The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently conducting research to see if marijuana should be downgraded from Schedule 1 to a lower, more appropriate classification. The review was requested by the DEA. Before people get too excited, realize that this is not the first time the DEA has asked the FDA to conduct a review. Similar analysis was conducted in 2001 and 2006, both times resulting in no action. Per Bloomberg:
Schedule 1 drugs carry the most restrictions of the five DEA classifications and are considered substances with no medical benefit that are highly addictive. Factors the FDA considers in making a recommendation include a drug’s abuse potential, its pharmacological effect and risk to public health, according to Throckmorton’s written testimony.
“This has big implications,” said Representative John Mica, a Florida Republican, who is leading the oversight hearing on pot research as part of an examination of changing societal attitudes about the drug.
Marijuana being scheduled as a ‘substance that has no medical value’ is one of the biggest shams in American public policy. Marijuana clearly has medical value, proven by the fact that the federal government supplies medical marijuana to four patients every month. Why the DEA requested the analysis right now is unclear, however, it comes at a time when at least 30 members of Congress are calling for rescheduling. I would speculate that this is a delay tactic so the feds can say ‘we are looking into it, check back later.’ Then the FDA will let it linger for as long as possible, just to conclude that no action is needed. I’m hopeful that’s not the case, but I won’t hold my breath.