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Mitch Perry Report for 8.12.16 – DEA just says no to loosening pot restrictions

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Advocates for both medical marijuana and the outright legalization of the herb were dealt a blow yesterday when the Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a bid to reconsider how it treats marijuana under federal drug control laws.

Along with much more serious drugs such as heroin and acid, pot is considered a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act. The hope was that it was reclassified as a Schedule II drug, which is how speed and oxycodone are currently scheduled.

But no, said DEA head Chuck Rosenberg.

“This decision isn’t based on danger,” he said. “This decision is based on whether marijuana, as determined by the FDA, is a safe and effective medicine. And it’s not.”

As the Washington Post reports, the FDA has never approved whole-plant marijuana as a drug, and it may never do so, since most drugs the FDA approves of are individual chemical compounds, not plants.

“This is a vindication for science and for people who have said to go slow,” Kevin Sabet said. He’s a former  former Obama administration drug advisor who argued against legalizing  marijuana at debate at the University of Tampa a few years ago. “I think it’s a bad day for legalization efforts and a good day for scientists,” he added.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on. Florida (and Arkansas) will decide on medical marijuana at the polls this fall, and voters in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada will consider full legalization.

In other news…

That news we had yesterday about Tim Canova and Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreeing to a debate this Sunday morning? Never mind.  Actually, it’s back on.

DWS dismisses criticism against her by Canova and other critics as “garbage” in a new television ad for the voters in CD 23.

Brent King and Jan Schneider are battling it out to be the Democratic representative to challenge Vern Buchanan this fall in the CD 16 race.

David Jolly is the latest Florida lawmaker to call on Congress to end their summer recess for a day and vote to approve funding for the Zika virus.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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