DEA Flakes on Self-Imposed Marijuana Rescheduling Deadline, Unclear When Answer Will Come

Article by John Ingold, The Denver Post.

DENVER, CO - APRIL 30: Drug Enforcement Agency officials raids VIP Cannabis, located at 2949 W. Alameda Ave., April 30, 2014. The marijuana dispensary was previously raided in November 2013. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

In April, the DEA told lawmakers in a letter that it was reviewing information on rescheduling and “hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016.” That hope ended when June did, and a DEA spokesman in Washington, D.C., told The Denver Post late last week that there is no update on the administration’s contemplations of rescheduling.

Earlier this month, DEA spokesman Russell Baer told the tech news website aNewDomain, “We aren’t holding ourselves to any artificial time frame.” Even after the DEA announces a decision on rescheduling, that decision could still be subject to further review and litigation.

All of this counters a purported scoop touted by the Santa Monica Observer as “groundbreaking,” in which it quoted an unnamed, chardonnay-sipping “DEA lawyer” saying that the administration would move cannabis to Schedule II in August.

Marijuana is currently listed under Schedule I, which means the federal government considers it to have no accepted medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. As part of the most recent petition to reschedule cannabis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reconsidered marijuana’s medicinal value and abuse potential. That department has sent a recommendation to the DEA, which has not disclosed what the recommendation says.

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