Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 8, 2011

    Earlier today, United States DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart reaffirmed in the Federal Register the administration’s ‘flat Earth’ position regarding the medical properties of cannabis.

    Responding to a nine-year-old petition to reclassify marijuana under federal law filed by a coalition of advocacy groups, including NORML and California NORML, Leonhart stated, “[T]here is no substantial evidence that marijuana should be removed from schedule I.”

    A summary of Ms. Leonhart’s ‘reasoning’ is below. (Read the DEA’s full response here.)


    Drug Enforcement Administration

    21 CFR Chapter II [Docket No. DEA–352N]

    Denial of Petition To Initiate Proceedings
    To Reschedule Marijuana

    AGENCY: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Justice. ACTION:

    Denial of petition to initiate proceedings to reschedule marijuana.

    (1) Marijuana has a high potential for abuse. The DHHS evaluation and the additional data gathered by DEA show that marijuana has a high potential for abuse.

    (2) Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. According to established case law, marijuana has no ‘‘currently accepted medical use’’ because: The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.

    (3) Marijuana lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision. At present, there are no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved marijuana products, nor is marijuana under a New Drug Application (NDA) evaluation at the FDA for any indication. Marijuana does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions. At this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    Coalition advocates will be appealing Leonhart’s decision in federal court.

    NORML had previously filed a similar rescheduling petition with the DEA in 1972, but was not granted a federal hearing on the issue until 1986. In 1988, DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled that marijuana did not meet the legal criteria of a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be reclassified. Then-DEA Administrator John Lawn rejected Young’s determination, a decision the D.C. Court of Appeals eventually affirmed in 1994.

    A subsequent petition was filed by former NORML Director Jon Gettman in 1995, but was rejected by the DEA in 2001.

    NORML will have additional information on this story in next week’s NORML media advisory.

    239 responses to “Federal Government Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position Regarding Medical Cannabis”

    1. Lab Rx says:

      “U.S. Patent # 6630507.

      In 2003 The U.S.A.’s Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services was awarded a patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. U.S. Patent 6630507.”


      Need I say more! It appears to be a conflict of interest for the Feds, DHHS, to take the continued position cannabis has no ACCEPTED medical use! According to their OWN patent, cannabinoids DO have accepted medicinal uses in the U.S. If cannabis has no accepted medical use in the U.S., I ask then, how where they granted the patent?


    2. Bobby D.Denning says:

      Marijuana has no more abuse potential than cigarettes,alcohol,cigars,pipe tobacco and etc. Lame attempt,again. So expected. Cigarettes have no medical value except when their killing and that puts money in their pocket. Perhaps if marijuana were really dangerous they would accept it. We the People know what and see that marijuana is your prize toy and that there is no real reason for fed.govt interference.

    3. BobKat says:

      Let’s conduct an experiment:

      Have the DEA do a comparison study of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis, and let them judge recreational and religious use of all three of those commodities to be based on their findings ?

      DEA: Use of one of those commodities must be based and permitted within a scope of medicinal safety and proven scientific value. Potential for addiction and abuse must be considered.


      1) ‘Having conducted extensive scientific research in a timely manner based on CITIZEN demand we found:

      Alcohol: Extremely High potential for abuse and destructive behavior when more than 1 or 2 established units – 1 or two beers was consumed. Medicinal value also declines after one or two units. High potential for genetic disposition among population to go beyond the 1 or two units considered safe. Medicinal value only within tightly controlled use of 1 or two units. Potential for overdose on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most likely: value = 8

      Tobacco: Extremely high potential for abuse and addiction. No safe level for use. No medicinal value except euthanasia, high cost to society for any use. Potential of overdose = 10 when considering there is no safe margin of use.

      Cannabis: Too many medical uses to substantiate at this time. Used safely for 1000’s of years. Potential for abuse low. Detriment to society: Low. Potential of overdose = 0. Addiction potential is psychological only; very low potential for physical addiction. Safer than above two commonities when used for recreational or religious purposes.

      2) DEA:

      Based on our research into the the above three recreational and religious commodities we have determined:

      Alcohol is unlikely to be used within a safe margin of responsibility, is very difficult to control use or medicinal value, and therefore we give it a thumbs up for use by society!

      Tobacco: No safe margin of use or control. No medicinal value except to cause premature death. We find tobacco to be of particular concern to the safety of American citizens and give it a thumbs-up!

      Cannabis: Safe, low potential for abuse, many potential uses. Overdose potential = 0. No question, thumbs-down on this commodity. There’s money to be made in the Black Market for this plant, a WAR to to waged against American Citizens wishing to use it! And Big Pharma could heap huge rewards from patented drugs based on this plant. WE, the feds are going to cash in on this commodity! Cannabis is hereby sentenced to Schedule One Status for LIFE.

      The End.

    4. Darrell Kilgore says:

      besides giving the drug cartels the go ahead they are running our great nation into the ground http://www.tenthamendment.com Nullify Now

    5. Darrell Kilgore says:

      http://www.tenthamendment.com,Whats wrong with you people?

    6. Manford Mantis says:

      When you have exhausted every defense – elaborated every lie – perpetrated every fraud, and can go no further – without being committed to a mental health unit – what comes next?

      “Right! – you go for your pound of flesh.”

      You cannot say that that law enforcement has been “non-violent” Appropriately – “be prepared” to cover your backside. You don’t have to seek revolution – your revolution is coming to you – as we speak.

    7. John says:

      Ok I’m tired of this nonsense WE THE PEOPLE need to take our country back from the money hungry,ignorant,crooked politicians that run it today……

    8. Dave says:

      This is why we need everyone to learn more about politics and who we elect in office. Lets get theses clowns out of office once and for all.

    9. fishcreekbob says:

      You got that time on Freedom Watch scheuled already right. That’s why I pay extra on my sat tv. To see you with rhe Judge. Seems they’ve moved broadside. How will you respond.

    10. The American Genesist says:

      If you want to see what I’m talking about – search “Gods of the Modern World” by Jose Clemente Orozco.