Although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has mostly blamed its cronies over at the Food and Drug Administration for its unwillingness to downgrade the Schedule I classification of cannabis, a new report has found that the FDA is somewhat perplexed by the federal rescheduling process and believes the policy should be amended.
Recently, the folks at ATTN: obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act which show the FDA’s confusion over the strict rules outlined by the DEA for rescheduling substances under the Controlled Substances Act. A letter penned by the health agency’s Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff, which accompanied the FDA’s latest marijuana rescheduling recommendation, suggests the Department of Justice should consider reevaluating “the legal and regulatory framework” it uses to determine whether marijuana should still be considered one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
“[National Institute on Drug Abuse] points out that another potential area for review is the legal and regulatory framework applied to (1) the assessment of abuse liability for substances in Schedule 1 (including the comparative standard used to assess the relative risk of abuse) and (2) the assessment of currently accepted medical use for drugs that have not been approved by FDA,” the letter reads.
“While potentially daunting (depending on its nature and scope), re-evaluation of the legal and regulatory framework by DOJ/DEA and [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services] could identify ways to encourage appropriate scientific research into the potential therapeutic benefits of marijuana and its constituents,” it continues.
While the FDA did recommend that the DEA should keep marijuana bound by the restrictions of a Schedule I classification, the letter indicates that the agency has identified some flaws in the DEA’s criteria for rescheduling drugs that could use an overhaul before additional petitions are submitted.
Basically, Ostroff seems to believe that marijuana should not be lumped into the same category as substances like heroin, but due to the rescheduling process designed by Uncle Sam’s leading dope henchman, the FDA has been forced to perpetuate the myth of cannabis being a dangerous/addictive drug.
In August, the DEA revealed that it would not remove marijuana from the confines of its Schedule I listing. In an interview with NPR, acting DEA administrator Chuck Rosenberg said the “decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is safe and effective medicine…and it’s not.”
However, he failed to mention that the FDA was not completely convinced that maintaining a Schedule I classification for marijuana was the best move—but the eight factors the DEA currently allows the agency to consider when making this decision offered no other option.
Cannabis reform advocates say they would like to see the federal government devise a new policy for reviewing marijuana.
“I think this letter shows that they know that [the DEA’s] framework is inflexible and that it is preventing further scientific research,” Mike Liszewski, the director of government affairs at Americans for Safe Access said.
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