- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee has raised concerns over marijuana’s status as a Schedule 1 drug amid efforts to remove the plant from the government’s list of controlled substances.

“The Committee is concerned that restrictions associated with Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act effectively limit the amount and type of research that can be conducted on certain Schedule 1 drugs, especially marijuana or its component chemicals and certain synthetic drugs,” the Senate Appropriations Committee wrote in a new report, Forbes first reported Tuesday.

“At a time when we need as much information as possible about these drugs, we should be lowering regulatory and other barriers to conducting this research,” committee members wrote in a report attached to a bill funding the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services for Fiscal Year 2019.

The report was filed by members of the Republican-led committee last Thursday, a day after the Senate’s top Democrat, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, proposed a bill that would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act entirely, effectively decriminalizing the plant at the federal level and eliminating the restrictions in questions.

Substances categorized as Schedule 1 drugs have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Thirty states have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, however, in spite of clinical research barriers imposed as a consequence of its Schedule 1 status.

The report passed by the Senate Appropriation Committee directs the National Institute on Drug Abuse to “provide a short report on the barriers to research that result from the classification of drugs and compounds as Schedule 1 substances.”

Oklahoma last week became the 30th state to legalize medical marijuana in the face of the ongoing federal prohibition. Nine of those states, meanwhile, have passed laws letting residents use the plant for recreational purposes.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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