The DEA Says No To Re-Scheduling Cannabis – And Why That’s Insane

There are sources from the DEA who are saying that the organization is going to release their official response to the request to reschedule cannabis today. They are reported saying they will keep cannabis at Schedule I, but allow more universities (there has only been one single one up to now) to grow the plant for researchers. NPR is quoting the DEA’s chief Chuck Rosenberg on the agency’s motivation saying, “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.” By law the DEA must follow in line with the recommendations of the FDA. The official release from the DEA was reported to be scheduled for today in the Federal Register.

Depending on if you are a glass half full or glass half empty person, you may be able to find the positive in this move by the DEA. Obviously, the fact that they chose to keep cannabis at Schedule I and reaffirm that they, and the FDA, believe cannabis has no accepted medical value plain sucks. If you have not already, please read my blog on how THC is actually scheduled TWICE, once as natural THC at Schedule I, and again as synthetic THC at Schedule III. Yes, I know, mind freakin’ blown! However, the DEA did say they will now start allowing additional locations to cultivate cannabis to be used in legal clinical trials. Up until now, only the University of Mississippi was the single location the DEA allowed to cultivate cannabis. They are reported as saying that they have “never denied” an application by a researcher to use legally cultivated cannabis in a medical study. That is only technically true, as they are one of up to three government bodies a researcher must get approval from prior to being allowed to conduct their study. In addition to the DEA, the FDA must give its blessing to the study, and if it is funded by tax dollars through NIDA they must also approve.

Here is one great example of how the DEA saying they do not hamper research is plain poppycock. If you have read Smoke Signals by Martin A. Lee you would have learned the truth about this topic. There once was a woman named Mary Jane Rathbun who was nicknamed ‘brownie mary’ that inspired a real doctor to research cannabis. That man, Dr. Donald Abrams, wanted to study how cannabis affected AIDS patients and if smoked cannabis or synthetic THC pills helped AIDS patients overcome ‘deadly wasting syndrome’. After hacking through a thicket of regulations and paperwork, he was ultimately denied permission because NIDA would not allow research into the benefits of cannabis, and only the harms of drugs. At the time NIDA’s director Alan Leshner clarified the spirit of the organization saying, “we are the National Institute On Drug abuse, not for Drug abuse.” Here is the kicker, after Dr. Abrams retooled his study to instead focus on proving that cannabis would harm the AIDS patients by compromising their immune systems further, NIDA gave a green light. Not surprisingly, the results showed that cannabis helped patients gain weight without weakening their immune systems.

The other must read for every cannabis advocate is Steve DeAngelo’s The Cannabis Manifesto. In his book he explains their spirit of saying, “NIDA has refused to fund research into the medical benefits of cannabis, claiming its charter prevents it from spending money on anything but the harms of drug use. Even worse, the agency has suppressed promising leads about the therapeutic potential of cannabis for extremely grave diseases like cancer.” Your tax dollars at work folks! If you didn’t already know your tax dollars are hard at work proving only the harms of cannabis, you have been enlightened. While private dollars can fund whatever their owners choose, Newsweek recently took the time to explain why it just doesn’t happen often. They explain that “the current regulations on federal marijuana prohibit providing researchers cannabis that will later be developed for commercial sale, and because any drug derived from cannabis needs to be developed from the exact same source of the plant to meet FDA regulations, pharmaceutical companies don’t have a motive to fund any research using federally grown cannabis—the only legal kind.”


Cannabis should not get a free pass to be rescheduled, the FDA/DEA/NIDA should allow the drug the same privileges of access to research and path to a sellable product as big-pharma drugs have always, and still do get. In short cannabis should go through the same process all FDA-approved drugs do, not around it through its own special path. I hope that this move by the DEA to open up more avenues will allow more researchers access to cannabis. The famous Dr. Sue Sisley, the first doctor to receive approval from all necessary agencies to study PTSD, was fired by the University of Arizona (who I think put their donors’ opinions ahead of science), and her study has been held up waiting for the DEA to pony up the legal cannabis she was approved to receive. By allowing more centers to cultivate legal cannabis for research, doctors like Sisley will be able to have access to the cannabis they need at the potency and strain they request. The big positive to focus on is that there is now a wider road to access for researchers to finally prove, in a way the FDA blesses and approves, that cannabis has medical value and acceptable medical use.

Now that you know your tax dollars are only allowed to research the harms of drugs via NIDA, what will you do? Now that you know the government talks out of both corners of its mouth when discussing the medical value of cannabis, what will you do? The FDA allows INSYS to legally produce synthetic THC and doctors to prescribe it. With their other hand, the government uses the DEA to define natural THC as having no medical value by keeping it as a Schedule I substance. That does not make any sense! Scream the truth from the rooftops people!

Meanwhile, on a super fun note…while the Obama administration is sitting idle and letting this travesty against logic pass, President Obama’s daughter, Malia Obama, was recently caught in Chicago at Lollapalozza on video smoking what is clearly something that looks a lot like a cannabis joint. Her father shouldn’t be too mad, as he experimented with cannabis as a young man himself. How’s that for ironic!!!

What will you do to share the truth that THC is double-classified, your tax dollars are only allowed to research the harms of cannabis via NIDA, and the FDA has dead-end built into the path to FDA-approved cannabis? Tell us in the comments below, or on Facebook!

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