WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2016 – The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) yesterday announced that marijuana use will remain illegal under federal law, despite a growing wave of support for legalization. Voters in 24 states have voted for at least some type of legalization, whether for medical or recreational purposes.
Under federal law, marijuana will remain on the government’s list of most dangerous narcotics. Marijuana will still remain a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act, alongside LSD and heroin. The DEA based its decision on a study showing that marijuana has no “currently accepted medical use.”
“There is no evidence that there is a consensus among qualified experts that marijuana is safe and effective for use in treating a specific, recognized disorder.” “At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”
The DEA did reverse a previous decision and will allow more room for pot research. Previously, all research was required to take place at one specific facility at the University of Mississippi, which worked to produce medical marijuana.
In order to change the status of marijuana, Congress must amend the Controlled Substance Act in order for researchers to be able to properly work with it. This decision is creating massive headaches for doctors, patients, businesses and scientists.
Keeping marijuana in the same category as heroin is absurd. The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) August 11, 2016
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee was one politician who requested that the DEA reclassify the drug. He said there needs to be a fair national standard for medical marijuana.
Opponents of marijuana legalization believe the ruling will put a stop to the nationwide movement that is attempting to get pot use legalized.
Supporters had hoped President Obama would fight for full legalization, but he so far has not weighed in.
The federal ban means that states where marijuana is legal operate in a legal grey area. Technically, an individual can operate a marijuana-based business legally in a state, but face arrest by federal authorities for breaking a federal law. While this seems far-fetched, California growers have complained that federal authorities regularly raid their grow-houses and destroy their products.
While the legal battle continues, eight states will vote on marijuana issues this November. Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Nevada voters will consider approving full legalization. Arkansas and Florida will have medical marijuana issues on their ballots. Montana will consider restoring the state’s medical marijuana law.
But even if states legalize pot, federal laws will remain in place saying it is illegal, putting marijuana-related businesses in legal limbo.