DEA Doesn’t Budge on Marijuana Classification but Relents (A little) on Research

DEA Doesn’t Budge on Marijuana Classification but Relents (A little) on Research

By Ed Coghlan

If the medical benefits of marijuana are going to be approved by the federal government, it won’t happen while Barack Obama is President.

The Drug Enforcement Administration declared marijuana will remain a schedule 1 drug that has “no medical use or purpose” and has a high potential for abuse. It keeps marijuana in the same classification as heroin and cocaine.

At least 25 states and the District of Columbia have approved the use of medical marijuana for conditions including chronic pain, epilepsy, arthritis and glaucoma to name only a few conditions.

“This decision isn’t based on danger,” DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg told National Public Radio. “This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it’s not.”

As you can imagine, those who believe marijuana has medical benefits aren’t happy with the DEA.

“DEA’s decision flies in the face of objective science and overwhelming public opinion,” National Cannabis Industry Association executive director Aaron Smith said in a statement late Wednesday.

For medical marijuana proponents it appears that there is one piece of good news.

The New York Times reported the DEA Administration will allow other universities to apply to grow marijuana.

The University of Mississippi has been the only institution authorized to grow the drug for use in medical studies. As a result, the supply of marijuana federally approved for research purposes has been limited and very difficult to access.

Congress could always reschedule marijuana essentially preempting the DEA decision, but that’s not likely.

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

However, scientific study of the chemicals in marijuana, called cannabinoids, has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 18 comments for this article
  1. Cheri Furr at 8:08 pm

    Terry Lewis–you’re right on the money. And research at the University of Mississippi???? Since when have they been known for their stellar medical research??? I agree with another comment–alcohol is dangerous and regulated, taxed and illegal to sell to to anyone under 21. Just regulate marijuana, for God’s sakes! And grant exceptions to the age minimum if a doctor prescribes it for pain. We’re going backwards in this country. I am 61 years old, have had CRPS for 16 years, and I’m reminded of the film strips we were shown in 9th grade health on the “evils of Mary Jane,” depicting an evil-looking man with swirls of smoke all around him. Disgusting that our government is so stupid and still run by the good old white boys’ network!

  2. Connie at 5:43 pm

    Ellie, Suicide isn’t seen as a medical issue even when it is because of the sort of pain that you cannot bear nor see the end of, it’s seen as a psychological issue. I had a Pain doctor scream that at me! Of course if you have psych or addiction problems you can get treated for them. I will never understand! Years ago i had to cold turkey off pain meds as well ass all the other cr*p they make you take in order to get the pain meds (dr fired me) and i went to a methadone clinic, I didnt qualify for help because i didnt have tracks on my arms! Now after 10 years of properly using the same dosage of opiate pain medication i once again have to go off them, but thankfully am being taken off them fairly slowly, because of the guidelines that as far as i have read are for NEW patients. It used to mean something if a product was FDC approved but now if a product is approved by any “initials” i get very wary!

  3. Bruce at 1:40 am

    I violate my pain contract if I have a dirty urine test. BUT, you can get a medical pot card here in Las Vegas by getting an appt. with any number of people passing themselves off as doctors, including a guy who has billboard advertising calling himself Dr. Reefer. They recently allowed dispensaries to open up even though weed had been legal for 15 years without them. You should have seen the hearings on who got licenses to open the grow houses, you would have thought they were selling the right to print money. Oh wait…

  4. Drew P at 2:50 pm

    I’m moving to a state that has legalized marijuana because I can’t see spending the rest of my life on narcotics , which is my only legal option now. I refuse to live like that and I’m certainly not voting for 4 more years of do nothing, big government. A shakeup is long overdue

  5. Drew P at 2:37 pm

    They might as well say, ” The world is flat ” because other countries are doing medical research. Israel and England are two of the main countries, but the DEA has a financial interest in keeping marijuana illegal.

  6. Terri Lewis PhD at 2:04 pm

    I’d love to meet the ‘scientific advisory group’ that analyzed the lack of data on this decision. Wouldn’t you? Do you think they have a real scientist on the payroll?

    Let me see…PROP, interventional medicine groups, Mothers against Drunk Driving….

    Lets FOIA their research and meeting minutes.

  7. Angel at 1:39 pm

    Obama daughter was caught smoking pot and drinking at a concert last weekend. Obama himself used recreational marijuana. The hypocrisy is astounding.
    Personally I’ve voted to legalize marijuana in my home state. My pain doctor and neurologist prescribed it for me. After years of being highly sceptical of it’s medical benefit I tried in desperation, it’s been a miracle for me. It’s drastically reduced my seizures and immediately I stopped using my 2/100mcg fetanyl patches. It’s a miracle for me it’s given me my life back and others in pain others suffering with epilepsy and cancers deserve the same opportunity to access this valuable treatment opportunity

  8. RICHARD PRICE at 1:10 pm

    We don’t need the D.E.A.,F.D.A. and the other Authoritarian gangs. Marijuana is just one example of their incompetence and abuse of power.The way to control the drug problem is to get the D.E.A., The F.D.A. and the other law enforcement thugs out of the picture. Other country’s that allow its citizens access to pain medications and marijuana have no serious drug problem. It is these law enforcement Authoritarians and their political puppets who are using drugs as an excuse to wage war on the American Citizen and especially as an excuse to strip away everyone’s Civil and Human liberty’s. These renegade law enforcement groups are striping and plundering and bilking the social grant funding resources as well to fund their drug war against us all.

  9. Anne Fuqua at 12:12 pm

    Actually cocaine IS a Schedule II Control Substance, along with another real shocker methamphetamine. ENT’s use cocaine as a vasoconstrictive agent to stop bleeding in nasal procedures. The typical patient is someone with a nasal fracture (a misnomer anyway since the nose has no bone – only cartilege. Methamphetamine is commercially available as Desoxyn and is used most commonly used to as a second line agent in ADHD and narcolepsy. It definitely isn’t very commonly prescribed, but it IS LEGAL.

  10. johnny at 12:10 pm

    Heres how The dea can make money. Take every penny you have and invest in Frito Lay. After that legalize pot and watch your millions multiply by the hundreds.

  11. johnny at 12:03 pm

    And who has prevented research, wow i wonder.dea,
    Now they say they allow more,research the same exact place.Sad.
    And thousands more will die cause of opiates.Because of this. Congress get rid of them. But dont get me started on that group of spineless hipocrites.

  12. Linda Myers at 11:57 am

    Sadly, that is true. They couldn’t beat the Cartels, so they decided to go after doctors (who obviously are afraid, judging by the fact that they are patient dumping and decreasing the dosages) and those of us suffering every day of our lives. We can’t fght back and we cannot pay them off.

    After years of pain management on fairly low dose methadone, I have found myself suddenly with no pain medication and forced into sudden withdrawal when I went to my appointment on July 2ND of this year to find the door locked and several patients outside looking bewildered. When I contacted the office the following week to reschedule, the next appointment available was nearly a month away. They have no concern about their patients getting sick or possibly being hospitalized.

    Thank you DEA and CDC. You are causing great harm to people to make it seem as though you are protecting us.

  13. johnny at 11:54 am

    I think people have petitoned the dea since 1972 about rescheduling. 1972.Now look what yr it is.Obama was voted in on his ,,o I’ll basically do something about pot reform. Well what has he done. NOTHING.Except some pardons.,Hell theres recently a 71 yr old first time offender he didnt let out.
    Do you believe the dea is going to keep their words?????
    HARDLY
    SICK AND TIRED OF IT.

  14. Sheryl Donnell at 11:52 am

    Where is the oversight for the DEA? This is no longer about protecting citizens but about protecting Big Pharma’s Profits. The DEA was only to keep dangerous drugs out of our hands. Yet, it is already saying it knows the classification is wrong yet it is refusing good studies? I want to know why there is no one watching the DEA. And I want to know who is getting rich while chronic pain patients suffer.

  15. Linda Myers at 11:41 am

    Exactly. I believe the DEA is getting money from big pharma and other not so savoury groups. It is in their best interest to keep people suffering so they will become hopeless and turn to other avenues to handle their pain and illness. The lobbyists pay the government off to do things their way. They really can’t make enough money from a plant.

    They sell unlimited quantities of alcohol to anyone over 21. That is a very dangerous drug. It kills a lot more people than opioids, including innocent people. I’ve never heard of people dying from marijuana, but many people die from the new dangerous prescription drugs that are on the market and advertised every day on television and in other media.
    I read that most countries ban prescription drug advertising…but not the USA.

    Now the government is trying to stop vaping because people aren’t buying enough cigarettes. While vaping is likely not healthy, it’s a lot less damaging than cigarettes.

    It’s a shame our government makes decisions based on money rather than what is really better for the people of the United States. Land of the free?

  16. Bill H. at 11:05 am

    Frankly I do not trust nor believe what the DEA has to say any longer. A lot stems from the “opiate crises” leaving out completely and purposefully the Chronic Pain Syndrome patient basically keeping us on the same level as the drug addict (with the help from the CDC who I no longer trust either…it’s really a shame). With the DEA and medical marijuana, I feel the same way, and I also agree with MichaelL. The purpose behind the CDC and DEA is to protect the population from dangerous, non preforming drugs that have been tested thoroughly without bias, then coming up with recommendations if any. The opiates and marijuana both were done in a biased way. I take both the medical marijuana which does help with the nausea, appetite stimulant and some pain, and the oxycodones which most definitely keeps most of the fibromyalgia pain (as well as other pain) at bay. Sad that we can no longer trust what most governmental officials say, and we are suppose to rely on them!

  17. Ellie at 10:42 am

    There has been a pill form for cancer patents THC for years to better their appetite. How is this different if it is already been approved @ least in my state Pa. This alone validates that it is effective as an adjunct to help people in other words medicinal purposes not to get “high”. The dea doesn’t know these peoples health issues, this is just a conspiracy, suicide is going to be on the rise, as these patients feel as though they have no support & don’t want to live in their present life of pain & be a burden to their families. Does the government look @ these statistics, I believe they are indifferent.

  18. MichaelL at 10:02 am

    The DEA is into job preservation! They lie to protect their jobs!