Speculation about a possible reclassification of cannabis has been growing in the United States, two weeks after the Washington Post informed about the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to put the substance under Schedule II. Analysts and politicians keep commenting about the impact that such a change could generate.
The DEA said in a report to lawmakers, that it will decide in the coming months whether to reschedule the federal status of marijuana. Currently, the substance is part of the Schedule 1 drugs, alongside heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote, which have “no medical use and high potential for abuse”.
Cannabis is rigorously restricted in some states of the country. In fact, it is easier to acquire opioids or prescription painkillers, that have killed more than 165,000 Americans since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Schedule-II reclassification for cannabis has a considerable list of supporters
The American Medical Association has instigated the DEA to review the current marijuana’s status, as a federal Schedule-I controlled substance, in order to facilitate its use for clinical research and cannabinoid-based medicines. However, it remarked that declarations were not “an endorsement to the legalization of marijuana”.
Schedule-II drugs may have a high potential for abuse, according to the DEA. However, they have accepted medical use in treatment, with certain restrictions. The list includes drugs such as:cocaine, hydrocodone, morphine, fentanyl and methamphetamine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has also urged the DEA to reclassify cannabis, so researchers can investigate about its possible benefits for children. The institution proposed last year, that the substance should be legal “on a compassionate use basis” for children with life-threatening illnesses, according to The Washington Post.
Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has also proposed that cannabis should be reclassified, especially to make advances in health benefits offered by the substance, according to her campaign website.
On the other hand, she remarks that the government should focus on federal enforcement resources on violent crime, “not simple cannabis possession”. The latter, accounts for a relevant number of drug arrests in the country.
“Further, significant racial disparities exist in marijuana enforcement, with black men significantly more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than their white counterparts, even though usage rates are similar,” the site says.
Market analysts estimate that marijuana will generate revenues of $21.8 billion by 2020 in the U.S. 14 states have already approved bills to legalize its cultivation, development, manufacture and distribution, and others will follow the same trend, according to the IB Times.