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scheduling

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director December 21, 2012

    Please find below a recent memo from Florida Attorney General’s office rejecting activist’s petition to reschedule marijuana for medical access. This is notable because Florida is a top five political bellwether state, with an aging population, NORML receives more requests from Florida residents than anywhere else in the country to reform local medical cannabis laws.

    Unfortunately, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has rejected a petition from the Cannabis Action Network to reschedule cannabis so that sick, dying and sense-threatened medical patients with a doctor’s recommendation can possess and use it legally. As often is the case at the state level, the Attorney General is deferring to federal laws and Congressional intent.

    PAM BONDI
    ATTORNEY GENERAL
    STATE OF FLORIDA
    OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

    Administrative Law Bureau

    Edward A. Tellechea
    Chief Assistant Attorney General
    PL-01, The Capitol
    Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
    Phone (850) 414-3300
    Fax (850) 922-6425

    December 12, 2012

    Jodi James
    Director, Cannabis Action Network
    Melbourne, FL

    Ms. James:

    Thank you for your petition wherein you request that the Attorney
    General temporarily reschedule cannabis. I have been asked to
    respond on the Attorney General’s behalf.

    Section 893.0355, Florida Statutes, delegates to the Attorney
    General the authority to temporarily reschedule controlled
    substances set forth in Section 893.03(1), Florida Statutes, by rule
    and addresses what factors shall be considered when making such a
    determination. The statute reads in part as follows:

    (3) In making the public interest determination, the Attorney
    General shall give great weight to the scheduling rules adopted by
    the United States Attorney General subsequent to such substances
    being listed in Schedules I, II, III, IV, and V hereof, to achieve
    the original legislative purpose of the Florida Comprehensive Drug
    Abuse Prevention and Control Act of maintaining uniformity between
    the laws of Florida and the laws of the United States with respect
    to controlled substances.

    The above quoted statutory language makes it very clear that when
    determining whether a controlled substance should be rescheduled the
    Attorney General must give great weight to the current drug
    scheduling under federal law. In addition, Florida law also strongly
    encourages uniformity in Florida and federal drug scheduling.

    The Attorney General does not believe that it is in the best
    interest of the public for her to use her authority to temporarily
    reschedule cannabis, particularly given the legislative preference
    for uniformity with federal drug laws and the fact that cannabis
    remains a Schedule I drug under federal law.

    Sincerely,

    Edward A. Tellechea
    Chief Assistant Attorney General

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 10, 2011

    The theme of the November issue of the academic online journal CATO Unbound is “If Not Now, When? The Slow Rise of Marijuana Reform.”

    I have the lead essay in the journal, which also features forthcoming contributions from NORML’s Executive Director Allen St. Pierre and other notable drug law reform advocates.

    Below is an excerpt from my commentary, entitled, “Cannabis Impact on Health Justifies Its Legalization, Not Its Criminal Prohibition.”


    CANNABIS’ IMPACT ON HEALTH JUSTIFIES ITS LEGALIZATION, NOT ITS CRIMINAL PROHIBITION

    via CATO Unbound

    In July 2011, the Obama Administration rebuffed an administrative petition filed by a coalition of public interest organizations, including NORML, which sought to reassess cannabis’ Schedule I status under federal law. Yet little if any scientific basis exists to justify the federal government’s present prohibitive stance, and there is ample scientific and empirical evidence to rebut it.

    … Ultimately, … none of the potential health risks associated with the adult, responsible use of cannabis in any objective way justify the substance’s present Schedule I prohibitive status or legitimize the use of state and federal force to restrict consumers from engaging in the plant’s production, distribution, or consumption. Nor do they justify the Obama Administration’s present heavy-handed attempts to interfere with the rule of law in states that have enacted policies that diverge from that of the federal government’s.

    The concerns raised by federal lawmakers and the present administration regarding the potential health implications of cannabis do not validate the drug’s continued criminalization. Just the opposite is true. There are numerous adverse health consequences associated with alcohol, tobacco, and prescription pharmaceuticals – all of which modern scientific inquiry has determined to be far more dangerous and costlier to society than cannabis – and it’s precisely because of these consequences that these products are legally regulated and their use is restricted to particular consumers and specific settings. Similarly, a pragmatic regulatory framework allowing for the limited legal use cannabis by adults would best mitigate the health risks associated with the drug’s use and abuse. At a minimum, this framework would require federal lawmakers to reschedule cannabis from its archaic and unscientific Schedule I prohibitive status. At best, such a scheme would demand that cannabis be ‘descheduled’ and removed the from the federal Controlled Substances Act altogether.

    You can read my entire essay here.

    Continue to check back often to the CATO Unbound website as several other essays on the topic, including a commentary by LEAP‘s Norm Stamper, will be added to the site and discussed in the coming days.