Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who sought the party’s presidential nomination, does not believe marijuana should be classified next to heroin by the federal government.
“People can argue about the pluses and minuses of marijuana, but everyone knows it’s not a killer drug like heroin,” Sanders tweeted Aug. 11, the same day news broke that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) would not be reclassifying marijuana.
In a letter dated Aug. 11, Chuck Rosenberg, the Acting Administrator for the DEA, responded to petitions submitted by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, and Bryan Krumm, who asked that marijuana be rescheduled and therefore removed from the Schedule I list of illegal drugs, which also includes heroin and LSD.
As written by Rosenberg, the DEA rejected the petitions to reclassify marijuana:
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The FDA drug approval process for evaluating potential medicines has worked effectively in this country for more than 50 years. It is a thorough, deliberate, and exacting process grounded in science, and properly so, because the safety of our citizens relies on it.
Using established scientific standards that are consistent with that same FDA drug approval process and based on the FDA's scientific and medical evaluation, as well as the legal standards in the CSA, marijuana will remain a schedule I controlled substance. It does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of accepted safety for its use under medical supervision, and it has a high potential for abuse.
Last year, Sanders introduced legislation that would de-schedule marijuana and remove it from the Controlled Substances Act, which would decriminalize the drug at the federal level, The Huffington Post reports.
"It’s well past time for us to take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs," Sanders wrote in a follow-up tweet Aug. 11.