FDA Issues Recommendation to DEA to Change Marijuana’s Classification from a Schedule 1 Drug

deaBy Jay Syrmopoulos

A recently revealed document indicates that top federal health officials have given the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) a recommendation to reschedule marijuana under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, the details of that recommendation are not entirely clear.

Cannabis is currently considered a Schedule 1 drug under federal law, a classification reserved for drugs considered to have no medical value. So, if any rescheduling is to happen, it can only get better.


According to the document obtained by Marijuana.com:

“DEA recently received the [Department of Health and Human Services] scientific and medical evaluations as well as a scheduling recommendation that HHS prepared in response to” two petitions to reschedule cannabis under the federal Controlled Substances Act, Assistant Attorney General Peter J. Kadzik wrote in a September 30 letter to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). “DEA is currently reviewing these documents and all other relevant data to make a scheduling determination in accordance with the [Controlled Substances Act].”

The most recent DEA denial of a cannabis rescheduling petition came in 2011, almost five years after the FDA’s input was forwarded in December of 2006. Prior to that denial, a petition to reschedule was denied in March of 2001, only two months after the FDA recommendation was made.

One of the petitions referenced was filed in 2011 by former Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire; with the other being filed by former Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee.

Referencing the most recent petitions to reschedule cannabis, Asst. Attorney General Kadzik in his correspondence wrote that, “Upon completion of the determination, DEA will notify the petitioners of its decision and plans to publish the full analyses of both HHS and DEA in the Federal Register.”

HHS, in accordance with federal law, is required to weigh numerous factors when making a recommendation to the DEA, including physical and psychological dependence, potential for abuse, evidence of the drugs pharmacological effects and risk to public health.

Kadzick’s letter to Blumenauer makes clear that as of September 30, 2015 the DEA had received a rescheduling recommendation from the FDA.

This begs the question, Why did officials for DEA, HHS and the Office of National Drug Control Policy reportedly tell a group of Capitol Hill staffers at a briefing on November 13 that they “could not provide the requested information,” when asked for a timeline for processing the current rescheduling petitions almost six weeks after the letter from Kadzik revealed the FDA had already submitted their recommendation?



“At best, this was a remarkably embarrassing mistake,” Mike Liszewski of Americans for Safe Access told Marijuana.com, adding, “this latest revelation is especially concerning. We hope the agencies will become more transparent and give medical marijuana patients the respect they deserve.”

With 23 U.S. states having legalized cannabis as a medical treatment, and a plethora of medical studies in showing the efficacy of cannabis as a treatment for a multitude of conditions and symptoms, it seems patently absurd for federal officials to continue to make the claim that marijuana has no medical value.

DEA Weighing FDA Marijuana Rescheduling Recommendation

Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, Raw Story, MintPress News, as well as many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.


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8 Comments on "FDA Issues Recommendation to DEA to Change Marijuana’s Classification from a Schedule 1 Drug"

  1. The US government has played both sides of the marijuana issue leaving nothing to chance. Since 1937 marijuana has been an illegal substance that will land you in jail if consumed for recreational or medical purposes. In 2003 the US government issued Patent No. 6,630,507 which secures the rights to the medicinal properties of cannabinoids. The government issued this patent to itself. Exact words from the government’s application read: ” There cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuro-protectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma, or the treatment of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.” Marijuana WILL be legalized and on Day One the government will prosecute and jail and/or kill those individuals who infringe upon the profit ratio of the patent holder… the government itself. Ultimately We The People must reign in the government We created. Education is the only way we are going to walk our way back out of the maze of lies.

    • Education is the only way we are going to walk our way back out of the maze of lies.
      I DISAGREE!! ELIMINATION OF THE FED GOVT IS THE BEST WAY TO ELIMINATE THE WHOLE HOLD UP AND HOLD ON MED MJ THAT OUR CORRUPT UNACCOUNTABLE GOVT IS DOING! THEY ALL NEED TO GO ON SO MANY LEVELS!!

      • First things first. Elimination of the Federal government is NEVER going to occur if nobody knows this stuff. That’s why I wrote my piece. Because nobody knows this and a thousand other crimes too numerous to list, your suggestion can never be realized. But you responded! In all capital letters!!! So that’s a start. It’s called education.

  2. If they didn’t intend on legalizing marijuana for recreational use, they wouldn’t call it marijuana. Only part of the plant is used as medicine, and it’s not the part that gets users high. So to simplify the process call it something else. They aren’t, so their aim is to make the entire plant legal. It will grow the government with the new tax revenues produced, and a stoned public is an easily controlled public.

  3. Thanks for the information! I had never heard of this and was operating upon the impression I posted above. I will insert this into my files, for sure.

  4. So what if the DEA downgraded pot to schedule II or even schedule V? Few doctors would stick their neck out to write a script for it and there’s no legal place to buy it in most states. There’ll never come a day when you can stroll into a pharmacy, script in hand and walk out with a bag of bud.

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