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The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) continues to reject petitions for reclassifying medical marijuana from a Schedule I controlled substance to Schedule II status, thus preventing the drug from being legalized for medical use nationwide. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on whose ruling the DEA’s stance is based, asserts that “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no accepted medical use in the United States, and lacks an acceptable level of safety for use even under medical supervision.”

Despite the urging of established medical authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the agency’s ruling continues to largely prevent clinical trials into marijuana’s medicinal possibilities in the States, though the DEA has announced that it will expand the number of DEA-approved marijuana manufacturers. (Meanwhile, the White House is fielding calls for the firing of DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg after he denied that smoking marijuana even has medicinal uses.)

Thanks to research as well as anecdotal evidence that marijuana actually is useful in treating various medical conditions, our neighboring countries are already adopting a more forward-thinking stance, with both Canada and Mexico taking steps to legalize marijuana use.