The Drug Enforcement Administration is expected to make a huge announcement regarding marijuana sometime this year.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, in response to an open letter from a group of U.S. Senators inquiring about the agency’s stance on relaxing federal marijuana laws, dropped hints that a big change may be coming sometime this year.
According to a report from the Leaf Online, the directors of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Office of the National Drug Control Policy have hinted that the changes may even come before July 2016.
The DEA’s response to the senators’ inquiry offers new insights into the way the federal government treats cannabis and research surrounding the plant. The DEA acknowledged that the Food and Drug Administration followed through on its promise to deliver a recommendation about the current scheduling of marijuana. The drug is currently listed as Schedule I, alongside substances such as LSD and heroin.
The DEA wrote that it is “reviewing these documents and all relevant data to make a scheduling determination in accordance with the CSA (Controlled Substances Act.) “DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolutions of these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016,” the agency wrote.
This is not the first time marijuana’s Schedule I listing has been brought up with the DEA. There have been numerous requests in the past, and the DEA typically only will reschedule a drug at the request of the FDA or DHHS. While there is no guarantee that the DEA will formally reschedule cannabis this time around, the possibility remains intact.
The potential for an industry surrounding marijuana and its byproducts in the U.S. is huge, and significant industry interest has caught the attention of the DEA. Before a market can develop, however, policy makers must have a solid scientific understanding of the drug’s effects. Due to current restrictions, the scientific body of research surrounding cannabis is woefully inadequate.
The group of U.S. senators addressed the DEA in hopes of opening up new paths for research on marijuana and its potential medical benefits. The letter addressing the DEA can be found here.