Advocates for the legalization of hemp have called for the substance to be removed from the list of federally controlled substances.
The Hemp Industries Association on Wednesday filed a petition with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule hemp from its current Schedule 1 classification under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Rescheduling would enable, among other things, more research to be conducted into the substance’s potential medical benefits.
The HIA petition cited the
[T]he manufacture and sale of hemp products in the United States is now a half a billion dollar a year industry. Twenty-nine States have enacted laws either authorizing the commercial cultivation of industrial hemp under a state regulatory regime and/or providing for cultivation for pilot programs and research purposes by the State departments of agriculture or colleges and universities… DEA has the authority, and under the circumstances, the obligation, to reconsider the status of industrial hemp under the CSA Schedules.
The petition went on to state that hemp does not meet the threshold for harmful substances included under Schedule 1 — a list that includes ecstasy, heroin, and LSD– and that the government must rethink the current regime.
The current state of scientific research and years of experience with industrial hemp in the U.S. and other countries make it clear that industrial hemp plants do not meet the requirements for inclusion in any Schedule established under the CSA. The reasons for prior rejection are no longer valid.
The Hemp Industries Association filed the petition ahead of Hemp History Week, which they plan to celebrate with the enjoyment of hemp-based foods and snacks.
Rescheduling in the offing?
The DEA in April indicated the reclassification of cannabis could be imminent. The agency announced the possible shakeup after it received a letter from a group of senators –led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)– that called for increased research into the potential benefits of the substance.
The agency revealed in its response to the senators that the reclassification of cannabis could come as early as this summer.
Once a final determination has been made, DEA will notify the petitioners. DEA understands the widespread interest in the prompt resolution of these petitions and hopes to release its determination in the first half of 2016.
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