It Only Took Nine Years for Washington to Say "No" to Petition for New Marijuana Classification

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Heroin, LSD, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, methaqualone and, still … marijuana.

For the third time in 40 years, the federal government denied a petition to reclassify the Class I drug marijuana because it “has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”
That seemed to many an odd stance years ago, even before 16 states and the District of Columbia legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. California, alone, has 1.1 million medical marijuana users.
But it wasn’t totally unexpected. Washington struck a rather muscular pose a week ago when it issued a memo to federal prosecutors that it would not allow large-scale cultivation of medical marijuana by local governments.
The federal government, however, continues to send out mixed messages on the subject. The International Cannabinoid Research Society is just wrapping up its 21st Annual Symposium just outside Chicago where its co-sponsors include, in addition to Big Pharma, the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and ElSohly Laboratories, Inc., the federal government's only licensed source of research-grade cannabis (marijuana) used in therapeutic studies.
Pharmaceutical companies have petitioned the feds to reclassify organically produced THC (marijuana’s active ingredient) so they can sell a generic version of the synthetic drug Marinol®.
Americans for Safe Access Executive Director Steph Sherer noted the contradiction: “The government cannot have it both ways; marijuana is either a medicine or it's not. If the government is going to sponsor a conference on medical marijuana, it should show the same deference to the millions of patients across America who simply want access to it.”
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) responded to the 9-year-old petition less than a month after the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis sued the federal government to compel a decision. The coalition plans on appealing the DEA decision to the D.C. Circuit.
-Ken Broder
U.S. Decrees that Marijuana Has No Accepted Medical Use (by John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times)


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