The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has denied petitions filed by two former governors and a New Mexico psychiatric nurse practitioner five years ago requesting that the DEA reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I substance, according to documents filed with the Federal Register today. But the agency did decide to end the monopoly on research into the medical benefits of the drug — a move applauded by the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
There is no word yet on when the DEA might consider rescheduling marijuana. But despite an earlier promise by the agency to make an announcement in the first half of 2016, sources now say that the agency has decided to hold off on any decision for this year, as Westword reported last week.
While the DEA made no move on rescheduling, it did announce that it will be expanding the number of places allowed to grow marijuana for research purposes. Currently, the University of Mississippi holds an exclusive contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and has been the only facility federally licensed to grow marijuana.
“The DEA and the FDA continue to believe that scientifically valid and well-controlled clinical trials conducted under investigational new drug (IND) applications are the most appropriate way to conduct research on the medicinal uses of marijuana,” the DEA said in a statement.