Whether the Drug Enforcement Agency continues to consider a marijuana a Schedule 1 drug will be decided in the next few months, according to a letter sent to senators and reported by the Huffington Post.
While the 25-page document offers no clues as to which way the agency is leaning, it does reveal that the decision will be announced in “the first half of 2016.” For the mathematically challenged, that means it’ll be made public by early June.
The news comes at a time when the Schedule 1 classification—long regarded as arbitrary and political—has been under increasing critical scrutiny, thanks in part to revelations by former Nixon Domestic-Policy Adviser John Ehrlichman, who recently said the War on Drugs was launched to lock up blacks and hippies.
The DEA’s letter was drafted in response to a the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) bill introduced last year, which sought to shield the many states which have legalized medical marijuana from federal repercussions.
Reclassifying marijuana was one of the act’s key provisions.
With President Obama’s second term coming to a close, Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, along with Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, have publicly called for him to use his executive authority to reschedule the drug. At this time, however, Obama has given no indication he intends to do so, and has repeatedly stated any action should be undertaken by the legislative branch.
But whether the Obama Administration is pushing for change behind the scenes? That remains murky. And we likely won’t know details about his role in an effort to reschedule marijuana until long after he departs Washington on January 20th, 2017.