Marijuana has long been regarded by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule 1 drug, which sits on the same level as heroin and LSD. According to the DEA, a Schedule 1 drug is one that has high potential for abuse, no accepted medical treatment, and no medical supervision for using the drug. In a statement, the DEA noted they might reconsider marijuana’s placement on Schedule 1.
If marijuana were to be placed under Schedule 2, it would be placed there in the interest of medical research. Schedule 2 is host to drugs like Morphine and Percocet, which are drugs that can be abused but have accepted medical uses.
Marijuana’s placement under this label is becoming increasingly unpopular. In a poll conducted by Gallup in 2015, as much as 58% of Americans think the federal government should approve marijuana for recreational use. So far, marijuana is legally available for recreational use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon, and more states are expected to follow suit as the public opinion shifts. Twenty-three states total have passed laws approving medical marijuana in various forms.
So far, the DEA only approves of marijuana use for research purposes in a very limited basis. This marijuana is grown at the University of Mississippi, and they only shipped out a very limited supply to eight researchers in 2015.
Besides the medical interest and shift in public opinion, the head of the DEA, Chuck Rosenberg, has been very vocal about what he thinks marijuana can be used for. He has stated many times that considering marijuana as a medicinal drug is a “joke.” He is open to debate about legalizing the drug, which he maintains is “bad and dangerous.”