In a widely anticipated move, today the Obama Administration, using a lengthy “eight-factor analysis” and a deep evaluation of the latest science, decided to keep marijuana classified as a Schedule I substance while expanding research grow sites for the drug. This decision is consistent with a 2015 judicial opinion of a federal judge from the Eastern District of California, and various recently-introduced pieces federal legislation introduced to expand research and uphold the FDA approval process for medicines.
“We’re pleased to see that the Obama Administration — using the exhaustive “eight factor” scientific analysis required by law — understands the science the way we and almost every single major medical association in the country understand it,” said Kevin Sabet,” President of SAM. “Big Marijuana was counting on President Obama to reschedule or even deschedule marijuana, in order to circumvent the FDA process to turn a quick profit on unregulated products. But this decision means that medications based on marijuana will have to go through the same rigorous testing process as all of our other medications.”
Moreover, the new rules expand legitimate research opportunities, by expanding the number of legal grow sites for research-grade marijuana beyond the current facility in Mississippi. This will likely help in researching CBD and other components of marijuana, and should streamline the process for data collection.
In 2015, SAM recommended several steps for bolstering marijuana research without legalization, including an expansion of research sites. So far, three of SAM’s six recommendations have been adopted.
“The pot lobby has successfully fought off federal attempts to regulate advertising targeting children, rules restricting the use of pesticides, and rules to limit marijuana potency. This same lobby was ready to pounce on a rescheduling or descheduling determination to fill their pockets,” said Jeffrey Zinsmeister, Executive Vice President of SAM. “This assault on health and safety regulations is no less than a repeat of Big Tobacco’s tactics from last century — which if people recall once touted the health benefits of tobacco use. That is what makes today’s news so important.”
For more information about marijuana policy, please visit http://www.learnaboutsam.org.