DEA Makes Decision on Marijuana Rescheduling

The petitions called for the drug to be changed from a Schedule I to a Schedule II.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced several marijuana-related actions, including those related to scientific research, scheduling of marijuana, and cultivation of industrial hemp under the Agricultural Act of 2014. 

The DEA has denied two petitions to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In response to the petitions, the DEA requested a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The HHS concluded that marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision. Therefore, the HHS recommended that marijuana remain in Schedule I. Based on the HHS evaluation and all other relevant data, the DEA has concluded that there is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from Schedule I. 

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Regarding research on the medicinal uses of marijuana, the DEA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believe that scientifically valid and well-controlled trials performed under investigational new drug (IND) applications are the most appropriate way to conduct research. The drug approval process is also the most appropriate to assess whether marijuana-derived products or its constituents are safe and effective and whether it holds an accepted medical use.

The Agency also announced an expansion in the number of DEA-registered marijuana manufacturers, providing researchers with more varied supply of marijuana. Currently, only one entity is authorized to produce marijuana to supply researchers. The new policy will enable more entities to register with the DEA to grow and distribute marijuana for FDA-authorized research purposes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also released a statement of principles regarding provisions of the Agricultural Act of 2014 related to the cultivation of industrial hemp. The statement of principles serves to inform how Federal law applies to activities associated with industrial hemp grown and cultivated. It outlines legalized growing and cultivating of industrial hemp for research under specific conditions. Also, it addresses issues including the extent to which private parties may grow industrial hemp as part of an agricultural pilot program, when sale of hemp products is permitted, and other related topics. 

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