The DEA has decided that cannabis should stay classified as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Not long ago word got out that the DEA was going to make a long awaited announcement in response to a demand to review the federal government's classification of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance.

The review was initiated by Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and New Mexico nurse practitioner Bryan Krumm. There was speculation as to when the announcement would come, but all predictions came and went.

The DEA began to make it sound like the announcement may not come at all in 2016, but that proved to be untrue as word recently brok that the DEA is not going to make any changes to cannabis' classification.

The DEA explains its reasoning

According to NPR, 'Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg says the decision is rooted in science.' Yes, you read that correctly.

The DEA's definition for a Schedule I controlled substance according to its website is, "drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence."

Looking at the DEA's definition for a Schedule I substance, and considering the overwhelming scientific evidence that cannabis does indeed have proven medical uses, the DEA's explanation is a slap in the face to science and reason.

I would also offer up the lack of proof that cannabis causes 'severe psychological or physical dependence.' Cannabis is not a dangerous drug, and certainly doesn't belong on a list of 'the most dangerous drugs of all.'

The DEA's announcement came coupled with a softening of the restrictions surrounding cannabis research, but it will have to wait to be seen as to what, if any, significant changes become reality.

Reaction From Congressman Earl Blumenauer

Earl Blumenauer had the following to say about the DEA announcement:

“I welcome the decision to lessen barriers to medical marijuana research. More than half the states—and counting—have legalized some form of medical marijuana. It’s outrageous that federal policy has blocked science for so long.


“However, this decision doesn’t go far enough and is further evidence that the DEA doesn’t get it. Keeping marijuana at Schedule I continues an outdated, failed approach—leaving patients and marijuana businesses trapped between state and federal laws. This decision does not address other key concerns like the need for banking services and tax equity for small businesses, operating legally in half the states. It’s not right or fair.


“Americans have spoken, with a majority supporting full legalization. It’s not enough to remove some barriers to medical research. Marijuana shouldn’t be listed as Schedule I; it shouldn’t be listed at all. It is imperative, as part of the most progressive Administration on marijuana in history, that the DEA work to end the failed prohibition of marijuana.”

Reaction from Marijuana Majority

Legendary cannabis activist Tom Angell of the reform organization Marijuana Majority had the following to say about the announcement:

"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."


What do Green Flower readers think? Is this a huge disappointment, or did you already temper your expectations? How do you feel about the DEA announcing that it will loosen up on research restrictions? Do you think there's any merit to it, or is it just rhetoric?

Should cannabis be rescheduled, descheduled, or kept as a federally Schedule I controlled substance?

Should cannabis be rescheduled, descheduled, or kept as a federally Schedule I controlled substance?

kept Schedule I