FDA to re-evaluate scheduling for marijuana as a less dangerous drug
The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing the medical evidence surrounding the safety and effectiveness of marijuana, a process that could lead to the agency downgrading the drug’s current status as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous classification.
FDA Press Officer Jeff Ventura described the review process, which is being completed at the request of the Drug Enforcement Agency, to The Huffington Post.
“FDA conducts for Health and Human Services a scientific and medical analysis of the drug under consideration, which is currently ongoing,” Ventura said. “HHS then recommends to DEA that the drug be placed in a given schedule. DEA considers HHS’ analysis, conducts its own assessment, and makes a final scheduling proposal in the form of a proposed rule.”
The FDA could not confirm how long the review process would take.
The U.S. has five “schedules” for drugs or chemicals that can be used to make drugs. Schedule I is reserved for drugs that the DEA considers to have the highest potential for abuse and no “current accepted medical use.” Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, along with other substances like heroin and LSD. Rescheduling marijuana would not make it legal, but a lower schedule could potentially ease restrictions on research into the drug and make banks less wary of offering financial services to state-legal marijuana businesses. It could also allow those businesses to make some traditional tax deductions.
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