Here's Good and Bad News About Where the DEA Now Stands on Weed

The good and bad news: DEA still says weed isn't safe but will allow for more research.

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Complex Original

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Some good news and not so good news emerged on the federal level for marijuana activists on Wednesday evening. First the bad news: the Obama administration denied a request from two governors to reclassify marijuana in a less dangerous drug category, NPR reported. The good news is that the administration also opted to remove a significant roadblock that has been preventing further marijuana research, according to the New York Times.

The first decision means that, for now, marijuana will remain classified as a Schedule I drug (the most serious category) under the Controlled Substances Act, the same category as heroin. Schedule II drugs include highly dangerous and addictive substances such as meth. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) chief Chuck Rosenberg told NPR the decision was made based on a determination of whether or not marijuana is safe for use:

This decision isn't based on danger. This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not.

Rosenberg also said the DEA is still open to permitting legitimate scientific research of marijuana, which will now be a bit easier thanks to the new research policy announced Wednesday. The New York Times reported that university will soon be able to apply to grow marijuana for research purposes, significantly broadening the possibilities for further weed research. Previously, the University of Mississippi was the only school federally sanctioned to grow marijuana, which has seriously restricted the supply of the plant available to scientists, the Times reported. 

Washington D.C. and 25 states all allow some type of legal marijuana use (from medical treatments to totally legal recreational use), and 54 percent of Americans support the general legalization of marijuana, according to a June poll from Quinnipiac University.

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