The feds say marijuana will continue to be classified as one of the most dangerous drugs – right up there with heroin.
This comes as a response to two petitions to reschedule marijuana so that it’s recognized as a milder drug. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ultimately turned down those petitions.
In the U.S., drugs are classified into different categories called “schedules.”
A Schedule One drug is said to be the most dangerous with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Those are drugs that have a high potential for abuse, and that don’t have any medical purpose.
Heroin, LSD, ecstasy, peyote, and marijuana are considered schedule 1 drugs.
One step down are the Schedule Two drugs, which still have a high potential for abuse and dependence, but may have medical purposes.
Schedule Two drugs include Vicodin, cocaine, methamphetamine, OxyContin, fentanyl, Adderall and Ritalin.
People have argued marijuana does have medical use – medical marijuana is legal in half the country’s states, after all. Therefore, some say the drug should be dropped to at least a schedule two.
Medical pot is getting more common in Minnesota. In July, the number of patients enrolled in the state’s cannabis program jumped 30 percent.
Regardless, the DEA argues that there’s no reason to move pot from its Schedule One classification.
The report goes on to say that there haven’t been enough studies to prove that using cannabis to treat medical conditions is safe or effective.
However, rules for studying marijuana will be relaxed a bit to make it easier for places to grow the plant for research.
Minnesota Medical Solutions, one of the companies that provides the state’s medical cannabis, released a statement following the announcement.
“This is a modest step in the right direction that will help us build on a growing body of research documenting the effectiveness of cannabis-based medicines,” CEO Kyle Kingsley, M.D. said.
Kingsley added that more federal reforms are necessary so that the drug can become more affordable and accessible.