In a letter last Monday to Senator Elizabeth Warren and other U.S. Senators, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may have opened the door to removing marijuana from its current listing as a Schedule I drug. Such a move would, among other things, allow more scientific research into both the health risks and therapeutic benefits of marijuana.
That was the focus of the agency’s letter, but delisting marijuana from Schedule I could also open the door for marijuana companies to create bank accounts and to claim business-related expenses when they file their tax returns. Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule II drug would allow more research and offer additional protection to cannabis-related companies and patients. Reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule III drug would remove the current tax code restrictions.
Some observers of the DEA are not sanguine. At reason.com, Jacob Sullum recalled the DEA’s history of foot dragging on petitions to reschedule marijuana, noting that the agency has already rejected 3 rescheduling petitions after delays from 6 to 16 years. A fourth petition, filed in 2009 and a fifth filed in 2011, are still pending.
Sullum also noted that a schedule change would require a major change in the way the DEA interprets the Controlled Substances Act which he believes is unlikely to occur because it would require the agency to reverse itself on the basis of little to no new evidence. A third reason not to expect a change is that President Obama has said that marijuana will be reclassified only by Congressional action. Good luck with that.
Here are excerpts from other recent cannabis-related news stories.
Owners of Marijuana Shops Drop Lawsuit Against City
A group of medical marijuana shop owners in Detroit dropped their lawsuit Friday challenging the new zoning ordinance restricting where the pot shops can operate in the city.
The lawsuit’s dismissal was a victory for city officials, who expected legal challenges to the new regulations, which will likely reduce the number of marijuana dispensaries in Detroit from more than 200 to about 50.
The city’s top lawyer, Melvin (Butch) Hollowell, could not say exactly why the shop owners dropped the case. He said neighborhood groups supportive of the city’s efforts were planning to attend an upcoming hearing in the case on Wednesday. “We’ve been really buoyed by the community’s support,” Hollowell said in an interview.
Read more at the Detroit Free Press.
Should Colorado Limit Marijuana Potency? No
Since 55 percent of Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, Colorado has experienced record economic growth, record tourism, and record job creation. In addition, Denver was recently named the best city to live in the United States by U.S. News and World Report based on factors such as quality of life, low crime rate, and job prospects.
The doomsday predictions of the prohibitionists never came to pass. Colorado is experiencing near record low traffic fatalities, and teen marijuana usage has remained relatively stagnant.
In other words, Coloradans have enhanced their civil liberties and created a new, legal industry while maintaining public safety and boosting the economy.
Despite this good news, marijuana prohibitionists are trying to overturn the will of the voters. With some polls showing more than 60 percent of Coloradans now support legalization, prohibitionists know that an overt effort to make marijuana illegal again would likely fail. So their plan is to undermine the program and make it impossible for legal businesses to operate.
Read more at The Denver Post.