DEA Chief's Congressional Testimony About Legal Marijuana Angered Some, Baffled Many
Published on May 16, 2018
When it comes to the Drug Enforcement Administration you might assume that the head of the organization would be well versed on all the new major studies and news regarding the most popular illegal substance there is. Unfortunately it seems that the average person who reads up on cannabis news likely knows more about cannabis than Robert Patterson, chief of the DEA. When the House Judiciary Committee asked about well-known major studies proving the medical value of the plant, Patterson said he was unaware. He was also unaware of the many studies that show that legal marijuana laws significantly reduce harmful opioid abuse. Patterson says he does support more research into the plant, though his organization is doing little to further it. While many wonder how the DEA can continue to pursue cannabis arrests given all the new positive data surrounding the subject, this meeting was clear insight as to how a major government organization can be so disconnected from it's own subject matter.
The DEA currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no medicinal value. In his testimony, Patterson said that marijuana remains a Schedule I drug “because of the science.”
However, when asked by Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, Patterson said he was unaware of the often-referenced 2017 study by the National Academy of Sciences that found “conclusive or substantive evidence” that marijuana effectively deals with chronic pain issues.