A DEA marijuana announcement says pot is still illegal in the eyes of federal law and has no proven medical value, according to the Washington Post.
The federal government's reaffirmation that marijuana has no proven therapeutic value comes as 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws allowing it to be used for some sort of medical use.
Four states – Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington – along with the District of Columbia have approved marijuana for recreational use and that number could more than double with the passage of state ballot initiatives this fall, reported CNN.
"This decision isn't based on danger," said Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg, according to National Public Radio. "This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine, and it's not."
The DEA is turning down a request to remove marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act, said ther Post. Heroin and LSD are also listed as Schedule I drugs, noted NPR.
Federal officials told the Post that marijuana failed a medicinal analysis by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institute on Drug Abuse. Since the FDA says the drug has not proven to be safe and effective as a medicine, the DEA will not reclassify it.
"We're pleased to see that the Obama Administration ... understands the science the way we and almost every single medical association in the country understand it," Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes loosening restrictions on marijuana, told the Post.
The DEA will expand the number of places marijuana can be grown and studied for its value in chronic pain relief, as a treatment for epilepsy, but Oregon U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer complained that the move is not helpful enough.
"This decision ... is further evidence that the DEA doesn't get it," Blumenauer told the Post. "Keeping marijuana at Schedule I continues an outdated, failed approach — leaving patients and marijuana businesses trapped between state and federal laws."
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