The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration said Thursday it will not call for reclassifying marijuana, NBC News reports.
In a notice for the Federal Register, the DEA proposed to leave marijuana in the most restrictive federal category: Schedule I, which also includes heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. But the agency said it would open the door to more extensive research on the chemicals in marijuana that many consider valuable in treating chronic pain.
A schedule I classification bans doctors from prescribing it and limits all but the most carefully controlled research.
The decision dashes the hopes of advocates of legalization and rejects calls from some states and members of Congress who say growing knowledge and public acceptance should result in looser regulations on the substance.
The federal listing is independent of state regulation. Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have legalized marijuana possession and many other states have medical marijuana laws.