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The DEA will decide whether to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II

Highly-rated Northern Viriginia drug defense/criminal defense attorney on the possibility of rescheduling marijuana to Schedule II

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The articles are many about the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s plans to decide in the first half of 2016 whether to reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I to Schedule II drug. As the DEA’s website confirms: “Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse… Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” “No currently accepted medical use” is the key distinction between Schedule I and Schedule II.

Unfortunately, too many mass media and even special interest websites do not link to the original source of this and other key governmental actions, probably often because they are relying on secondary informational sources and not reviewing the original source. One of my first approaches to solving this dilemma is to seek the document in the government agency’s website, through its search box or categorical sections or categorical pages. If that does not work, my next approach often is to do a  do a Google search along the lines of site:dea.gov and then inserting parts of an article’s quoted language from the government document. That did not work, here, so I found the original  April 4, 2016, DEA document for this news item, by Googling: “in the first half of 2016” dea marijuana rescheduling “dear” [inserting “dear”, because the document was reported to be a letter].

Essentially, the DEA’s April 4, 2016, letter (also signed by the HHS secretary and White House director of national drug policy) to Senator Elizabeth Warren (see more on her website here) says that it expects in the first half of 2016 to decide whether to reschedule marijuana to Schedule I, after taking into considerations recommendations from such agencies as the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. The DEA’s April 4 letter responds to a December 21, 2015, letter to HHS, the DEA, and the White House drug control policy director, from eight senators. The senators’ December 21, 2015, letter follows up on the DEA’s October 15, 2015, reply to the senators’ July 9, 2015, letter to the same addressees.

This September 30, 2015, Justice Department letter explains the process for reviewing marijuana for possible rescheduling to Schedule II.

Two authors from the Brookings Institute last year aptly pointed out: “The catch-22 in the rescheduling debate is that keeping marijuana as a schedule I drug severely restricts the capacity for scientists to study its potential medical benefits, while the lack of scientific research on medical use is simultaneously offered as evidence for keeping marijuana in schedule I. “