A Drug Enforcement Administration memo, written in conjunction with the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, said it hopes to decide whether to change the federal status of marijuana “in the first half of 2016.”
The memo also called out how the federal government provides marijuana to researchers, including how the government grants a monopoly on marijuana production for research purposes to one program at the University of Mississippi. In the years between 2010 and 2015, the government provided marijuana for research purposes to an average of only nine researchers per year, something experts say is nowhere near enough to keep up with research demand.
The Washington Post also describes how “bureaucratic hurdles” are making colleges and universities hesitant to fund marijuana research for “fear of running afoul of complex federal regulations.”
The possible descheduling of marijuana means the DEA decision could also impact the upcoming Florida medical marijuana ballot initiative. By changing marijuana drug classification months before the vote, will the DEA decision make the Florida initiative a moot point? Or will the DEA keep the status quo in place?