What Congress is saying about the DEA’s refusal to change course on pot

From The Washington Post:

The Drug Enforcement Administration on Thursday rejected a petition to loosen federal restrictions on the use of marijuana. In making the move, however, the DEA did allow for more facilities to grow marijuana for use in medical research.

While praising the decision to allow more marijuana to be grown, many lawmakers — Republican and Democrat alike — were dismayed at the DEA’s determination that marijuana should remain in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most strictly regulated category.

There has been a flurry of action in Congress at the margins of federal marijuana policy in recent years. The House and Senate have passed legislation preventing the Justice Department from interfering with state-level medical marijuana laws. Just this year, bills have been introduced to broaden access to medical marijuana for veterans, make it easier for marijuana businesses to access banks, and reduce a raft of federal restrictions on marijuana.

Even lawmakers who have been skeptical about the merits of marijuana legalization, such as Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), have sponsored bills to facilitate better research on the drug by giving it a special designation within Schedule 1. Other lawmakers who want to keep marijuana in Schedule 1, such as Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), have been active in the push to find other ways to facilitate better marijuana research.

There are others in Congress, such as Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who remain vehemently opposed to most efforts to broaden access to medical marijuana.

Lawmakers offered a mix of reactions to the DEA’s decision on Thursday. Most praised the move to allow more facilities to grow marijuana for research. But many also criticized the DEA for …

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