Anonymous DEA Lawyer Gets It Wrong On Marijuana Rescheduling, Surprising No One

By now you have heard increased chatter that the federal government may reschedule cannabis.  I covered a sliver of the potential impact on Illinois here.

The most recent rumor was that, even though the DEA blew their self-imposed June 30 deadline, the DEA would reschedule marijuana as Schedule II (“drugs with a high potential for abuse” on August 1st.

August 1st came and went – no big DEA announcement.  Just silence.

I am annoyed that the DEA has not yet acted, but what really bugs me is that a California attorney, hiding behind anonymity, would peddle such a story when there was no truth to it.

The Santa Monica Observer claimed to have the scoop – obviously we can’t verify if the Observer did, in fact, have an anonymous DEA lawyer, or if it was all made up.  Never read the Santa Monica Observer before?  I’m not judging, but a headline story yesterday was:

Former Prison Inmate Robs WY Bank, Throws the Money in the Air, & Waits for Police

My guess is it looked something like this.

Back to the DEA, let’s suspend any doubt – What if there really is a DEA lawyer in California that sat down with the Observer on several occasions and lied about August 1st being the set date to announce a change in cannabis’ status under the Controlled Substances Act?

So what’s the bottom line? Is medical marijuana legalization really going to happen this year?

[levels his blue eyes at mine]. Yes. Because there’s too much money to be made. And because it’s an important public policy and because there are already a lot of people using cannabis. This activity is going to happen on the margins anyway. It’s unimaginable that it would just be allowed to continue forever on the margins.

This may surprise some of you, but lawyers are not supposed to intentionally lie about things.  Especially in public.  Most of all involving government actions.

Lawyers are prohibited from public misrepresentations.  Illinois attorneys cannot: engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation.  California lawyers will be investigated by their disciplinary agency following crimes involving “misrepresentation, fraud or deceit,” as well they should.

If a California DEA agent deliberately misrepresented August 1st as a date of government action, and then walked off into the California sun, he should be held accountable.

Now that we know it won’t be August 1st, the real question is – will the DEA reschedule or deschedule cannabis before the end of the Obama Administration?

It is possible that cannabis will be rescheduled, though much less likely that it will be taken off the US Controlled Substances Act scheduling altogether.  From a political perspective, every day that passes without DEA action makes it less likely to happen before we have a new President sworn in January 2017.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any news on this front, but in the meantime 1) don’t bet the farm on predictions by any “anonymous DEA lawyer,” and 2) don’t rob a bank just to throw the money in the air waiting for the cops to arrive.

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