DEA Sets Public Hearing On Project Banning Psychedelics To Be Held In August

In a document published in the Federal Register, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced it will hold a hearing on August 22, 2022, on its controversial proposal to place five psychedelic compounds in Schedule I. 

The first plan to schedule the five tryptamines - 4-OH-DiPT, 5-MeO-AMT, 5-MeO-MiPT, 5-MeO-DET and DiPT - was published in January. Both the research and advocacy communities disavowed it during a public comment period and requested a hearing, which was ultimately granted.

This initial rulemaking filing would have been made considering research and recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stating that “these substances are being abused for their hallucinogenic properties,” after identified cases of hospitalizations related to the use of two of the tryptamines. 

Yet, investigations were only able to cite one death where one of the compounds, 5-MeO-AMT, was found in the person’s system, in addition to alcohol and an antidepressant. The DEA acknowledged that it was unclear what role 5-MeO-AMT had played in that death. 

Within the next audience, researchers and advocates will be able to present “factual information and expert opinion concerning the significance and reliability of the medical, scientific, and other bases that DEA provided in support of the proposed scheduling of the five tryptamine substances.” 

Furthermore, any person who would be “adversely affected or aggrieved” by the agency’s presented project may request to testify. 

A Bit Of History

In February 2022 and after the public backlash to the agency’s scheduling proposal, DEA’s Administrative Law Judge Teresa Wallbaum issued an order timelining the public hearings on the matter, starting with prehearing statements by the agency and stakeholders and a prehearing conference in May.

The Office of Administrative Law Judges is specifically in charge of cases related to DEA enforcement and regulations. Critics of the proposed ban hope the judge will recommend either a lower schedule or no schedule at all. 

Nonetheless, the head of the DEA isn’t obliged to follow the judge’s recommendation, and past administrators have ignored them in similar cases.

As collected by Marijuana Moment, in 1988 DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young famously challenged the agency’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug, arguing that cannabis is “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man” and “marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”

The Judge even went on to say that “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

The agency, however, ignored the judge’s position and kept marijuana in Schedule I.

The next hearing will no doubt involve some interesting discussion.

Image by succo from Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsPsychedelicsRegulationsPoliticsLegalMarketsGeneralDepartment of Health and Human ServicesJudge Teresa WallbaumOffice of Administrative Law JudgesU.S. Drug Enforcement Administration
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