Democratic Senators continued their call for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to reschedule marijuana.
The call comes as marijuana advocates suffered several recent setbacks in Congress by House Republicans. Earlier this week, 3 marijuana bills failed in the house.
Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I substance. In the eyes of the Federal Government, marijuana is just as dangerous as heroin or LSD. The Schedule I listing also means that marijuana has no acceptable medical uses in the eyes of federal authorities. Additionally, the listing presents major obstacles organizations looking to acquire and conduct research on marijuana. Banks also have been weary about working with marijuana companies dealing with a schedule one substance.
The DEA is currently reviewing the state of marijuana and is considering whether or not to reschedule.
A letter urging the DEA to reschedule was sent to the DEA this week and signed by Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Barbara Boxer of California, Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
In the letter the Senators commented on a gap between state and federal law with “wide-ranging implications for legitimate marijuana businesses, including access to banking services, the ability to deduct business expenses from taxes, and access for veterans.”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) submitted a recommendation on whether or not to reschedule marijuana last year to the DEA. The FDA makes the official federal determination as to a substance’s medicinal value. Both the DEA and FDA have not commented on what the recommendation was.
DEA spokesman, Russ Baer, said the analysis was in the final stages. Initially, the DEA wished to issue their decision by no later than first half of 2016. However, Mr. Baer did not expect to release their conclusion before June 30th.