Marijuana will remain in the most restrictive federal category for controlled substances, banning doctors from prescribing the drug and stifling medical research.
25 states currently permit medical marijuana use and three states have legalized the drug for recreational use.
According to the DEA, cannabis is unsafe, has no medical benefit, and has a high potential for abuse.
Advocates of the drug say most Americans support legalization and that it should at least be placed in a lower category with controlled drugs such as vicodin and oxycontin.
Federal officials have explicitly denied those notions but say they would consider allowing more scientific access to the plant.
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