Though the Justice Department agreed not to intervene in states where legal marijuana use is adequately regulated, the DEA has maintained that marijuana is a harmful drug with no medical benefits. According to reports, the agency has also obstructed potentially beneficial research that could direct a reclassification of the drug. The DEA continues to have discretionary powers over testing schedules, which makes it difficult for advocates to proceed with research. Some groups have suggested taking away the DEA’s authority to approve marijuana research.
A report published by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) calls on the DNA to end its monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research. The agency has systematically denied research requests and ignored calls to reclassify the drug. Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug akin to heroin and crack. Our Orange County medical marijuana research attorneys are dedicated to helping growers, dispensary owners and individual users protect their rights. We are also advocates for reducing restrictions on marijuana research to improve opportunities for treatment and care.
Rescheduling marijuana as Schedule 2 would give the Food and Drug Administration the ability to regulate the drug as a prescription medication. This would also give scientists and medical researchers the ability to access medical grade cannabis for studies that would shed scientific light on the benefits of marijuana use. As things stand, the DEA says that the FDA has not approved medical marijuana use, while the agency continues to systematically deny FDA research for approval. Marijuana is the only drug that is available from a single source (the DEA) for research. According to reports, the DEA has ignored administrative judges who have recommended marijuana to be changed to a Schedule 2 substance.
For doctors and researchers who have seen the benefits of marijuana use and the potential for more research, the DNA obstruction is more than concerning. Advocates see the systematic denial as impeding patients’ access to treatment and care. Changing the classification of the drug would also give scientists, doctors and legislators more information and evidence to make the best decisions when developing legislation and prescribing marijuana to patients. Despite recommendations in 1992 by the DEA administrator, the agency has not agreed to allow privately funded medical marijuana studies. Currently legislation is on the table to prohibit the DEA from undermining state medical laws. Advocates for marijuana use see no reason that marijuana should be considered as harmful as heroin or crack, but the DEA is anti-marijuana. The DEA seems disinterest in protecting American public, having a better understanding of uses and benefits, or in encouraging research. All of this interference with medical marijuana research is against the reality that most Americans support medical marijuana use and research.
The report recommends removing the responsibility of classifications from the DEA to a non-government agency, such as the National Academy of Sciences which could eliminate politics from drug classifications. Many patients claim that marijuana has not only improved their symptoms, it has saved lives. It could also be an alternative to the dangerous and addictive prescription drugs that are commonly handed out for pain. As public opinion shifts, legislators, and government entities must come to terms with the reality that marijuana has significant benefits to patients.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
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