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  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    The Obama administration has denied a bid by two Democratic governors to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws, keeping the drug for now, at least, in the most restrictive category for U.S. law enforcement purposes.

    Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg says the decision is rooted in science. Rosenberg gave "enormous weight" to conclusions by the Food and Drug Administration that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," and by some measures, it remains highly vulnerable to abuse as the most commonly used illicit drug across the nation.

    "This decision isn't based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine," he said, "and it's not."

    Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, alongside heroin and LSD, while other, highly addictive substances including oxycodone and methamphetamine are regulated differently under Schedule II of the law. But marijuana's designation has nothing to do with danger, Rosenberg said.

    In a letter to the petitioners, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and New Mexico nurse practitioner Bryan Krumm, Rosenberg said doctors are responsible for treating patients, but the FDA makes decisions about drug safety: "Simply put, evaluating the safety and effectiveness of drugs is a highly specialized endeavor."

    Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement that the decision was disappointing.

    "President Obama always said he would let science — and not ideology — dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value," he wrote.

    Most Americans support legalization, Angell wrote, and the federal government should at a minimum leave regulatory decisions to the states.

    Drug enforcers insist they are supportive of efforts to advance scientific research on marijuana. The DEA said it has "never denied" an application from a researcher to use lawfully produced marijuana in a rigorous medical study, and Rosenberg pointed out that research continues on a variety of subjects, including the effects of smoking marijuana in human subjects.

    In December 2015, federal authorities said, they made it easier for researchers conducting clinical trials on cannabidiol, a component of marijuana. Some scientists are studying whether the substance can help treat childhood epilepsy. "That would be a wonderful and welcome development," the DEA letter said, "but we insist that CBD research, or any research, be sound, scientific and rigorous before a product can be authorized for medical use."

    What's more, federal authorities said, they are increasing the amount of marijuana available for legitimate research. They said they will open up new avenues for more people and institutions to manufacture marijuana for scientific purposes. Currently, the University of Mississippi is the only such site in the U.S.

    "As long as folks abide by the rules, and we're going to regulate that, we want to expand the availability, the variety, the type of marijuana available to legitimate researchers," Rosenberg said. "If our understanding of the science changes, that could very well drive a new decision."

    Forty-two states and the District of Columbia allow some form of medical marijuana use, but the federal government has not taken that step despite prodding from federal lawmakers. Last month, the Democratic National Committee endorsed the idea of loosening federal restrictions on marijuana and "providing a reasoned platform for future legalization" in its platform.

    For now, there remain two ways to change the federal government's classification of marijuana: for a host of federal agencies including the DEA and FDA to sign off; or for Congress to pass a law, and for the president to sign it.

    To view the AA-Rosenberg-Marijuana-Petition-Ltr-08-11-2016 go here.

    By Carrie Johnson - NPR/Aug. 11, 2016
    Photo: Brendan Smialowski, getty
    Newshawk Crew

    Author Bio

    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.


  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    I'm sure I'm far from the only US citizen disappointed and frustrated by this latest US Government decision. I can't help but think it's all about money: the money drug companies wouldn't be making if they unchained the unfair marijuana regulations in existence, and about the power of the wealthy religious-right to keep the multitudes ignorant of the real facts behind cannabis.
  2. DiabolicScheme
    Job security for law enforcement. Just another showing of how fucking stupid and illogical our government is.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Leaving Cannabis and Heroin on Same Schedule-Level Bad Decision

    [IMGL=white]https://drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=51648&stc=1&d=1470934869[/IMGL]The United States Drug Enforcement Administration today rejected a pair of administrative rescheduling petitions challenging the federal classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance with no accepted medical utility.

    The agency’s decision continues to classify marijuana in the same category as heroin under federal anti-drug laws, maintaining that the plant possesses a “high potential for abuse” and that it lacks “accepted safety for use … under medical supervision.”

    To those familiar with the DEA’s history, the agency’s decision was hardly surprising. Over the past three decades, the agency has rejected four previous rescheduling petitions, and in 1990 the DEA even went so far as to set aside a determination of its own administrative law judge in order to maintain cannabis Schedule I criminal status.

    According to DEA acting administrator chief Chuck Rosenberg, the DEA’s determination was based on their opinion that cannabis is not yet established as a “safe and effective” medicine. But even a cursory review of the available evidence shows that this claim is based largely upon politics, not science.

    There exist over 25,000 peer-reviewed papers specific to cannabis (by contrast, a PubMed database search using the key word ‘adderall’ yields fewer than 200 total papers), and unlike conventional therapeutics, humans have been using cannabis for therapeutic purposes for thousands of years. Twenty-six states now authorize the plant’s medicinal use by statute, and one in eight Americans self-identify as current consumers.

    A recent review of FDA-approved clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbal cannabis concluded: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that Information on safety is lacking.”

    There is nothing scientific about willful ignorance.

    There is one bright spot in today’s actions. The agency also announced in a separate decision that it is adopting policy changes designed to expand the production of research-grade cannabis for FDA-approved clinical studies.

    Presently, any clinical trial involving cannabis must access source material cultivated at the University of Mississippi – an arbitrary prohibition that is not in place for other controlled substances. Today, the agency announced for the first time that it will consider applications from multiple parties, including private entities, to produce marijuana for FDA-approved research protocols as well as for “commercial product development.” Ironically, this change was initially recommended by the DEA’s own administrative law judge in 2007, but her decision was ultimately rejected by the agency in 2011.

    While this announcement is a significant step toward better facilitating and expanding clinical investigations into cannabis’ therapeutic efficacy, ample scientific evidence already exists to remove cannabis from its schedule I classification and to acknowledge its relative safety compared to other scheduled substances, like opioids, and unscheduled substances, such as alcohol. Ultimately, the federal government ought to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal intrusion.

    Since the DEA is unwilling to take such action, then it is incumbent that members of Congress act swiftly to amend cannabis’ criminal status in a way that comports with both public and scientific opinion. Failure to do so continues the federal government’s ‘Flat Earth’ position. It willfully ignores the well-established therapeutic properties associated with the plant and it ignores the laws in a majority of the county recognizing marijuana’s therapeutic efficacy and rapidly changing legal status.

    By Paul Armentano - The Hill/Aug. 11, 2016
    Photo: merryjane
    Newshawk Crew
  4. detoxin momma
    No you definitely are not, it has to be about money, it makes no sense.

    i am addicted to marijuana, and even i can't believe marijuana is still considered more dangerous than say, tramadol!
    thats pure craziness.
  5. Alfa
    Legalizations equals a significant funding decrease for the DEA, which affects jobs, income, opportunities, perks, etc. And that is just looking at the legitimate aspects of it.
    If you read into the geopolitical aspects were DEA agents have often been associated with drug trafficking and then it seems a much darker story and much higher geopolitical stakes involved.
  6. perro-salchicha614
    Don't forget about the corporations that run prisons and the police departments across the country that benefit from asset forfeiture laws. It isn't a coincidence that these groups spend a lot of money lobbying against legalization.
  7. scartissue_68
    While I was typing this. Alpha and Perro framed some new interesting points of view.. Believe what I wrote sill adds something to the thread:

    BT2H - Believe you're right about the AMA and Drug Companies wanting to keep Cannabis in Schedule I. But, there's a bigger player more nefarious and dangerous. A player highly invested in years of enforcing the hysteria about cannabis started in the 30's by Harry Anslinger (The First Director of the US Bureau of narcotics).

    There is a drug call Sativex that is approved in 15 countries for the treatment spasticity due to multiple sclerosis. http://www.gwpharm.com/sativex.aspx

    Sativex is the first commercial, legal drug made from natural Cannabis (unlike such compounds as Maranol). It was run through clinical trials here in the US, but despite its obvious effectiveness as medication, world-wide it was somehow found to be no more effective than placebo. (???). Who runs and pays for these Clinical Trails here in the US. That's right, Specialized doctors and The Drug Companies. But, the DEA can overrule both of these powerful societal entities.

    If Sativex were to be made legal for prescription, the walls of the Schedule I restrictions would begin to crumble, becasue this is a product made from Cannabis. If approved for use, Cannabis would have be re-scheduled. (As A side note: It would also be very expensive, as the drug would be proprietary...even though its actually a weed.)

    The DEA (and Bureau of Narcotics) has 79 years invested in the persecution of weed. They simply don't want to admit they've been wrong for so long and obviously, then be responsibility for all those people who spent time in jail for possession. Can anyone say "Class Action"?

    Seems Fucked Up, YES? It's like a giant "Who's on First" joke without any humor and perpetrated on us, the people.
  8. aemetha
    Interesting you mention Sativex. We're one of the countries that has it legalised for certain medical conditions, however the consequence of doing that rather than legalise medical marijuana is to price it quite literally out of everyone but the extremely wealthy's reach.

    You can read a bit about it in this article: https://drugs-forum.com/forum/showthread.php?p=1773592#post1773592

    I've said it in a couple of other similar threads, but I do think it bears repeating. Legalising cannabis through pharmaceutical company developed and patented extracts removes one of the really wonderful things about it. It is a drug that effectively treats a multitude of conditions and can be grown at virtually no financial cost in anyone's home. Handing it to the pharmaceutical companies while at the same time prohibiting the very people who need the drug from producing it for personal use is nothing but government mandated extortion.
  9. prescriptionperil
    Unfortunately, medical marijuana patients cannot grow weed in Connecticut. One of the few states where that's prohibited, plus with chronic pain my gardening days are pretty much over. Also, in Conn. weed is classified as Schedule II for research purposes.

    After Holder left office, he stated marijuana should not be Schedule I. Well, at least his leaving it up to state jurisdiction got the ball rolling.

    Oh, the liquor lobby and correction's officers were also are anti cannabis. Yet, with my state's current budget crisis, we could have used the revenue through full legalization. Mass. is about to vote on legalization, so I expect Conn. will follow suit soon. I doubt the genie's going back in the bottle despite the stupidity of the Feds.
  10. CaptainTripps
    I feel bad for the patients out there who could really benefit from a reschedule. But I truly believe that a reschedule will be a major set back for what most people want (at least most who are members of this site).:) True freedom.

    The reason we have legal recreational marijuana in 5 US jurisdictions is because of the gray area medical marijuana movement. Compassionate moderates allowed these laws to pass to help alleviate the suffering of cancer patients and others with serious medical conditions. If marijuana had been rescheduled to schedule 2 these laws would not have gotten off the ground. To make matters worse, most of todays current medical marijuana patients would not be getting prescriptions. Schedule 2 is like Oxycodone or morphine which are legal to prescribe , yet hard as hell to get.

    Where I live in Washington we had a medical marijuana law with a big loophole which allowed for dispensaries and for patients to grow 15 plants. It was hilarious to see twenty somethings jogging down to the pot store. It was an open joke, but the pot shops did do a couple of things. One they started to actually drive some of the black market growers out of business. Two the shops were good neighbors and the sky did not fall when a shop opened up down the block. Who woulda thunk? Civilization did not collapse

    If what you want is to have smokeable weed that you can use for whatever ales you, then a reschedule is not going to get you there. Even is it is schedule 3 or 4.

    All medicines are controlled by the FDA and their bed partners the drug companies. That is not even a conspiracy, it is right out front street. If cannabis is rescheduled it will be drug companies who will be the dispensers of the product. Whether in raw form or a refined chemical form. It is just that they make far more money on pills that would be hard to counterfeit. As long as it is medicine, it will be treated like medicine.

    Best scenario is for states where pot is completely illegal is to fight for compassionate medical marijuana laws, "because the mean old feds wont help the suffering".. In states where medical pot has been accepted, take the next step and legalize. This strategy has worked. Trust me, I am smoking 25% THC weed right now and I paid the same as I would have prior to legalization where the weed would have been a fraction of the quality. There are several states where it looks like cannabis reform looks very good. At a minimum we need the feds to look the other way (Obama Model) and hopefully to a federal law allowing states to do what they want (which I am hoping will be the Clinton Model).

    That is achievable as republicans have traditionally supported states rights and the libertarian wing supports legalization. More importantly you don't have to support pot to support states rights. Young people overwhelmingly support legalization and if you don't want to alienate the future it is time to reconsider prohibition. The democrats already have reform in their platform.

    What really disturbs me about this is that it shows that the drug warriors have not given up. That makes this coming election doubly important.
  11. Weltmeister
    This. The DEA has the power to schedule substances AND to enforce drug prohibition on them. This ensures that the DEAs main goal is to schedule as many drugs as possible and to keep them scheduled.
  12. Sushi
    DEA Refuses To Reschedule Marijuana; Rejects Medical Evidence

    The DEA on Thursday announced that it was not rescheduling marijuana, in effect refusing to recognize marijuana’s medicinal benefits. But in what is viewed as a victory for the marijuana reform movement, the DEA said that it was ending its monopoly on marijuana research.

    “Keeping marijuana in Schedule I shows that the DEA continues to ignore research, and places politics above science,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “In reality, marijuana should be descheduled and states should be allowed to set their own policies.”

    One move that was positive was eliminating obstacles to research. “Ending the DEA-enforced NIDA monopoly is a very welcome move that will enable more research,” said Collins.

    For decades, the DEA has promoted an unjustified monopoly on research-grade marijuana for use in federally-approved studies – which effectively made it impossible for scientists to put marijuana through clinical trials to demonstrate it meets FDA standards for medical safety and efficacy. Marijuana is the only substance in the world that DEA has prohibited from being produced by private laboratories for scientific research.

    Although the DEA licenses multiple privately-funded manufacturers of virtually all other scheduled drugs, it currently permits just one facility – operated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – to supply marijuana to scientists. And NIDA has a long track record of obstructing medical marijuana research – by manufacturing intractable delays, providing poor quality research material, and not providing marijuana for multiple FDA-approved studies. The announcement today should change that reality.

    Marijuana prohibition ruins thousands of lives every year through meaningless arrests – disproportionately impacting people of color,” Collins said. “Thankfully, voters in numerous states are legalizing marijuana through ballot initiatives. The next Administration must move quickly to end federal prohibition, and undo this destructive and racially-biased policy.”

    “President Obama always said he would let science — and not ideology — dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value,” said Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. Angell called the decision “disappointing.”

    Executives at New Frontier, a data provider in the cannabis industry, said they were not surprised by the DEA’s announcement to deny petition requests to change the legal classification of marijuana.

    “We do not see this announcement having much effect on the growth of the cannabis industry because the industry has been working under a Schedule I classification all along and has continued to grow,” said New Frontier CEO and founder Giadha DeCarcer. “However, it could spur advocates to make a more forceful argument through legalization on the state level since they are not seeing a change in attitude on the federal level despite, 89 percent of Americans being in favor or the legalization of medical marijuana, and 56 percent in favor of adult use.”

    “It is interesting, the striking contrast between the DEA stance that marijuana shows no medicinal value while the NIH website states they believe it is effective in the management of pain relief, epilepsy and certain forms of cancer,” DeCarcer said. “The NIH’s position clearly diverges significantly from the DEA that cannabis has no possible therapeutic value.”

    “From the cannabis research perspective, the market will benefit from more institutions being allowed to conduct research,” DeCarcer said. “A lack of access to various strains has always been an issue and this approach allows the DEA to spur more cannabis research while taking a go-slow approach on rescheduling.”

    Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California agreed that the decision to at least end certain research prohibitions by ending the University of Mississippi monopoly on growing federal cannabis represents progress. “These failed marijuana prohibitions stand between patients and their medicine,” she tweeted on Thursday.

    “Politicians aren’t doctors or scientists,” Rep. Lee posted on Twitter. “Marijuana research prohibitions are outdated, unscientific, and dangerous for those who need #MMJ [medical marijuana].”

    Cannabis has been objectively and scientifically determined to be safer than alcohol or tobacco, and the legal status of Cannabis needs to be taken into the same context as these other popular adult-use substances,” said Mark Slaugh, executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA). “The DEA has a vested financial interest in maintaining the prohibition of marijuana and furthering the war against it, which has locked up millions, destroyed countless lives, and squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

    States with legal marijuana understand the safe nature of this plant and its therapeutic benefit to many patients,” Slaugh said. “The American people have accepted marijuana in mainstream society and the question should not be one of rescheduling this plant, but rather, how do we effectively regulate cannabis in a de-scheduled world.”

    By Steve Elliott On August 11, 2016 at 11:43 am
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