Back in April, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced it would be reviewing the possibility of changing the federal classification of marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2.
Marijuana is currently listed among the DEA’s Schedule 1 drugs, which it describes as “most dangerous” and having “a high potential for abuse.” Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and LSD.
Schedule 2 drugs include legal prescription drugs like Ritalin and Adderal.
A re-scheduling of marijuana would clear the regulatory path for medical marijuana research and could be another step toward federal marijuana legalization.
Last week, the Santa Monica Observer reported the DEA will be making marijuana a Schedule 2 drug on August 1. The report cited an anonymous DEA lawyer with knowledge on the matter.
However, this week aNewDomain interviewed DEA staff coordinator Russ Baer, who didn't confirm the Santa Monica Observer report.
“We want to remove the roadblocks for research,” Baer said. He noted that GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR GWPH is “showing some great preliminary results with CBD.”
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 active cannabinoids found in marijuana.
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Despite the commitment to research, Baer added that the DEA is “not holding ourselves to any artificial timeline.”
He also noted marijuana isn't a top priority for the agency, which is primarily focused on the nation’s growing opioid crisis.
“The potential DEA ruling likely doesn't do much beyond encouraging more research into cannabis risks and benefits and make it perhaps easier for universities to get involved and for commercial entities to raise capital," industry expert Alan Brochstein told Benzinga. “I don't expect the DEA to reschedule cannabis but think it might do something with respect to CBD.”
So far in 2016, marijuana stocks have been as volatile as ever. GW Pharmaceuticals is up 27.3 percent. While some marijuana stocks have surged, such as AeroGrow International, Inc. AERO (+125.0 percent), others, like Zoned Properties Inc ZDPY (-63.4 percent) have plummeted.
Disclosure: the author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.
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