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Blumenauer pushes DEA to clarify timelines for marijuana rescheduling

Oregon Democratic congressman Earl Blumenauer continues to push the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule marijuana and lay out a timeline for such action.

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In a Feb. 8 letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, acting Chief Michael Miller, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, Blumenauer asked for updates on several time elements and the process related to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s rescheduling review, including:

  • The deadline to publish its draft rule on scheduling marijuana for public comment.

  • Standard timelines for drug scheduling reviews.

  • The date it launched the marijuana review process.

  • How it’s incorporating state marijuana laws and regulations in its decision.

  • How it’s communicating developments and receiving feedback from congressional parties amid the review.

“Appropriate enforcement should be centered on advancing public safety, not unjust criminalization,” Blumenauer, who is retiring, wrote in the letter.

“Marijuana’s continued inappropriate scheduling is both arcane and out-of-touch with the will of the American people.”

It was Miller – the DEA’s lead liaison to Congress – who confirmed in a Dec. 19 letter to Blumenauer that the agency “is now conducting its review.”

Meanwhile, Maryland Republican Rep. Andy Harris has blasted the DEA for even addressing the potential to reschedule, despite a growing consensus that the vast majority of Americans favor legalization.

In a recent letter sent to Milgram, Harris urged the drug czar to “consider the true harms of marijuana,” the Salisbury Daily Times reported.

“As a physician and former scientist, it is vital that we make decisions based on established data, and the current (Health and Human Services) recommendation to reschedule marijuana lacks both substance and data,” Harris wrote.

Of course, conducting research and analyzing empirical data on cannabis has been severely limited under federal prohibition.

Both letters stem from an August 2023 recommendation by Biden administration health officials that marijuana be reclassified from a Schedule 1 substance to Schedule 3 – one of the biggest cannabis policy developments in 50 years.


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