National Public Radio got ahead of a long-expected announcement today on the legal status of marijuana.
DEA head Chuck Rosenberg told the broadcaster last night that cannabis will not move from its top position on the federal register of outlaw drugs, known as Schedule I, despite requests from Democratic state governors to reschedule it.
Schedule I includes meth, LSD, heroin and other substances deemed to have no legit medical use.
There have been rumors since last month that the DEA would move marijuana to Schedule II or lower, giving it limited legality as medicine.
But Rosenberg says no dice.
“This decision isn’t based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine,” he told NPR, “and it’s not.”
In the meantime the New York Times was reporting that the Obama administration was throwing a small bone to the marijuana nation: It plans to expand the number of colleges, now limited to the University of Mississippi, allowed to provide cannabis to approved researchers.
Tom Angell, chairman of the Marijuana Majority, had this to say:
It’s really sad that DEA has chosen to continue decades of ignoring the voices of patients who benefit from medical marijuana. President Obama always said he would let science — and not ideology — dictate policy, but in this case his administration is upholding a failed drug war approach instead of looking at real, existing evidence that marijuana has medical value. This unfortunate decision only further highlights the need for Congress to pass legislation curtailing the ability of DEA and other federal agencies to interfere with the effective implementation of state marijuana laws. A clear and growing majority of American voters support legalizing marijuana outright and the very least our representatives should do is let states implement their own policies, unencumbered by an outdated ‘Reefer Madness’ mentality that some in law enforcement still choose to cling to.