Hillary Clinton vowed to take on The Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], which just denied a five-year-old petition to reschedule marijuana [cannabis]. The DEA is open to rescheduling, and President Barack Obama may have a surprise before he leaves office.
This means marijuana will remain classified at the very restrictive Schedule I phase for a while. Many politicians call it a “missed opportunity” and the DEA “frankly out of touch.”
Acting head of the DEA Chuck Rosenberg could review its decision under certain circumstances:
‘…if the scientific understanding about marijuana changes — and it could change — then the decision could change.’
The DEA also announced that it would ease restrictions on research of marijuana and its possible use as a medicine. Currently only researchers at the University of Mississippi are allowed to grow pot for research purposes.
The DEA announced it will allow universities to grown and research marijuana, instead of letting the Ole Miss [National Institute on Drug Abuse] monopolize the research. This can bring billions of dollars into local economies.
However, 25 states and the District of Columbia have some form of legalized marijuana.
Clinton intends to reschedule marijuana, if she becomes the next president. One of her senior policy advisors Maya Harris likes the research on marijuana progress. Harris released a statement:
‘We applaud the steps taken today by the Obama Administration to remove research barriers that have significantly limited the scientific study of marijuana.’
Harris says Clinton believes the research possibilities are important:
‘Marijuana is already being used for medical purposes in states across the country, and it has the potential for even further medical use.
‘As Hillary Clinton has said throughout this campaign, we should make it easier to study marijuana so that we can better understand its potential benefits, as well as its side effects.’
If Clinton becomes president, she will have more power:
‘As president, Hillary will build on the important steps announced today by rescheduling marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II substance.
‘She will also ensure Colorado, and other states that have enacted marijuana laws, can continue to serve as laboratories of
Before the DEA announced its decision, Clinton had pledged to reschedule marijuana. Marijuana Majority founder Tom Angell said the timing is “significant”:
‘I do think [Harris’ statement] is significant — for her campaign to reiterate their support for rescheduling just after the Obama administration denied rescheduling.’
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the DEA, said not all Schedule I drugs are equally dangerous, but none has an accepted medical use. Peyote and heroin are Category I drugs. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, because it can be used for medical purposes in some cases.
State-level government representatives from the two Pacific Northwest states that passed laws authorizing medical marijuana had hoped for more. Oregon Governor Kate Brown released a statement on Thursday:
‘For Oregon, the DEA’s decision only went half the distance. Broadening cannabis research beyond the National Institute on Drug Abuse is an important and necessary step.’
Spokeswoman Gigi Zenk from the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board expressed pleasure with the medical marijuana research aspect. However, the board will continue to advocate for rescheduling:
‘We continue to urge the federal government to reassess its position on marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I controlled substance.’
Oregon Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer is a strong supporter of cannabis issues and welcomes research expansion. He released a statement:
‘Marijuana shouldn’t be listed as Schedule I. It shouldn’t be listed at all.’
Other House members agree the DEA missed an opportunity. In Colorado, where marijuana is legal and a large source of tax revenue, Democratic Representative Jared Polis released a statement via email:
‘[The DEA’s] decision to keep marijuana as a Schedule I drug is frustrating, unscientific, and, frankly, out of touch.
‘This is further evidence that it is past time that Congress legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol, using Colorado as an example.’
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hopes Colorado universities can play a role in an expanded cannabis research program.
Colorado Pueblo county commissioner Sal Pace sees the news as a “mixed decision.” He predicted:
‘I still predict that lame-duck Obama will deschedule marijuana after the November election through an executive order.’