It is now common knowledge that the plant called marijuana possesses medicinal value. But, the big question is why the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in the United States is unwilling to allow for a complete scientific research on the plant. The DEA is the United States federal law enforcement agency and is tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the country.
Although some people have made frantic efforts with their own resources to investigate the plant, it is still appropriate that scientific research on marijuana is carried out under government funding.
A new report authored by two organizations concerned with Psychedelic substances – the Drug Policy Alliance, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic – has revealed that scientific research on marijuana was impossible in the United States, due to the deliberate action by the DEA.
According to the report, when the 91st United States Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) into law in 1970, activists in favor of medical marijuana started petitioning the DEA to remove marijuana from Schedule I, where it categorizes drugs for a high possibility of addiction and no accepted medical use. CSA is the statute establishing the United States federal drug policy, under which the manufacture, importation, possession, use and distribution of certain substances is regulated.
The executive summary of the report stated that case studies compiled in the report illustrated a decades-long pattern of behavior, demonstrating the DEA’s inability to exercise its responsibilities in a fair and impartial manner, or to act in accordance with the scientific evidence, often as determined by its Administrative Law Judges.
The report revealed that on three different occasions to get the DEA to listen to the petition of activists, the DEA officials’ declined. It is said attempts at research, which would allow the plant to be taken out of Schedule I, were deliberately blocked. This created a situation whereby many who would make use of the plant to cure their various ailments, were unable to use it in many states.
The report said the common tactics the DEA employed to frustrate activists included a delay on requests. For example, the report revealed that the DEA took 16 years to issue a final decision to the first marijuana rescheduling petition; five years for the second; and nine years for the third. In two of the three cases, it took multiple lawsuits to force the DEA to act.
Similarly, in the case of a researcher seeking an independent supply of marijuana for research purposes, it took the DEA 12 years, and another lawsuit to deny the request. The report concluded that this shows that for over 40 years, bureaucrats at the DEA have actively obstructed research on marijuana.
The report said the DEA is determined to hold onto its scientifically unsupported drug scheduling system; also to obstruct research that might alter current drug schedules in the United States.
The report recommended that due to the lackadaisical attitude of the DEA, responsibility for determining drug classifications and other health determinations should be completely removed from the DEA and transferred to another agency. It recommended a non-governmental entity, such as the National Academy of Sciences.
Also, the report advised that the DEA should be ordered to end the federal government’s unjustifiable monopoly on the supply of research-grade marijuana available for federally approved research. The report urged the United States to follow the example of countries such as Canada, Israel, Czech Republic, England and the Netherlands, who successfully licensed private producers of medical marijuana for government approved research.
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