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Feds to allow more marijuana research: ‘This is a good day for science’

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The U.S. government will announce on Thursday that it will allow more research into marijuana but has rejected requests to relax the classification of the substance as a dangerous, highly addictive drug with no medical use, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

The decision is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s response to a 2011 petition by two former state governors who had urged federal agencies to re-classify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, the two sources said on Wednesday. They requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The DEA declined to comment. However earlier on Wednesday, the agency had sent emails, a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters, to parties that had expressed an interest in the matter, saying it would be making “important announcements regarding marijuana related topics” on Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

For decades, marijuana has been classified as a “Schedule I” drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” on par with heroin. The government has repeatedly rejected appeals over the years to reclassify marijuana. Loosening that definition could encourage scientific study of a drug that is being used to treat diseases in several U.S. states despite little proof of its effectiveness.

Twenty-five states have sanctioned some forms of marijuana use for medical purposes. Four states – Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado – and the District of Columbia have gone even further, allowing its recreational use for adults.

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California and eight other states have recreational or medical marijuana proposals headed for their 2016 ballots.

A drug can be reclassified through congressional legislation or a formal scheduling petition process that involves medical and scientific evaluation by the FDA and DEA.

The DEA only allows marijuana for federally sanctioned research to be cultivated at a garden at the University of Mississippi, an operation overseen by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Cannabis advocates have long argued that this arrangement, and the labeling of marijuana as among “the most dangerous drugs” under the Controlled Substances Act, has sharply limited the supply available for research.

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The sources said the federal government would pave the way on Thursday for increased research, possibly with marijuana supplies from outside the University of Mississippi.

“This is a good day for science,” said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a group that opposes legalization. “This shows that the federal government is flexible on legitimate research but is nowhere near wanting to legalize marijuana.”

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sandra Maler and Richard Chang)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks

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Rachel Maddow on Monday worried about the pattern of government officials leaking to the press to stop President Donald Trump from sabotaging United States' interests to help Russia.

The MSNBC anchor broke down the key questions raised by the bombshell New York Times report that officials were keeping secrets from Trump to protect U.S. interests.

Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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Trump seethes and calls Fox ‘fake news’ after seeing a story that made him mad

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Trouble appears to be brewing between President Donald Trump and the cable news station he loves: Fox News.

In a tweet Monday night, the president lashed out at the network over its polling and called it “fake news’ — an epithet he usually reserves for mainstream outlets:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140768516288782336?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Matthew Gertz, who has previously noted that Trump appears to record news segments and watch them a few hours later, suggested that the president appeared to be reacting to an earlier segment from Special Report with Bret Baier. The segment showed that, even according to Fox News’ polling, Trump trails every single leading candidate in the Democratic field in head-to-head matchups.

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