By Catherine Saint Louis, New York Times
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision Thursday to not remove marijuana from the list of the nation’s most dangerous drugs outraged scientists, public officials and advocates who have argued that the federal government should recognize that marijuana is medically useful.
Reclassifying marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug to a Schedule 2 drug would have made it easier to get federal approval for studies of its uses and paved the way for doctors to eventually write prescriptions for marijuana-derived products that could be filled at pharmacies, like other Schedule 2 drugs such as Adderall, which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Eight Democratic legislators had urged the DEA to reclassify marijuana to a Schedule 2 drug. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts expressed her disappointment with the decision on Twitter. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said in a statement, “It shouldn’t take an act of Congress for the DEA to get past antiquated ideology and make this change.”
Yet in a separate policy proposal also issued Thursday, the agency handed researchers and advocates a victory in removing a significant roadblock to medical studies of marijuana. The DEA said it will allow universities and even private companies to apply to grow marijuana for scientific research. For many years, the University of Mississippi has had a monopoly on that role as the sole DEA-approved provider of marijuana, and researchers have long complained that the supply of the drug was grossly inadequate, stymying efforts to establish whether marijuana is an effective treatment for many diseases.
Chuck Rosenberg, the acting head of the DEA, wrote in the decision that marijuana would remain a Schedule 1 drug because “it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the …