Editorial: It’s time for the DEA to reclassify marijuana
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 drug, which means it has no medicinal value and is highly addictive. But the Drug Enforcement Administration is, once again, considering moving it to a less restrictive category that better reflects both its danger and the undeniable facts on the ground — that nearly half the states in the nation allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and several allow it to be used recreationally. The DEA told lawmakers that it intends to make a decision by July.
The schedule 1 designation for marijuana has been a ludicrously restrictive classification since it was imposed in 1970, lumping cannabis in with heroin and LSD. The DEA has twice considered and rejected requests to reclassify the drug over the last two decades. The last time was in 2011. Frankly, a change is long overdue.
The lack of research hasn’t stopped 23 states from allowing the use of the drug for pain relief and other medical purposes. But it has denied doctors and patients important information about the risks or benefits.
Nor has the Schedule 1 classification stopped voters in four states from legalizing marijuana for adult use. Yet the DEA still treats marijuana as if it’s as addictive as heroin and more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine, which are listed as schedule 2 drugs.
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