Anne Milgram, chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has promised to speak to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about the timeline for conducting a review of marijuana’s status at the federal level. Milgram made the statement during a recent DEA oversight meeting where she was questioned by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance.
Unlike most industries, cannabis exists in a precarious landscape where dozens of states allow medical and recreational marijuana-related commerce, but federal law still considers cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance. This federal classification presents several challenges to companies operating within the state-legal cannabis industry, including limited access to banking services and financial aid.
After being pressed by Representative Matt Gaetz on marijuana’s federal status during the DEA meeting, Milgram told committee members that her agency still hadn’t received an official timeline for the review of cannabis’s classification at the federal level but added that she would ask for a timeline. The DEA head noted that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had not provided the DEA with its review of marijuana’s federal classification and recommendation for action. Without the DHHS’s review and recommendation, the DEA cannot launch an internal evaluation process that would pave the way to potentially rescheduling marijuana.
Cannabis’s status at the federal level has consistently been a thorn in the sides of recreational and medical cannabis operators in America’s state-legal marijuana sector for years. Federal law classifies marijuana as a controlled substance with no medical application even though more than 30 states allow the therapeutic use of marijuana and a growing body of literature has shown that cannabis has several medical applications.
This disconnect between federal law, state law and scientific literature has prompted reform activists and lawmakers to ask for a review of federal cannabis policy.
The drug’s status at the federal level also limits the industry’s access to banking services and forces companies working in the space to operate on a cash-only basis, increasing their risk of violent robberies and making it harder for them to meet their tax obligations. Furthermore, Gaetz explained, federal cannabis prohibition significantly limits further research into cannabis as accessing scheduled drugs for research is incredibly difficult.
Gaetz also talked about the connection between state-level legalization of cannabis and decreased opioid prescription rates and asked the DEA head to consider the effect cannabis legalization has on opioid prescription rates while reviewing federal cannabis prohibition.
While the cannabis industry remains anxious to know the outcome of the federal marijuana scheduling review, other entities such as IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) may not be overly bothered. This is because drug development from cannabis and other substances has a stable federal regulatory framework that interested parties adhere to in their bids to bring new formulations onto the national and international market.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to IGC Pharma Inc. (NYSE American: IGC) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/IGC
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