The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced on Thursday that it has denied two petitions to minimize the amount of federal restrictions on marijuana.
However, the DEA said they will increase the number of DEA-registered manufacturers that simply grow the plant in order to study the effects of it.
The press release stated:
This change should provide researchers with a more varied and robust supply of marijuana. At present, there is only one entity authorized to produce marijuana to supply researchers in the United States: the University of Mississippi, operating under a contract with NIDA…
Marijuana is currently on the Schedule 1 Controlled Substance list, indicating that there is “no currently accepted medical use” and has a “high potential for abuse.” The drug is listed alongside narcotics such as heroin, ecstatsy and LSD.
This announcement conflicts the federal goverment's stance on medical marijuana with that of 25 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized the use of medical marijuana.
Chuck Rosenburg, the acting administrator of the DEA, sent a letter to the petitioners, former state governors Christine Gregoire (Wash.) and Lincoln Chafee (R.I.), and explained the scientific and legal basis as to why the department denied the requests.
The letter stated:
Using established scientific standards that are consistent with that same FDA drug approval process and based on the FDA's scientific and medical evaluation, as well as the legal standards in the CSA, marijuana will remain a schedule I controlled substance.
If the FDA can determine that there is legitimate medical use for pot, then the DEA may change the drug's legal status.