DEA Softens Stance and Considers Rescheduling of Marijuana

By Veronica Morgan

DEA acting Chief Rosenburg has declared marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin.

DEA acting Chief Rosenburg has declared marijuana is not as dangerous as heroin.

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has begun to soften their stance on marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug.

Historically, since pot became illegal in the 1920’s, it was classified with other drugs such as heroin, LSD and 4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy).

This week, Chuck Rosenburg, the acting chief of the DEA was quoted as saying, ““heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana.”

This shift in ideology is significant because researchers have been stymied by the lack of availability of cannabis to study its effectiveness on disease and illness.

These studies were further complicated when individual states began to decriminalize cannabis, while the federal government maintained the Schedule 1 criminalization.

Recent studies have been demonstrating the effectiveness of cannabis, particularly cannabinoids, which is one of the two major elements in marijuana; the other being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the psychotropic element.

The DEA has previously challenged President Obama’s decision to leave marijuana legislation to the states. Much of the research being conducted is outside the USA. Israel and Australia are making huge advances in medical applications for cannabis.

Chart showing many uses for medicinal marijuana.

Chart showing many uses for medicinal marijuana.

With the Rosenburg announcement, the marijuana industry is claiming a victory, albeit small. The overall opinion seems to be that any movement on the part of the DEA is progress.

Industry leaders, researchers and growers are hopeful that the DEA’s relaxed response will promote Federal changes to the law. Those changes may be years down the road, but the first step has been taken.

As of now, researchers are studying the effects of marijuana, both short and long term. Not only has research proved that marijuana is not as dangerous as the feds once believed. Furthermore, there are studies proving the value of cannabis in healing and treating certain health problems.

Schedule 1 drugs are defined by the DEA as, “substances, or chemicals … defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

Science has proven the benefits of cannabidiol on the treatment of severe epilepsy, seizures, and many other serious health issues. Given the new evidence, it seems clear that Schedule 1 no longer applies to cannabis. This is the first step toward acceptance.

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