DEA Issues ‘Final Order’ Rejecting Private Production Of Cannabis For FDA-Approved Research

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 29, 2011

    [Editor’s note: This post is excerpted from this week’s forthcoming NORML weekly media advisory. To have NORML’s media alerts and legislative advisories delivered straight to your in-box, sign up here. To watch NORML’s weekly video summary of the week’s top stories, click here.]

    The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has issued its final order rejecting a ruling from the agency’s own Administrative Law Judge finding that it would be ‘in the public interest’ to grant the University of Massachusetts a license to grow marijuana for federally regulated research.

    The rejection preserves the monopoly held by National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on the supply of marijuana for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated research. In 2010, a spokesperson for the agency told the New York Times, “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”

    In 2007, after extensive hearings, DEA Judge Mary Ellen Bittner opined in favor of allowing a researcher at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst legal permission to cultivate marijuana for use in FDA-approved clinical trials.

    She determined: “I conclude that granting Respondent’s application would not be inconsistent with the Single Convention, that there would be minimal risk of diversion of marijuana resulting from Respondent’s registration, that there is currently an inadequate supply of marijuana available for research purposes, that competition in the provision of marijuana for such purposes is inadequate, and that Respondent has complied with applicable laws and has never been convicted of any violation of any law pertaining to controlled substances. I therefore find that Respondent’s registration to cultivate marijuana would be in the public interest.

    DEA director Michele Leonhart initially set aside Judge Bittner’s ruling in 2009.

    The agency’s ruling may be appealed in the First Circuit US Court of Appeals.

    In July, the DEA denied a nine-year-old petition seeking to initiate hearings regarding the federal classification of cannabis as a schedule I controlled substance, stating in part, “[T]here are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy.”

    134 responses to “DEA Issues ‘Final Order’ Rejecting Private Production Of Cannabis For FDA-Approved Research”

    1. E says:

      The DEA’s reasoning and actions can be seen through like glass. This is what gives them less, if any credibility among the people of the United States, and the fact that they use our tax money to tell us what to believe is outrageous. Now we’re at the point where the DEA are telling scientists what they can, and cannot study and what is science fact and fiction regarding cannabis. For God’s sake police and army people thinking they’re scientist; what a joke! They think using “the heavy hand” will make people quit using cannabis, but they are grossly mistaken. They certainly didn’t learn their lesson from alcohol prohibition, and they haven’t learned the lessons of reality. All of this gives them no credibility what so ever. They are an out-moded institution that should be abolished! IF everything they said about cannabis were true, I should be a depraved, heroin addicted, and wicked person. Boy are these assholes wrong!

    2. nathan l says:

      who actually decides what the DEA does, cause with all their actions i guarantee you its not a democratic decision. whoever that is needs to be removed from office.

    3. D.C. says:

      lol America

    4. BobKat says:

      A moment of silence as I take in the latest evidence that the Federal Gov’t is slamming a big stick up our @$$e$!!!

      Not since McCarthy has there been a miscarriage of justice such as this War on Drugs has become and is. The victims from this war, innocent victims, number in the millions. They exist from before the McCarthy era in fact, which had hundreds of thousands of it’s own victims as US citizens were threatened and their lives ruined because of hysteria and fear of Communism. Everyone was suspect, and citizens were encouraged to turn in their neighbors and anyone else they hated or feared were aligned with the dark side.

      McCarthyism came and went, Reefer Madness didn’t. Why???

      That is the multi-trillion dollar question. And today we got our answer.

      Criminalization of cannabis is not a question, like are you a commie, a skinhead, a Nazi sympathizer… a serial killer, a peddler of toxic assets, a human slave dealer… quite the contrary.

      University labs have licenses to experiment with everything from smallpox to plutonium. But not cannabis. NOT CANNABIS. This despite the fact that time and again, the DEA and federal government quotes supposed studies “proving how dangerous cannabis is”, linking use with FDA approval, which for an herb that does not cause death, or any major health problems that can’t be helped by our mental health establishment, is astounding. What studies if there are no studies does the DEA and the Federal Gov’t use to deem cannabis as being perhaps more dangerous than snorting plutonium???

      You know the old story about how Nero sang while Rome burned? Well, that is our current Federal government. President Obama promised Change, Transparency, Science. He’s failed on all three. Where is the FDA approval for abuse of alcohol, or even the use of it? Where is the FDA research into the harmful effects, the deadly effects of tobacco? There won’t be any, and why? Money and the status quo. Alcohol and tobacco aren’t illegal to use. Their harm is irrelevant because they are legal. The FDA simply will force tobacco manufacturers to put ghastly photo’s of tobacco disease on cigarette packs, and that is the FDA.

      Cannabis is an herb, a plant that God grows – “IN GOD WE TRUST”!

      Cannabis literally cannot be outlawed as it is not a man-made manufactured substance. The federal gov’t might try and draw a comparison to the Harrison Narcotics act regulating opium, but that is a way far stretch of the imagination as opium is highly addictive, and specifically noted in the act, whereas cannabis IS NOT. Cannabis IS NOT a narcotic.

      Use of cannabis as a dangerous substance is not proven as most legitimate studies prove otherwise, studies done outside the epicenter of the world – the USA. Even the UN recently agreed a hard look at prohibition, and cannabis in particular was warranted. But the US snubbed it nose at the suggestion.

      Well, who is the US… is it you and I… or is it Michelle Leonhart and the DEA? Apparently it’s NOT you and I… so all bow to Empress Leohart!!!

      If I understand the urgency of the American People, it’s to STOP THE HURT!!! Put in place, sound, scientifically based measures that will provide for the health and safety of the American people. Preventing scientific study by universities to cannabis is not only STUPID, but makes the DEA look like Gaddafi Loyalists!!!

      Again, I ask… Where is the FDA approval of alcohol and tobacco use? Where when comparing cannabis, alcohol and tobacco does cannabis lie. I guess we know the answer… the federal government doesn’t use science in it’s decision making processes. It uses slight of hand magic, deceit. The same deceit has been used multiple times in the past, but never as effectively as the War on Drugs has successfully used it. But then, how does one measure success?

      The federal government measures it by the level of control it has shown is effective in boosting the profitability of the elite over keeping the people in irons. The way to control the people in a tyranny is to enact laws that the people are too powerless and confused to overcome. Keep them drunk, kill them with legal poisons and the tyranny prospers. How ironic we help liberate Libyan, and we subject our own people to Congressional Russian Roulette over the Debt Ceiling, and our lives when it comes to safe recreational plants and safe herbal medicines.

      It’s time the Temperance Society rises again… and this time, Mr. President, you won’t be drinking beer at the White House… Time to outlaw any recreational substances and bring the War on Drugs on… build your prisons, build your non-violent offender boot camps, build your Big Pharma and Wall-St connections. Drug up American with your BULLSHIT… and shoot the Zombies on sight!

      Cannabis users are peaceful people, and you HATE that, don’t you?! They are people that respect God, and you HATE that too. All bow to Empress Leonhart, and welcome our new Presidential hopeful, the illustrious Richard Perry – with a message from HIS god… “GET IN LINE!!!

    5. Steve says:

      End the drug war NOW!

    6. Jim says:

      Is there any way to bring light of this to an everyday civilian, meaning one not involved in trying to reform marijuana laws. It is obvious the DEA is diliberately doing everything they can to keep marijuana from being studied. They are saying one thing and doing another. They keep marijuana as a schedule one drug saying there is not enough evidence to remove it from a schedule one drug. That sentence would make sense only if they were to let a small amount be tested at an up standing organization. That was proposed and was to be acted on but it was shot down for reasons that i myself can not understand. The DEA is acting as if marijuana is the boogey man and they are the parent that is coming to save the children. The only thing the DEA has done is to spend our tax dollars to catch us. Now, it is our rights as citizens of the United States to let the goverment know we want marijuana legal we are not children, we are adults thinking on our own. Mature adults are speaking and they are speaking out loud, now speak to the ears that need it…our goverment officals house and senate. I trust in you NORMLnation we can and we will do this.

    7. Cat Cassie says:

      Sounds to me like the dea is sure afraid of something. Could it be the truth about marijuana that has them this scared? They don’t want to give up ANY of their power. Even when they are wrong.

    8. Daniel Parvin says:

      The unfortunate part of all of this is that the governments official stance is always going to be one of ignorance and blind intolerance. Pharmaceutical companys as well as law enforcement have a vested interest in in keeping marijuana illegal and out of public hands. Why legalize and be able to divert billions of dollars towards education,healthcare,or even green research when we can just blindly abuse the system and allow the law to run roughshot over anyone whom stands in their way. that and the fact that big pharmaceutical pumps so much campaign money into washington that they are truly above the law. The system is not only flawed, but it is also self sustaining.
      the future looks bleek if we don’t get out there and start bucking the system (in a civilized way). remember, Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    9. smokinplenty says:

      The federal budget allowed to the DEA would nearly disappear if they allowed researchesrs to actually investigate THC and cannibinoids. How long will our government continue to waste money in the name of jobs…big pharma, prisons, addiction counslers, drug testing companies, and even the alcohol and tobacco industries would all lose a major bulk of their business were cannabis ever legalized…they cannot chance undermining the monopoly on human suffering…it must stay thriving. How about we outlaw potatoes too…imagine all the jobs enforcing that nonsense would create. It is no coincidence that cannabinoids are found in only two places on the planet…humans and cannabis! Go to hell, DEA!

    10. Brandon C says:


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