federal government should recognize that marijuana is medically useful.
Reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug would have made it easier to get federal approval for studies of its uses and paved the way for doctors to eventually write prescriptions for marijuana-derived products that could be filled at pharmacies, like other Schedule 2 drugs such as Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Eight Democratic legislators had urged the D.E.A. to reclassify marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts voiced her disappointment with the decision on Twitter. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a statement, “It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for the D.E.A. to get past antiquated ideology and make this change.”
Yet in a separate policy proposal also issued on Thursday, the agency handed researchers and advocates a victory in removing a significant roadblock to medical studies of marijuana. The D.E.A. said it will allow universities and even private companies to apply to grow marijuana for scientific research. For many years, the University of Mississippi has had a monopoly on that role as the sole D.E.A.-approved provider of marijuana, and researchers have long complained that the supply of the drug was grossly inadequate, stymying efforts to establish whether marijuana is an effective treatment for many diseases.
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the D.E.A., wrote in the decision that marijuana would remain a Schedule 1 drug because “it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse.” He said these criteria are set out in the Controlled Substances Act, which mandates scheduling decisions based on scientific data.
“Research is the bedrock of science,” he wrote, “and we will — as we have for many years — support and promote legitimate research regarding marijuana and its constituent parts.”
The District of Columbia and 25 states now allow the use of marijuana for a wide variety of medical conditions. The scientific evidence of its effectiveness is thin to nonexistent for many illnesses, including rheumatoid arthritis, Tourette’s syndrome and lupus. Reputable studies have shown it can relieve nausea, improve appetite and ease painful spasms.
But there is no drug derived from marijuana that has yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration
Kevin Thompson Regional Evaluator Region 9 Prevention Resource Center email@example.com
Catherine Saint Louis, “D.E.A. Keeps Marijuana on List of Dangerous Drugs,” New York Times, August 11, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/health/dea-keeps-marijuana-on-list-of-dangerous-drugs-frustrating-advocates.html
Published August 12, 2016.