DEA Refuses to Reschedule Marijuana

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the U.S. Department of Justice has studied the question of whether to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) more than once in the last 20 years. Today the DEA sent a letter denying the more recent petition of 2 state governors (from Rhode Island and Washington), who had asked the DEA to consider the rescheduling of marijuana.

A substance is placed in Schedule I under the CSA if 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. These criteria are set by statute; the DEA evaluated rescheduling also by applying “established scientific standards that are consistent with” the long standing drug approval process of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Based on the FDA's scientific and medical evaluation, as well as the legal standards in the CSA, the DEA concluded that marijuana will remain a Schedule I controlled substance.

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