Following reports that the DEA would decide on whether or not to reschedule marijuana by Aug. 1, there now appears to be no timetable for the agency to make that decision.
In an interview with aNewDomain, DEA Staff Coordinator Russ Baer admitted that the agency has a scientific and health recommendation from the FDA — a required step for rescheduling — but “are not holding [themselves] to any artificial timeline.”
Baer said that while it is within the DEA’s power to reschedule drugs outlawed by the Controlled Substances Act, Congress could also act and pass legislation rescheduling “any substance.” He suggested the agency was open to removing roadblocks for research, noting that the DEA doesn’t create the laws, they only enforce them.
“We want there to be research on marijuana and its component parts, there needs to be [more] studies about both the benefits and the adverse effects about marijuana,” he said in the interview. “We want to remove the roadblocks for [cannabis research.] We want to know more about cannabis – we need rigorous scientific research – the DEA stands behind the scientific process.”
Marijuana, Baer explained, is not at the top of the DEA’s priority list. He said the DEA isn’t chasing around mothers who are picking up CBD oils for her epileptic child in another state or people sneaking tinctures into their bags. He said, currently, the agency is focused on America’s opioid crisis.
“Marijuana is important, but most of our attention is elsewhere,” he said. “The cannabis rescheduling question may be top of mind with the nation’s media and the growing legal cannabis industry at large, but the DEA has bigger fish to fry.”
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