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6.23.2014

FDA Considering Easing Sanctions On Marijuana

US regulators are studying whether restrictions on Marijuana should be eased, a Key step toward decriminalizing the drug at the federal level. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting an analysis at the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) request on whether the US should downgrade the classification of Marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, said the Deputy Director for Regulatory Programs at the FDA, at a congressional hearing last week.


 Schedule 1 drugs carry the most restrictions of the five DEA classifications and are considered substances with no medical benefit that are highly addictive. Factors the FDA considers in making a recommendation include a drug’s abuse potential, its pharmacological effect and risk to public health, according to the Deputy Director’s written testimony. “This has big implications,” said Rep. John Mica, (R-FL), who is leading the oversight hearing on Marijuana research as part of an examination of changing societal attitudes about the drug.


The FDA reviewed Marijuana’s status for the DEA in Ys 2001 and 2006 and recommended it remain Schedule 1. The DEA has since been petitioned to change Marijuana’s classification and “that has been sent to us and we’re in the process of conducting an 8-factor analysis. Mr. Mica is Chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s government operations panel.


A change in schedule could help reconcile some of the differences between federal laws and looser state laws. Twenty-three US states permit Medical Marijuana and 2, Washington and Colorado permit recreational use. The FDA must consult with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and send their recommendation through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) before handing it to the DEA.