Out of the Blue: FDA to Reconsider Marijuana's Schedule 1 Status

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: June 26, 2014 3:55 AM

For the first time in eight years, federal health officials will conduct an analysis of whether marijuana should be reclassified under U.S. law.

Douglas Throckmorton, deputy director for regulatory programs at the Food and Drug Administration, revealed the news during a lightly attended congressional hearing last week.

Leaf Science, a Canadian website covering news and facts about marijuana, reported Saturday that the Drug Enforcement Administration apparently asked the FDA to carry out the review to see if marijuana still meets the status as a Schedule 1 drug -- and it has consented.

"Yes, I heard that," said Kyle Romanoff, a Washington, D.C.-based pharmaceuticals lobbyist. "Word is just beginning to get out."

Romanoff told Sunshine State News late Wednesday, "It will take a little while for the FDA to get around to it. Remember, you're talking about the federal government here. I don't even see it posted on their website yet."

The FDA now officially considers cannabis highly dangerous, with no medical use.

“This has big implications,” said U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., who is leading the oversight hearing on marijuana research as part of an examination of changing societal attitudes about the drug.

The FDA has reviewed the plant's status twice since the turn of the century -- in 2001 and 2006 -- both times concluding it should remain in the Schedule 1 category, Throckmorton said.

The DEA has since been petitioned to change marijuana’s classification and “that has been sent to us and we’re in the process of conducting an eight-factor analysis,” Throckmorton told Mica.

The classification is the harshest of the five DEA drug schedules and comes with the most restrictions. Other Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, LSD and MDMA (otherwise known as "ecstasy").

Mica is chairman of the House Oversight Committee’s government operations panel. A change in schedule could help reconcile some of the differences between federal laws and looser state laws. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana and two, Washington and Colorado, allow recreational use. (New York became the 23rd this week.)

In a post on its website Friday the FDA did note this:

“Although the FDA has not approved any drug product containing or derived from botanical marijuana, the FDA is aware that there is considerable interest in its use to attempt to treat a number of medical conditions, including, for example, glaucoma, AIDS wasting syndrome, neuropathic pain, cancer, multiple sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced nausea, and certain seizure disorders.”

According to all sources, the FDA will consult with the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Health and Human Services before it presents a final recommendation to the DEA.

For Florida it will be considered by many a third giant leap into the unknown. Nine months ago there was no constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot, no Charlotte's Web bill in the Legislature and no consideration of a schedule downgrade for the drug on a federal level.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. 

Comments (11)

Mark Haddad
10:01AM JUN 28TH 2014
Shouldn't we be able to first see the detailed reports that were used in the decision to make this the most dangerous drug in the world. How did we get into the position that we're in - having to ask them to double check the drug to see if anything has changed. How everybody in this country doesn't see this as scandalous as I do is beyond me. People are still dying unnecessarily because access to this isn't readily available to EVERYONE (adults 21 or older).

Why hasn't one top journalist stopped down to hammer this point home. Are they even really looking into the science or is the news media really only using this to draw attention to there media. If just one would really dig deep into how this scandal really broke in the early 1970's right after Nixon received the Schaefer report - which was intended to show how dangerous the drug was, but when they actually reviewed the detailed report which shows that it was one of the safest substance know to man (safer than milk, water & aspirin), the president at that time (Nixon) used his authoritative power to not only ignore the report, but en began to create the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), and placed cannabis at the very top along side heroin and LSD.

Please - if anyone knows of an up and coming journalist who wants to make a name for themselves - this is the story. Even the charity organizations are now beginning. To apply pressure to reschedule as donations have gone down because people fell they are misappropriating the money by not having lobbyists drive the point home in DC.

This is the beginning of getting our god given rights back to one of the greatest gifts God has given to us forever - without limitation.

Dennis Reeferton
7:07PM JUN 26TH 2014
Desperately needs to be rescheduled, for the fact that why should people in these 23 states have rights and available to medical resources that the other 27 are criminalized un American to think about..I think about what it would be like to live in Washington or Colorado, hell ill live in California just to be able to have access to a natural medicine that puts my nerves/anxiety to pills no scripts no pharmacies
Israel hernandez
6:51PM JUN 26TH 2014
I do not understand why pot is classified schedule 1 yet has never killed anyone and will be reviewed yet alcohol and cigarettes which do kill has never been classified or scrutinized the a plant that was made by Devine powers that has never killed is. Money makes the world go round ,and if a few people die along the way it's not that big a thing , but a plant that has been around longer than the pilgrims and indians has never been studied just judged by people who know not what they talk of. And to say now that we know nothing of it is hypocritical when all the years have been spent making chemical medicines with side effects instead of all natural medicines but we make all natural foods which are more expensive and not natural as the public believes . The dollar is more important than all else but lets not forget , money is made from paper , paper is made from trees which start off as plants which is what cannabis is a plant.
C Breeze
2:47PM JUN 26TH 2014
Put your "bongs" in storage boys & girls; and don't give up your alcohol just yet...
4:35PM JUN 26TH 2014
So alcohol, which kills is good? Or just more of the protect my rights and nobody elses attitude? You are so predictable and a major hypocrit. Too bad you only talk the talk but not walk the walk. Shame on ya
12:16PM JUN 26TH 2014
Long overdue. Please Vote Yes on Amendment 2. Thank You
10:16AM JUN 26TH 2014
With the Justice Dpt's recent actions against long sentences for possession, I am hopeful the Administration will nudge (polite word for "strong-arm") FDA to move quickly.
9:25AM JUN 26TH 2014
@ Hemp Staff-I think the FDA will drag this "analysis out for years-certainly more than 2. Unless the public interest translates into direct action, and Congress hears and obeys the will of the people whom they (purportedly ) REPRESENT-nothing will occur in a timely fashion.. Too much money coming in with MJ still classified as a Schedule 1.
9:21AM JUN 26TH 2014
Given the average wait time for the FDA to do ANYTHING, I would expect them to delay, delay, delay as long as possible. This agency is known as one of the most cumbersome in Washington. Placing marijuana in the same classification as heroin and ecstasy, and LSD never made any sense. The government's own scientists acknowledged the medical efficacy of marijuana years ago when it applied for and received the MEDICAL Patent on all forms. For the FDA, the DEA, and the Justice Dept. to now "admit" that due to public interest they're planning "to conduct an analysis" to see if this drug warrants reclassification is ludicrous. My bet is they've already started "research" on how much money can be made when they are forced to bow to the public wishes ; the facts, not the government scare tactics, about MJ are now becoming widely known-as more Americans learn how very duplicitous their government really is.
8:44AM JUN 26TH 2014
Wonder how long this will be dragged out for? No doubt FDA will recommend to declassify, but will it take 2 years?

HempStaff - Florida's Medical Cannabis Staffing Company
Hugh Yonn
7:27AM JUN 26TH 2014
"... carry out the review to see if marijuana still meets the status as a Schedule 1 drug ..."

This plant has been wrongly outlawed since 1937...
Around the same time 'stupid pills' made such a terrific hit...among 'our' legislators...

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