The federal government said recently that it is reviewing marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, a move that could loosen tight restrictions on cannabis research.
In a memo to U.S. lawmakers, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said it is reviewing marijuana’s current status and hopes to have a decision about potential rescheduling “in the first half of 2016.”
Research into marijuana is complicated by the drug’s longtime classification as a Schedule 1 drug. That category of drugs, which includes heroin, is defined as substances that have a “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use.”
The government allows research on cannabis, but the approval process is especially complicated and involves marijuana produced under a contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The product is cultivated at a government-run facility based at the University of Mississippi. [Read more at the Portland Oregonian]