On Legalizing Medical Cannabis: The DEA Responds [EXCLUSIVE]

dea rescheduling medical cannabis legalizing medical cannabis anewdomain
Written by Gina Smith

The DEA wants to remove the barriers to cannabis research, a spokesman told aNewDomain in a lengthy interview today. But how and when will it reschedule cannabis as a Schedule II drug? [Exclusive]

aNewDomainGina-Smith-anewdomain — A DEA official responded at length today to a widely-circulated report that the DEA plans to effectively legalize medical cannabis this August.

In an interview with aNewDomain today, DEA staff coordinator Russ Baer wouldn’t confirm the Santa Monica Observer report that the DEA will reschedule cannabis as a prescription-only Schedule II drug on Aug. 1, 2016. But he did comment at length about the agency’s thoughts around legalizing medical cannabis and how rescheduling cannabis from its current Schedule I status would have to work.

Baer, in his comments, went well beyond the prepared statement the agency gave to The Houston Chronicle and other media covering the story earlier today. Check out his comments and our takeaway below.

“This is a complicated plant.” 

First off, the decision to reschedule cannabis isn’t a simple one because cannabis biochemistry is so complex, Baer said, and the variety of forms medical cannabis now takes are many.

“What is under-reported right now is how complex the marijuana plant is,” he added, pointing out that “it has hundreds of chemical actors, or cannabinoids.”

THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) and Cannabidiol