The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is moving to deschedule a controlled substance that’s derived from cocaine after receiving a petition for the policy change. It’s the kind of action that drug policy reform advocates have hoped to see from the agency for Schedule I drugs like marijuana and psilocybin. But for now, DEA is proposing to remove the cocaine derivative from Schedule II and fully remove criminal and civil penalties associated with the compound. In a notice published in the Federal Register last week, the agency noted that the drug, [18 F]FP-CIT, is employed as “a diagnostic substance that is used in assisting the evaluation of adult patients with suspected Parkinsonian syndromes” and is used in the “visualization of striatal dopamine transporters (DAT) using positron emission tomography (PET) imaging.” The descheduling petition was submitted by Advanced Imaging Projects in June 2018. Several federal agencies were involved in processing the application before determining that the substance should be fully removed from control. It’s a sign that the scheduling review process can result in changes, even if it’s onerous and takes years to complete. But that process so far hasn’t served advocates who’ve repeatedly petitioned DEA to fully remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or to merely reschedule it on the basis that it has medical value and low abuse potential. Those petitions have been summarily denied, despite lawsuits challenging the agency’s decisions. In any case, the new notice—which is subject to a public comment period that ends on December 6—outlines the steps that needed to happen before the government amends a drug schedule.

Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment, 11/11/2021 15:21:00

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