US Supreme Court Refuses To Review DEA’s Denial Of Petition That Sought To Reclassify Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 8, 2013

    United States Supreme Court yesterday declined to review a lower court ruling upholding the federal government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule I prohibited substance that lacks medical utility or adequate safety.

    In January, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the US Drug Enforcement Administration had acted properly when it rejected an administrative petition calling for a scientific review of marijuana’s safety and therapeutic efficacy. Petitioners had requested a hearing to determine whether existing science contradicts the federal categorization of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance that possesses “a high potential for abuse;” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment;” and “a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug … under medical supervision.” The DC Court of Appeals affirmed the DEA’s position that insufficient clinical studies exist to warrant a judicial review of cannabis’ federally prohibited status. On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied an appeal to review that decision, rejecting petitioners’ argument that adequate peer-reviewed studies already exist to sufficiently contradict the plant’s placement in Schedule I – the same classification as heroin and PCP.

    The DEA’s stance willfully ignores volumes of scientific studies. For example, a 2012 review of FDA-approved clinical trials assessing the safety and therapeutic efficacy of cannabis, published in The Open Neurology Journal, concluded: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification [of marijuana] is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.”

    The case is Americans for Safe Access et al. v. Drug Enforcement Administration, case number 13-84, in the United State’s Supreme Court.

    118 responses to “US Supreme Court Refuses To Review DEA’s Denial Of Petition That Sought To Reclassify Cannabis”

    1. Demonhype says:

      What a crock! Everyone knows that all the unbiased data supports legalization for marijuana, just like everyone knows (who bothers to read) that all unbiased data shows drug testing to be a scam. But then, with SCOTUS seriously considering extending Citizens United so that the rich can pretty much directly purchase the government, what do you expect? These bastards have a lot of money coming their way from those who profiteer from this failed war, and we need to keep up our momentum against them until they have no choice but to admit facts, in the face of an angry populace ready to feed their ugly asses to the guillotines!

      Well, I still take heart in how fast they’re suddenly reforming drug laws and saying “oh, decriminalization, not legalization, is the ideal solution!” when only a few years ago all of those were off-the-table and non-negotiable. We’re winning, but they are going to dig in their heels. So we’re going to have to pull even harder! Authoritarians, especially rich and invested authoritarians, have to be beaten into submission and even then they will pretend it was their idea all along. In about ten years, these same charlatans will be insisting that legalization was totally their idea all along and that somehow we were the ones who were fighting it. Once enough states have gotten on board, there’s going to be nothing for these crybabies to dig their heels into, and that will be sweet.

      But right now, you have no idea how much I’d love to smack these bastards square in their faces for this ruling based entirely on deliberate lies and willful ignorance of the facts, if only on behalf of all the people who are suffering, either from disease or in jail, because of their moneymaking authoritarian scheme here.

    2. Jacob says:

      What was the vote to not uphold or hear the vase?

      [Paul Armentano responds: The court denied a petition for a writ of certiorari from petitioners, who were seeking an appeal of the Januray 2013 DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision. SCOTUS actually reviews only a small percentage of lower court cases, so in many ways this denial — though disappointing — is not surprising. The DC Court of Appeals ruling, however, remains wholly disappointing.]

    3. Jacob says:


    4. Ben says:

      This is outright unconstitutional.

      I am not completely certain of the process for empowering individuals with a place in our highest court, but, we either need to do something about the process AND-THEN/or, we need to impact their standing so as to get them back in line with the will of the American people.

    5. Ben says:

      *shaking my head*

      This… THIS is absurd.

    6. Lori Ann says:

      The Supreme Court could care less if someone is thrown into jail. They are making money keeping marijuana illegal. I am so dissapointed in our government. Land of the free, no it is not. People do not want to break the law. But, keeping marijuana illegal is an unjust law. Some people don’t have years to wait for these morons to make it legal. They are heartless and beyond cruel .

    7. Ben says:

      We need to identify the empowering members of our elected officials which allow this blatant bullshit to continue, and hold them accountable, and make it clear that they need to get with the program, or find a new line of work.


      whatever it takes.

    8. Plubius says:

      Did the petitioners in their writ state that the government owns patents on cannabis as medecine?

    9. Steve says:

      More reinforcement that I won’t be alive to see legalization. Glad I wised up and quit smoking, as it’s not worth the legal troubles it’s caused me.

    10. TheOracle says:

      The Supremes do whatever the U.S. Politbureau wants. They’re simply functionaries. Just apply Soviet-style terms such as apparatchik, functionary, organ of the government, nomenclature, and so on. There’s just more on the shelves here, and the society is more open, however there is still a lot in common.