Drug currently shares same legal status as heroin, others

A report from the Drug Enforcement Agency slated to publish on Friday seeks to shut down any efforts to reschedule marijuana on the federal level.

Released today, the report states that, based on the Department of Health and Human Services conclusions that marijuana has a “high potential for abuse,” the DEA has decided to reject New Mexico resident Bryan Krumm’s 2009 request to have the plant rescheduled on the federal government’s controlled substance list.

The report states that “there is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed” from its Schedule I listing, which labels marijuana – and its active ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – as having “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”

Schedule I also means there is “a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision,” according to federal law.

Other drugs listed under Schedule I include the “rape drug” GHB, heroin, MDMA (ecstasy), methaqualone (Quaaludes), and LSD, among others.

There are currently 25 states, along with Washington DC, with medical marijuana programs, and four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington – with recreational cannabis use laws.

Deputy Director of Delaware NORML Michael Pukatsch said the petition denial was a bold move.

“How is it even possible to have a patent on a drug and supply it to sick people to treat their illness, but refuse to legitimize its medical values? Half of this country and DC have medical cannabis programs,” he said. “How can all these doctors in these states go against what the US government says is a Schedule 1 substance? The answer is simple: they know the truth, and they want what's best for their patients.”

Regarding marijuana’s status in Delaware, Pukatsch said he remains optimistic.

“I think we have more legislative support than ever before, and we are looking forward to January,” he said.

In June 2015, Delaware governor Jack Markell signed a bill into law that decriminalized marijuana use and possession in small amounts, with possession up to an ounce equaling a $100 fine and no criminal sanctions.

In June 2016, senator and gubernatorial candidate Colin Bonini, R-Dover, said he expected marijuana to be legalized nationwide within five years, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Bonini is noted for saying that marijuana use is accepted socially, politically, and legally.

“If that is the case, we should treat it as such,” he said.