DEA Marijuana Rescheduling Decision This Year

Top Story – DEA Marijuana Rescheduling Decision Will Happen This Year

WASHINGTON, DC (CRN) – The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has indicated it will announce its decision on rescheduling cannabis before the end of President Obama’s administration. In a letter from the heads of the DEA, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) – the so-called “Drug Czar” – the DEA has received scientific and medical evidence from the HHS and will announce their determination of cannabis’ scheduling “in the first half of 2016”. HHS has issued a scheduling recommendation to DEA, but the contents of that recommendation were not revealed. Cannabis is currently a Schedule I drug, alongside heroin and LSD, making scientific and medical research nearly impossible. Rescheduling a drug from Schedule I to Schedule II would help facilitate research and may ease banking and financial restrictions, but it has only happened five times in the past, according to the Brookings Institute.

LINCOLN, NE (CRN) – Attempts to pass a limited medical marijuana bill in the unicameral Nebraska legislature failed when the legislators could not break a filibuster against the bill. State Sen. Tommy Garrett of Bellevue, the sponsor of LB-643, needed 33 votes to end the filibuster by State Sen. Matt Williams of Gothenburg. In the end, he got only 30 votes, with 2 senators not voting and 2 senators absent. The bill would have established a program similar to New York and Minnesota, where patients cannot grow their own cannabis and have access only to non-smokable preparations of marijuana.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (AP) — A former state lawmaker from Grand Rapids caught with marijuana has been sentenced to 45 days in jail. Roy Schmidt apologized Tuesday and asked Kent County Judge Donald Johnston to consider his many years in office. He says he served the public “in the best possible way.” Schmidt pleaded no contest in January, months after police seized 3 pounds of marijuana and 71 plants. Earlier, he had claimed protection under Michigan’s medical marijuana law. But the judge says Schmidt knew he had more pot than allowed. Schmidt served on the Grand Rapids City Commission and then in the Michigan House. He was defeated in 2012 after a switch to the Republican Party. Schmidt changed parties just before a filing deadline and tried to have a political novice run against him.

PARACHUTE, CO (AP) — Leaders who voted to allow marijuana businesses in Parachute will get to keep their jobs. Voters rejected a bid to recall the town’s mayor and two trustees on Tuesday in one of many local elections held around the state. The leader of the recall effort also failed to win election to the board of trustees in the town of about 1,000 people between Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs. The town passed a ban on marijuana businesses in 2013 but trustees voted to reverse it last year to try to diversify the economy and increase tax revenue following a decline in natural gas development.

PORTLAND, OR (AP) — Retired soccer star Abby Wambach admitted to once trying cocaine and smoking marijuana some 10 years ago, according to court documents connected to her arrest on a misdemeanor charge of driving under the influence of intoxicants. Wambach, who won a World Cup with the U.S. national team last summer, was arraigned on Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. She was not present, but her attorney entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf. Officers wrote that Wambach first used marijuana at age 24 and her last use was at 25. It also states: “The defendant tried cocaine at age 25.” She was arrested on Saturday night after running a red light in Portland, Oregon, where she lives, and charged with driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) — alcohol.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (CRN) – A Minnesota medical marijuana company is leading the way in creating an opiate-replacement protocol based on medical cannabis products. Dr. Kyle Kingsley, CEO of Vireo Health, announced the development of FREDOM – which stands for Flexible Reduction and Expedited Discontinuation of Opioid Medications. The program aims to slowly replace oxycodone, morphine, and other toxic, addictive painkillers that have led to over 14,000 overdose deaths annually, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “As an emergency medicine physician, I saw firsthand that opioids are overused, frequently abused and too often the result of fatal overdoses,” Dr. Kingsley told the Duluth News-Tribune. “We view this protocol and the data that will follow as a first step in combating this public health crisis.”