Last month, the marijuana newsfeed was abuzz with a rumor that the DEA planned to essentially legalize medical marijuana in all 50 states on August 1. The story originated from Stan Greene - a staff writer at the Santa Monica Observer - who published a story based on information that he says came directly from an unnamed DEA lawyer. The informant allegedly told him that cannabis would be changed from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The move would enable the FDA to approve medicinal cannabis use.

Greene's story generated a great deal of interest, because cannabis consumers and industry insiders are so eager for news on this supposedly pending announcement.

But his story was also met with a lot of scepticism. Scott Gacek of The Daily Chronic noted that his article didn't follow proper journalistic practice and appeared to be reporting speculation as fact. He added that the DEA was expected to announce whether or not they would reschedule cannabis July 1 - or August 1 as SMO claimed.

When the July 1 deadline passed without any rescheduling news from the DEA, Greene filed a follow-up to his report. The main takeaway from the second feature is that the DEA plans not only to legalize medical marijuana but also to hand the industry over to Big Pharma, crushing the current medical marijuana industry, which operates through private dispensaries instead of pharmacies.

"Yes, [rescheduling] might destroy the existing industry," Greene's source said. "Maybe it should. Because the public would be better served by pharmacists. Of course they would be...they're exactly the people who should be in (medicinal cannabis). The people that we at the DEA regulate, are exactly the people who should enjoy the legal right to sell marijuana products. That's fair, and also in the public interest...Don't you trust CVS more than some random dude who sells weed products?"

The flippant tone of the lawyer is just one of many red flags in this piece. I guess there's always a chance the article is legit, but there are a number of odd things about it that raise suspicion. Here are 5 grains of salt to swallow if you read the entire SMO article.

1. The alias

Greene says that his source would only speak on condition of anonymity. So he calls the anonymous lawyer "Deep Throat" - the same alias used by the informant who helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post expose the Watergate scandal.

And if naming his source after perhaps the most famous informant in the history of American journalism wasn't grandiose enough, Greene also gives the lawyer a cinematic exit when he leaves their meeting.

"I thanked him for his time, paid the bill, and he walked off into the California sun, like so many lawmen before him." [Greene's emphasis]

Maybe Greene got a little carried away with describing the scene. But ending with the informant riding off into the sunset seems like he's giving readers a wink and a nudge.

2. The meeting location

Greene was tightlipped about the identity of the lawyer. But he did disclose the location of their meeting and what his informant ate.

"We were having lunch at Shutters on the Beach, and the wine, for which I would pay, cost $150 a glass." [Greene's emphasis]. He added that the conversation involved asking "Deep Throat" questions posed by SMO readers. "I read him questions from readers, and he answered them over filet mignon and wine."

The problem is that those details conflict with the setting of the meeting. Shutters on the Beach is a luxury hotel in Santa Monica that has three dining venues - none of which offer filet mignon for lunch, let alone the $150 glasses of chardonnay that the informant allegedly gulped on Greene's dime. Perhaps they were ordering off menu, but drawing that kind of attention to their rendezvous seems out of character for an informant who only spoke strictly on the condition of anonymity.

3. Unsolicited medical advice

Not only did "Deep Throat" spill the beans on the DEA's plans. He also offered medical advice to the readers who sent questions to Greene.

"Some of your readers obviously smoke too much weed, Stan. Anxiety and paranoia are documented side effects of too much pot. Which they would know if they were real patients taking real medications with real warnings on regulation packaging."

Then he started making threats like a cannabis Bond villain. "I will remind everyone that Congress vested the DEA with authority to enforce the Nation's drug laws. Don't even think of challenging our authority. Because ultimately, what you will get to use is only what we will allow."

And then he encouraged SMO readers to ramp up their paranoia. "If your readers really want to be paranoid, they can consider the possibility that there's a reason I'm talking to you today, and it's to float a few trial balloons. That's all I have to say on that subject."

4. Typos and contradictions

Far be it from us to claim that we're perfect. But there are some mistakes that we're particularly worried about avoiding or fixing right away. At the top of that list is anything that deals with our bread and butter: cannabis. That's why it was particularly odd to see Greene misspell "cannabis" in his original post and then write "TBD" instead of CBD oil in the follow up.

The second feature also contains contradictory information. In one section, "Deep Throat" - an alleged expert on marijuana laws - confuses schedules in the Controlled Substances Act.

"I don't see how you can just wave a magic wand and say all this weed stuff is now Schedule II. This will have to go thru the same trials as anything else on Schedule 4. We parse through what is or is not a drug on the plant."

5. Contradicting experts

But the most glaring error is that the intel offered by "Deep Throat" contradicts legal experts like John Hudak - the Brookings Institution's Senior Fellow in Governance Studies and Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Public Management.

In May 2016, Hudak and Grace Wallack published a Brookings paper that thoroughly examined the implications of rescheduling cannabis. They argued that rescheduling wouldn't likely dismantle the current medical marijuana industry because doing so would be disastrous for President Obama's legacy, the American economy and the states that have legalized markets for medicinal cannabis.

"[S]huttering thousands of marijuana enterprises would put tens of thousands of people out of work, would reduce tax revenues to states, and would harm small business activity in a large swath of the United States. As a presidential election nears, the last thing any president wants to do is damage the economy. An economy-harming reversal on marijuana wouldn't just hurt the industry, but it could harm Hillary Clinton's chances of capturing the White House in November—an outcome Obama would deplore."

If "Deep Throat" has better information on the subject, he hasn't shared it yet. Although neither is a DEA insider, Hudak and Wallack offer a much more detailed analysis on the impact of drug scheduling than Greene's source. So we'll defer to their opinion on the matter instead of an unidentified source with a penchant for expensive chardonnay and Hollywood endings.

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