Sources inside DEA say Administrator did not sign off on marijuana rescheduling decision

The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Anne Milgram, did not sign off on the DEA’s decision to reschedule marijuana, according to multiple sources within the DEA. 

Dr. Kevin Sabet, a former three-time White House drug policy official and now the president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, tweeted Monday afternoon: BIG: I can now say with full confidence that the Administrator of DEA, Anne Milgram, did NOT sign the rescheduling order, breaking with five decades of precedent and established law and regulations (two confidential sources inside DEA and another outside DEA with intimate knowledge tell me). 

Sabet continued in a statement, “It’s hard to overstate how deeply political and flawed this makes the rescheduling process look. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram should be commended for standing up for science and truth, over the profit-driven pot industry. Her courage will show she was on the right side of history. It’s equally hard to overstate what a botched process the Biden Administration’s rescheduling review has been from the outset. This unprecedented action by the Attorney General reflects a process poisoned by political considerations and conducted with a pre-determined outcome.”

Milgram’s decision not to sign off on the decision to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III breaks from decades of precedent. While the move shows the decision was contentious within the administration, the lack of Milgram’s signature is not expected to change the DEA’s decision to reschedule marijuana.  

Dr. Rachel Levine, the Assistant Secretary for Health, signed the Department of Health and Health Serivces’ recommendation to reschedule marijuana, before it was sent to the DEA to complete its own review. 

The Controlled Substances Act grants the final authority to schedule substances to the Attorney General, who has delegated this authority to the DEA Administrator. The Associated Press reported on April 30th that the DEA would be rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. 

Milgram’s choice not to sign the decision to reschedule marijuana is the latest step in a multi-year process that has drawn the ire of advocates on both sides of the debate over whether to reschedule marijuana. In October 2022, President Joe Biden directed the Department of Health and Human Services to review marijuana’s schedule. 

Milgram is scheduled to testify at a hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations on Tuesday, May 7, regarding the DEA’s funding request for Fiscal Year 2025. She will likely be met with questions from lawmakers about the DEA’s decision to reschedule marijuana and her agency’s process for coming to that conclusion.