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Cannabis Rescheduling: Rumours Swirl on Imminent DEA Announcement as Legal Experts Expected to Weigh In

Click here for the latest on the DEA’s decision on cannabis rescheduling.

Rumours are once again swirling that a decision on cannabis rescheduling from the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) could be around the corner.

It comes as reports emerge that the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which acts as the legal advisor to the President and all executive branch agencies, could now also be weighing up a decision, potentially having a significant impact on whether the reform will be implemented.

Speaking to The Drug Report podcast on Monday (April 29), president of the prominent cannabis legalization opposition group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), Kevin Sabet, said he was ‘hearing a lot of chatter’ that a DEA decision was coming soon.

“I’m hearing from some sources that pro-marijuana Democratic senators are saying it’s very soon, as in today or tomorrow,” he said, but added that this could be ‘wishful thinking’, and may be ‘three weeks or three months away’.

While speculation that a decision from the DEA is imminent is nothing new, this marks the first occasion the source of the rumours came from an opponent of reform.

The DEA has now been evaluating a recommendation to reschedule cannabis for eight months, and is coming under increasing pressure from the Biden administration to publish its findings.

Earlier this month, Business of Cannabis reported that the White House Press Secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, has suggested that the Department of Justice could now have the final say in whether cannabis is rescheduled, and that the review is ‘now with them’.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Health and Human Services Department (HHS), which made the initial recommendation, had asked the OLC to ‘weigh in on legal issues related to’ rescheduling cannabis as the DEA continued to drag its feet.

Attorney at Porter Wright and expert on federal regulatory issues regarding controlled substances, Shane Pennington, believes this intervention could be critical.

Speaking to Cannabis Business Times, he explained that the OLC, an arm of the DOJ, is called upon to resolve disagreements between different executive branch agencies, such as the DEA and the HHS.

While not binding on courts, OLC opinions can be persuasive and set a form of legal precedent for how the executive branch interprets the law. These interpretations can influence future legal decisions and policies.


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