Recently, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced a decision regarding the federal fate of marijuana. Prior to the decision, marijuana was listed as a Schedule I drug, meaning that the government considered it to have no medical uses, high potential for abuse and severe safety concerns associated with the use of the drug. Marijuana shared the room with heroin, LSD and cocaine.
Despite media fervor suggesting that perhaps marijuana would be reduced to Schedule II or that it may be removed from the list entirely, the DEA decided (rather predictably) to keep marijuana on Schedule I.
How Does this Decision Affect States with Legal Marijuana, Like Colorado?
Despite being legal in Colorado for medicinal as well as recreational use, the federal government still considers marijuana to be illegal. However, federal prosecutors and the Department of Justice have made it clear that enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal is not a high priority for them. Because of this, the decision to keep marijuana as a Schedule I drug has very little impact on Colorado’s marijuana industry.
The decision, though maligned by pot activists, does come with some benefits. The DEA also announced that restrictions on marijuana research will be loosened, which could lead eventually to higher quality and more diverse marijuana products for medical purposes.