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Congressman Presses DEA For Action On Cannabis Scheduling Review, Calls Current Situation ‘Arcane And Out-Of-Touch’

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Nearly two months after receiving a vague response from the Drug Enforcement Administration on cannabis scheduling, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) is demanding answers. On Thursday, he sent another letter to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, expressing frustration with the agency’s ongoing review and pushing for more information and transparency.

While acknowledging that moving cannabis to Schedule III, as recommended by the Dept of Health and Human Services in August, “would be an important step in the right direction,” Blumenauer said it “is not sufficient to correct the wrongs of federal prohibition or to meaningfully address the federal-state gap on cannabis policy.” Blumenauer called for full descheduling of cannabis and criticized the current situation as “arcane” and out of touch with public opinion.

In the February 8 letter, Blumenauer requested the DEA respond to the following questions:

What is DEA’s planned deadline to publish its draft rule on the scheduling of marijuana for public comment?

What is the standard timeline for DEA’s drug scheduling reviews? 

On what date did DEA begin its review following receipt of HHS’s findings and recommendation on marijuana scheduling? 

How is DEA ensuring the agency’s review incorporates the status of marijuana under state laws and regulations in its scheduling decision?

How will DEA proactively communicate developments and receive feedback from congressional partners as the review proceeds?

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Michael D. Miller, acting chief of DEA’s Office of Congressional Affairs were also addressed in the letter, which was reported by Cannabis Business Times.

Blumenauer’s letter reflects a growing impatience among advocates and lawmakers over the DEA’s review process. It also follows a DEA statement in early January stating that the agency has “final authority,” over the legal fate of cannabis.

The HHS finally released details of its rescheduling recommendation in January, but the DEA’s response remains opaque.

Blumenauer’s letter highlights the urgency for reform, urging the DEA to consider “full descheduling” and to prioritize public safety rather than criminalization. He stressed the need for transparency and collaboration with Congress to achieve “this crucial…

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