On July 27 we reported that the DEA was considering reclassifying marijuana from a Class 1 Drug to something less. Advocates for the legalization of marijuana were looking at this possibility as an important step to the possible legalization of marijuana. On Wednesday the DEA made it’s decision public, and the decision did not make marijuana legalization advocates happy. The DEA decided to keep marijuana in Class 1, which is the most serious classification of illegal drugs. But what is especially troubling was the reason given by the DEA for denying the application to remove marijuana from the Class 1 category. The DEA found that there is no accepted medical benefit for the use of marijuana and that it is highly vulnerable to abuse. The DEA found that marijuana is not a safe and effective medicine. This decision flies in the face of 42 states, and the District of Columbia, which allow for some form of medical marijuana use.
Today, sources are reporting that as early as today, the Obama Administration will issue new regulations which will make it easier for researchers to obtain the marijuana needed to conduct medical research. Currently, marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi has been the only source of medical marijuana available to medical researchers. Currently, in order to obtain permission from the federal government to grow marijuana for medical research purposes, the process is so restrictive that it could take years to obtain it and is virtually impossible to get. The new regulations will make it much easier to obtain permission to grow a supply of research grade marijuana. The details are unclear but people who have seen the regulations believe that these changes could signal a major step towards the eventual legalization of marijuana.
Recently, Illinois has joined a growing group of states that are moving towards a more accepting treatment of marijuana. Illinois allows for the use of Medical Marijuana. The Illinois Legislature has accepted that there are medical benefits to the use of marijuana and they have set up a highly regulated process by which people who suffer from certain medical conditions can legally buy, possess and use medical marijuana as long as they have a valid prescription and obtain permission from the State of Illinois. While the Illinois medical marijuana program is one of the most strict in the country, it is the product of a long and difficult fight in Springfield that took many twists and turns.