US Congressmember Sends Letter to DEA Demanding Answers on Marijuana Rescheduling Review

A member of US Congress has sent a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) demanding answers on the agency’s current review of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance.

Last month the DEA confirmed that a review of marijuana’s Schedule I status is currently underway, but they gave no further information on what the review entails or its potential timeline for conclusion. Today, Congressmember Earl Bluemauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, sent a letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram requesting answers to several poignant questions.

“Clear and proactive communication is critical as this formal scheduling review moves forward”, says Bluemauer in the letter. “This scheduling review is a necessary step in the work to end the federal government’s failed and discriminatory prohibition of cannabis.”

The letter states that “Moving marijuana to Schedule III as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommended in their August 2023 letter, made publicly available in January, would be an important step in the right direction. However, moving marijuana to Schedule III is not sufficient to correct the wrongs of federal prohibition or to meaningfully address the federal-state gap on cannabis policy.”

Bluemauer says that with DEA now conducting its review, “we request further details on the ongoing review process:

  • What is DEA’s planned deadline to publish its draft rule on the scheduling of marijuana for public comment?
  • What is the standard timeline for DEA’s drug scheduling reviews?
  • On what date did DEA begin its review following receipt of HHS’s findings and recommendation on marijuana scheduling?
  • How is DEA ensuring the agency’s review incorporates the status of marijuana under state laws and regulations in its scheduling decision?
  • How will DEA proactively communicate developments and receive feedback from congressional partners as the review proceeds?”

The letter concludes by stating:

While Congress works to send the President comprehensive cannabis legislation, the urgency of full descheduling should inform DEA’s position on overall cannabis reform. Appropriate enforcement should be centered on advancing public safety, not unjust criminalization. Marijuana’s continued inappropriate scheduling is both arcane and out-of-touch with the will of the American people. I look forward to your response and DEA’s continued communication to work transparently and proactively with Congress to adopt this crucial step.

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