DEA Claims Marijuana Rescheduling Decision Is Close

Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced earlier this year that it would reveal its decision on whether to downgrade the Schedule I listing of cannabis within the first half of 2016, it appears that Uncle Sam’s leading dope henchmen are still at the drawing board—reportedly dissecting the plant in an attempt to determine which compounds may be important for medical use and which ones must remain classified as a public menace.

On Tuesday, DEA spokesperson Russ Baer told the Cannabist that while the agency was not yet prepared to make a determination on rescheduling cannabis, it was in the “final stages” of its eight-factor evaluation process, suggesting that a decision, whatever that might be, is well within reach. However, Baer refused to say when the cannabis community could expect the news.

“I can’t give you a time frame as to when we may announce a decision,” he said. “We’re closer than we were a month ago. It’s a very deliberate process.”

What is known is that the DEA has received “scientific and medical evaluations” along with a scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services. A letter dated April 4, 2016 indicates that the agency has met with officials with the U.S Food and Drug Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse to assist in the rescheduling debate.

Yet, Baer would not give any indication as to whether those recommendations were in favor of a reschedule or if all of the noise we’ve been hearing on this issue is simply the product of a long con.

All of the wild-eyed hope for a marijuana reschedule really heated up this year when the DEA fired off a letter to Senator Elizabeth Warren in April, suggesting that the agency’s plan was to make a rescheduling announcement “in the first half of 2016.” Of course, confusion surrounding the implications of the DEA’s agenda quickly produced a number of ridiculous reports implying that marijuana was soon to be made legal in every state across the nation. This is far from true.

As it stands, marijuana is classified a Schedule I, dangerous drug under the confines of the Controlled Substances Act. In the eyes of the federal government, this means that anything derived from the cannabis plant has no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. But a schedule downgrade would make some modest changes to Uncle Sam’s hammer-fisted attitude toward the herb—opening up the plant to be considered as having some worth in the scope of modern medicine.

Yet, unfortunately, it does not sound like the DEA—or the rest of the agencies with their hands in the rescheduling decision—are interested in loosening the restrictions for the entire plant.

Last month, Baer told aNewDomain that the DEA and other governmental agencies were struggling with the cannabis debate because they were still trying to “identify the parts of the plant that might have benefit, and separating out (the beneficial) components and distinguishing which “aren’t beneficial or harmful.”

Therefore, it is conceivable that if and when the DEA’s decision is finally made public, it will be somewhat of a disappointment—possibly only coming with a reschedule for non-intoxicating compounds like cannabidiol (CBD), while leaving our good friend tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the ranks of killer substances like heroin.

What is important to understand is that even if the DEA unleashes the cannabis plant, in its full form, very little will change for the average stoner or medical marijuana patient. A recent report from the Brookings Institution indicates that a decision to make marijuana a Schedule II drug would not have any impact on the medical marijuana industry, nor would it lead to national drug store chains, like CVS and Walgreens, stocking their shelves with cannabis products.

What’s more, as Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML pointed out in his latest analysis, rescheduling cannabis will not even make the herb that much more “accessible for clinical study.”

“These goals can only be accomplished by federally descheduling cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal intrusion,” Armentano wrote. “If the DEA fails to take this opportunity to take such action, then it is incumbent that Congress does so posthaste.”

  1. We now know what, “the first half of 2016″, means in DEA speak. We are about to know what they mean by, “sometime soon”. Here’s a slippery one: Chasing around private citizens sneaking cannabis tinctures into their bags “just isn’t a priority right now.”

  2. Uh-huh. I have no doubt it’s a “deliberate” process. Every single time the DEA has arbitrarily and capriciously ignored the piles of mounting evidence justifying reclassifying cannabis, opting instead to maintain its inappropriate place in Schedule 1, they have done so quite deliberately.

    Everything the DEA does concerning cannabis is absolutely DELIBERATE. They deliberately hold cannabis to an unbelievably ridiculous standard while allowing other significantly more dangerous drugs — legal drugs — to slowly drown the public. That’s why overdoses from prescription medications have become the #1 cause of death due to injury in the United States, outpacing both GSW’s and traffic fatalities.

    If you need convincing of how the DEA has DELIBERATELY blocked and hampered any/all cannabis research (research that would prove cannabis is both safe and medically efficacious) from happening, then consider the story of Dr. Lyle Craker. In 2001, Dr. Craker wanted to obtain a license from the DEA to produce cannabis for MAPS research, so he applied. The DEA used petty stall-tactics for over a year before they even began to *consider* Dr. Craker’s application in 2002. Dr. Craker’s application was still unanswered by the DEA in 2004, so Dr. Craker sued them for indefinitely delaying it, and the DEA responded by rejecting his application. So Dr. Craker sued the DEA *again*, requesting an Administrative Hearing, which he was granted. In 2007, after two years of giving evidence, Administrative Law Judge Ellen Bittner issued an 87-page opinion recommending that Dr. Craker’s application be GRANTED. The DEA ignored the ruling until 2009, when Michelle Leonhart rejected the recommendation. Dr. Craker immediately sought reconsideration, which Leonhart *again* rejected two years later in 2011. Dr. Craker tried appealing this rejection in the First Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld Leonhart’s rejection in 2013.

    The DEA put Dr. Craker through twelve years of bitter legal struggle simply because he wanted to legally produce cannabis for clinical research. No other Schedule 1 substance has ever been subject to such staunch, abhorrent obstruction and delay. I can assure you, every single obstacle they placed in Dr. Craker’s path was DELIBERATE.

      1. It’s understandable.
        What would you rather do, engage violent criminals who are a
        danger to society or chase people growing plants?

  3. It is important to keep cannabis illegal so that voters continue to support Democrats – the only party that will do something about prohibition – eventually.

    1. Conspiracy theory that is actually true. And why Hillary just might beat trump in November despite the fact she is a felonious crook. Chris krispy kreme Christy also did trump no favors by latching onto him like a ravenous squirrel after Republican voters gave Christy the middle finger. Some fat pigs just don’t get it that they are hated and then bring down others as well rather than just retire in shame.

  4. What is this DEA you speak of? I don’t need a government agency to tell me whether or not it’s okay to smoke a plant.

    1. The DEA,
      you know, the guys who party with cartel strippers, shake down tourist’s with cash and ‘confiscate’ it even without charging them, help their drug dealing buddies in Mexico with weapons of war AND get paid $7 Million A DAY by me and YOU to do it!
      THAT DEA.

    1. Really dude? haha Fatuity? (foolish or stupid). Here’s another new word to learn:

      In 1988, the DEA’s own administrative law judge said it would be “unreasonable, arbitrary and CAPRICIOUS (odd notion) for the DEA to stand between suffering Americans and the medical benefits of cannabis”.

      That’s right folks, in 1988, Judge Francis Young, the DEA’s own law judge, recommended removal from class 1, only to be ignored.

      Before that, in 1972, Richard Nixon’s “National Commission on Marijuana” recommended removal from class 1 AND decriminalizing cannabis, only to be ignored.

      The most amazing fact:
      $7,000,000.00 Per Day.

  5. Deschedule Cannabis not reschedule. The US Govt cannot ignore Israel’s legal medical cannabis program and how well it works. Don’t ever quit on cannabis, it’s your health. The hypocrites and fraud will learn someday Cannabis is not dope, it’s everything from rope to hope.

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  7. The DEA’s time has past and they are no longer needed nor can we justify their $15 BILLION dollar budget.
    The juice just ain’t worth the squeeze. Its time we give them the boot..

  8. …you best believe that their decision will “deliberately” be dropped in the 11th hour before elections to minimize rebuttals & maximize political hay. Look up Drug Scheduling on the DEA website and read the criteria for placement in a particular schedule. In all honesty, marijuana BARELY qualifys as Schedule IV, in fact, it shouldn’t be scheduled at all.
    Sadly, pragmatic solutions, honesty, & facts take a back seat when budgets, money, & power are at stake…

  9. Great article with one major correction required;
    “…reschedule non-intoxicating compounds like CBD…”
    Please… PLEASE… Stop calling or even insinuating THC is an “intoxicant.” It is psychoactive, true, but in order to be defined as “toxic” THC must be deadly, and THC has never killed anyone in human history as it is impossible to overdose from our limited endocannabinoid receptors.
    Already prohibition groups like Project SAM and Sheldon Adleson are funding propaganda that even reached “Here and Now” from NPR with Dr. Wang from Childrens Hospital in Colorado that exaggerates and lies about a “rise” or “spike” in first-time-funded data that reports to poison control are increasing for accidental “poisoning” or “intoxication” from marijuana edibles to children. We can’t proliferate this propaganda.
    Its easy; THC is non-toxically psychoactive; NOT poisonous or intoxicating! Only smoked cannabis has some mild carbon-toxins and these are far outweighed by the benefits of smoked cannabis. Please edit!
    Thank you!

  10. Obama’s daughter is twerking like a coon in sea of white supremacy. Michelle Obama wears clothing of a racist (Lady Gaga), and a negro in Indiana can’t use indica pot for sleep reasons as he struggles to stay awake on his 3rd shift job in security. Life sucks and people are going to die.

    1. She was just dancing. I guess kids can’t have fun nowadays. If you have a daughter be for sure she’s twerking to nicki minaj while you’re at work. Lady Gaga is literally owned by Akon. Akon is black.

  11. We are talking about the same Dea that just compared cannabis and meth grow houses to one another or is it the same Dea that is trying to send a kid to prison for a joint? All these years and they still don’t have a clue?

  12. The DEA prevaricates and continues to dissemble about cannabis. Their organizational survival and budgets depend upon perpetuating cannabis prohibition. The DEA lies as a matter of policy and this rogue agency needs to be disbanded and its law enforcement responsibilities assigned to other existing law enforcement entities.

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  14. The federal government never had any authority by itself to regulate cannabis in the first place. This is why alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment. I suppose an explanation is in order for those who have been misinformed about the nature of federal authority:

    The commerce clause was intended to prevent states from engaging in regulatory trade and tariff wars. It also provided a neutral venue in the federal courts for the resolution of interstate trade disputes. But the gangsters in Washington seized upon this as a way to gain control over absolutely everything through a non-democratic process. They declared that everything in existence can be vaguely related to interstate commerce and thus subjected to federal regulation without the ratification implied by the tenth amendment. The congress usurped these regulatory powers from the states so they could sell exemptions to corporate cartels, and the same is going on with the tax code. The supreme court inexplicably accepted this nonsense, and now we live under the tyranny which the founders warned us about:

    The commerce clause granted the federal government the power to REGULATE INTER-state commerce in a very limited fashion. However, in Gonzales v. Raich the supreme court held that the federal government could totally PROHIBIT agriculture WITHIN a state on the grounds that one plant would someday cross state lines and thus render all plants under federal jurisdiction! No sincere student of American history and constitutional law would interpret the constitution that way, and this is precisely what Jefferson tried to warn us about. He repeatedly stated that an unimpeachable supreme court would strike down the constitutional limits on federal power, forcing the states into a position where they would have to secede if they want to uphold the separation of powers which they intended when they ratified the constitution.

    In Raich, the ninth circuit court of appeals said: “We find that the appellants have demonstrated a strong likelihood of success on their claim that, as applied to them, the Controlled Substances Act is an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ Commerce Clause authority.” But when this case reached the supreme court, the president argued (through his DoJ appointees) that if a single exception were made to the Controlled Substances Act, it would become unenforceable in practice. (Well yes, of course, the Bill of Rights was DESIGNED to make a federal dictatorship unenforceable!)

    Do you see what the feds were doing here? They are treating this as a war on plants, instead of a war on human rights. They shamelessly and publicly asserted that the tenth amendment is void because it contradicts the Controlled Substances Act, and not a word was spoken of this in the mainstream news media! It was for all practical purposes a silent coup that went completely unnoticed, except in retrospect.“bill+of+rights”+”void+where+prohibited+by+law”&tbm=isch

    Note how the corporate media syndicates and the public school system never explain WHY a supreme court with absolute authority was regarded by Jefferson (and all sincere scholars) as the foundation of a federal dictatorship. No such authority was explicity granted, and no one bothered to protest when it was asserted. The states delegated an extremely narrow and limited set of powers to the federal government, and reserved all others to themselves through a democratic process. But now the federal government believes it possesses jurisdiction over all of creation. If the opinion of the ninth circuit court of appeals was not specific enough, let me put it this way:

    According to the tenth amendment, the federal governent has no authority under Article I to regulate food or medicine outside the District of Columbia – and where it attempts to do so, more often than not it is done in a criminal manner on purpose. These federal gangsters should be removed from the states through a peaceful and symbolic act of secession, by passing a resolution in the state legislature which protects the public from attempts to enforce unconstitutional regulations. We should also be in the habit of voting against every incumbent member of congress who failed to repeal the Controlled Substances Act. This should be sufficient to send a message that unlawful power grabs will no longer be tolerated. If the other states resolve to eject a state from the union for defending the unalienable rights of its citizens, those citizens should regard it as a blessing: the chains of this outlaw bureaucracy now weigh so heavily upon the states that any state which is freed of them can expect to prosper.

    1. I’ve been voting against them for 25 years. Glad one other american has joined me. 299,999,998 americans to go.

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