DEA to take decision on reclassifying Marijuana by July

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on April 09, 2016.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Thursday revealed that it would consider re-classifying marijuana from Schedule 1 controlled substances, on the same level as heroin, during the first half of 2016.

The DEA considers Schedule 1 drugs as “no medical use and a high potential for abuse,” as well as “potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Marijuana is currently listed under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug, and classified as one of the most dangerous and strictly regulated drugs in the United States.

In 2015, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, along with seven other senators, had asked for more information on marijuana’s scheduling and about limits on medical marijuana research. While responding, the agency said, “DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution of these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016.”

"The agencies' commitments to making a scheduling decision by mid-year and to providing transparency about the current supply of marijuana for research are significant steps in the right direction," said Elizabeth in a statement.

The Food and Drug Administration has also concluded a review of the safety of marijuana and its recommendation has been sent to the DEA.

The supporters for legalizing marijuana have long argued that the drug should be rescheduled, considering marijuana’s relative safety when compared to a drug like heroin, which caused around 11,000 overdose deaths in 2014, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Although the medical marijuana is federally prohibited, it is already legalized in 23 states and Washington DC to treat a variety of health problems, ranging from cancer to chronic pain.

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