Easing federal marijuana rules: There’s still a long way to go

Nearly three weeks after the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration proposed loosening a federal prohibition on marijuana, the next phases of policy fights over the drug’s status are starting to take shape.

Public comments, which the government is accepting on the proposal until mid-July, will likely include an analysis of the economic impact of more lenient federal rules.

Kevin Sabat, the president and CEO of the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, agreed that the DEA did not appear to agree with the HHS conclusion that medical uses exist.

The proposed rule “just brings up all these issues with the HHS’s determination and it basically invites comment on all those issues,” he said.

Administrative law hearing

Sabat’s group will also be petitioning for a DEA administrative hearing, he said. An administrative law judge could rule that the proposal should not go through or that it should be amended to remain stricter than the initial proposal described.

“We’re going to highlight the fact that, first of all, this does not have approved or accepted medical use,” he said.

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