Feds Release 250+ Pages Of Redacted Documents On Marijuana Rescheduling Recommendation, Detailing Cannabis’s Medical Value - Read of Green
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Feds Release 250+ Pages Of Redacted Documents On Marijuana Rescheduling Recommendation, Detailing Cannabis’s Medical Value

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Source: Marijuana Moment

More than three months after news leaked that the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) was recommending that marijuana be moved to Schedule III under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), the agency has finally released a tranche of documents related to its recommendation and the detailed review it undertook on cannabis’s accepted medical value.

Among the materials newly made public are correspondence from HHS officials to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram as well explanations of the health agency’s reasoning for the recommended change after conducting a required eight-factor analysis under the CSA. Most pages are heavily redacted, however, and some were withheld completely.

The documents were posted online Thursday by attorneys Shane Pennington and Matt Zorn, coauthors of the blog On Drugs. Zorn previously submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain the records.

“We haven’t had a chance to wade through it all,” the two lawyers wrote, “but are putting it up here now and will follow up as soon as we’ve studied everything more deeply.”

In response to the FOIA request, HHS “reviewed 252 pages of records,” releasing just two pages in their entirety. Another 236 were redacted in part, while 14 pages were withheld completely. All the released documents are embedded at the end of this article.

Broadly, the documents outline new scientific information that’s come to light in recent years subsequent to an earlier denial of a rescheduling petition, which HHS suggests might now necessitate rescheduling marijuana.

“The current review is largely focused on modern scientific considerations on whether marijuana has a CAMU [currently accepted medical use] and on new epidemiological data related to the abuse of marijuana in the years since the 2015 HHS” evaluation of marijuana under the CSA’s eight-factor analysis.

HHS also notes that it “analyzed considerable data related to the abuse potential of marijuana,” but added that it’s a complicated consideration.

“Determining the abuse potential of a substance is complex with many dimensions,” HHS wrote, “and no single test or assessment provides a complete characterization. Thus, no single measure of abuse potential is ideal.”

Most subsequent pages of the document were withheld completely.

HHS’s director of FOIA appeals and litigations said in a letter to Zorn that the sections were redacted pursuant to a provision of FOIA law that exempts “intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party other than an agency in litigation with the agency.”

In October, HHS released a highly redacted version of the one-page letter from the health agency to DEA in response to public records requests by news organizations such as Marijuana Moment and lawyers, including Zorn.

Read the collection of newly released HHS documents below:

DEA Threatens Georgia Pharmacies Over Dispensing Medical Marijuana Under State Law

Photo courtesy of Philip Steffan.

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