DEA Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position With Regard To Scheduling Marijuana

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 10, 2016

    imgresThe United States Drug Enforcement Administration has rejected a pair of administrative petitions that sought to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reschedule marijuana under federal law.

    Although the DEA’s ruling continues to classify marijuana in the same category as heroin, the agency also announced in a separate decision that it is adopting policy changes designed to expand the production of research-grade cannabis for FDA-approved clinical studies.

    Presently, any clinical trial involving cannabis must access source material cultivated at the University of Mississippi — a prohibition that is not in place for other controlled substances. Today, the agency announced for the first time that it will be seeking applications from multiple parties, including potentially from private entities, to produce marijuana for FDA-approved research protocols as well as for “commercial product development.” This change was initially recommended by the DEA’s own administrative law judge in 2007, but her decision was ultimately rejected by the agency in 2011.

    Below is a statement from NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano regarding the DEA’s decisions:

    For far too long, federal regulations have made clinical investigations involving cannabis needlessly onerous and have placed unnecessary and arbitrary restrictions on marijuana that do not exist for other controlled substances, including some other schedule I controlled substances.

    While this announcement is a significant step toward better facilitating and expanding clinical investigations into cannabis’ therapeutic efficacy, ample scientific evidence already exists to remove cannabis from its schedule I classification and to acknowledge its relative safety compared to other scheduled substances, like opioids, and unscheduled substances, such as alcohol. Ultimately, the federal government ought to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal intrusion.

    Since the DEA has failed to take such action, then it is incumbent that members of Congress act swiftly to amend cannabis’ criminal status in a way that comports with both public and scientific opinion. Failure to do so continues the federal government’s ‘Flat Earth’ position; it willfully ignores the well-established therapeutic properties associated with the plant and it ignores the laws in 26 states recognizing marijuana’s therapeutic efficacy.

    Under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the cannabis plant and its organic cannabinoids are classified as Schedule I prohibited substances — the most restrictive category available under the law. By definition, substances in this category must meet three specific inclusion criteria:

    The substance must possess “a high potential for abuse”; it must have “no currently accepted medical use” in the United States; and, the substance must lack “accepted safety for use … under medical supervision.”

    Substances that do not meet these criteria must, by law, be categorized in less restrictive federal schedules (Schedules II through V) and are legally regulated accordingly. Alcohol and tobacco, two substances widely acknowledged to possess far greater dangers to health than does cannabis, are not classified under the Controlled Substances Act.

    A recent review of FDA-approved clinical studies evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbal cannabis concluded: “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that Information on safety is lacking.”

    Added Armentano: “The DEA’s decision is strictly a political one. There is nothing scientific about willful ignorance.”

    The DEA has previously rejected several other rescheduling petitions, including a 2002 petition filed by a coalition of marijuana law reform and health advocacy organizations, and a 1972 petition filed by NORML. The petitions that triggered this latest DEA action were filed in 2009 by a nurse practitioner and in 2011 by then-Govs. Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.

    107 responses to “DEA Reaffirms ‘Flat Earth’ Position With Regard To Scheduling Marijuana”

    1. vickia52 says:

      as it is , looks like the DEA thinks they are the cat,s meow!

    2. Rick says:

      This is proof positive that the DEA puts MONEY ahead of the health and well being of the citizens of The United States of America!

      With a history of assisting gun smuggling into Mexico, partying with drug cartel prostitutes, STEALING CASH from people without charging them with a crime, protecting wealthy drug companies from a more affordable medicine (cannabis) and filling the prisons of America with non violent drug offenders, they have made it clear that THEY are an ENEMY OF THE STATE.

      WE, as citizens of The United States, should protect our republic from ALL enemies both foreign AND DOMESTIC. Our constitution says as much!

      The DEA is an ENEMY of medical advancement.
      The DEA is an ENEMY of freedom.
      The DEA is an ENEMY of The United States, and should be treated as such.

      WE, The People of The United States, must call for, and see to it that this is the END of this criminal enterprise known as the DEA!

      • Anonymous says:

        Run for office

        • Fireweed says:

          It’s the FDA guarding big pharma that’s the culprit here. Big pharma is scared to death that legal weed will cut into its artificially created demand for their drugs including opioid pain medications, and where has that led us, kids?

          It’s all about big business and profit, to hell with the real people that suffer the consequences of these ill-informed laws and guidelines. If congress really cared about public health, then they would have voted for funding for the zika virus instead of indefinitely delaying the vote and now on a long vacation while how many have died?

          congress doesn’t give a crap about people really. prove me wrong.

        • Revolutionschild says:

          Willie Nelson as write in candidate!

          • Denny Strausser Jr says:

            Write in Willie Nelson for the next president. 😀

            • Julian says:

              What if My Heroes havnt always been Presidents? Although it would be nice to see Barack and Bill singing “I’ll never smoke (or inhale) weed with Willie again…”

      • Anonymous says:

        This what happens when big tobacco and wine spirits coalition is in your back pocket, they are protecting profits for them over the well being of its citizens

      • John Gruver says:

        It is common knowledge that Marijuana was made illegal when the DEA was formed or its forerunner organization for the sole purpose of giving the Government agency more power and mainly more money. The people in charge were building their empire. I heard a speech by the then head of the DEA and when fielding questions afterwards he stated over and over, like a broken record, “The rule of law will solve the drug problem in this country”! He was stating the “Party line” to keep his fat pay check! His knowledge of history is challenged. Between 1919 and 1933, by constitutional amendment, it was illegal to manufacture, transport, sell, or consume alcoholic beverages. This “Rule of law” was a joke to say the least! It taught people disrespect for the “Rule of law”. All captured Drug Cartel Kingpins make the same statement “As long as there is a demand there will be a supply”! The DEA empire is controlled by the same greed that controls the Drug Suppliers. Greed also controls all of these people with enough money to live like royalty for many lifetimes yet they want more and more money. Time is the only true currency we have. All of the money in the world will not buy you one more second of time in this world when your time comes to depart.

    3. Marc Guilbault says:

      The people in the DEA who have made this decision are nothing short of criminals. They are forcing thousands of ill people to become criminals because they want to get better and they dont want to take pills from companies. I only wish these people had a family member in our position so they could see first hand the suffering they force people to live with.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly they do not care. We all know alcohol is more dangerous than weed. They also use it as an excuse to target certain groups of people. I have an employee that I know smokes but never misses work and is very dependable yet if the company forced me to test them I’d have to fire
        Yet I have another employee who comes to work smelling like a refinery who’s work is sluggish yet that person keeps their job.

      • James says:

        Government is infallible.

    4. Oliver Steinberg says:

      I expected this decision. Prohibitionists can’t concede that the basis of their power is a lie and always has been. DEA is a rogue agency, whose purpose is to terrorize and tyrannize. The only hope of recourse is to fight and win elections–but besides supporting ballot initiatives, we must target those politicians whose cowardice and complicity keeps the DEA untouchable.

      • Matt says:

        Another solution that will help is if we legalize in and more and more and more states…like I said, the more states we bring on board makes it harder and harder for them to enforce anything, more expensive as well. They can’t either blackmail the states with withholding federal funds because they would bankrupt much of the country if we get enough states on-board. Rolling out the National Guard or something will not work either, there would not only be mass protests, people would simply not care or listen. There would be hundreds of arrests. Chris Christie, if he was elected, possibly would have actually used the military to crack down on legalization, and Pence might influence Trump or Kaine, Clinton to attack legalization, so we must be wary of this. November will be extremely helpful though, especially if we can secure entire West Coast. So I agree with you, but also, the more states that legalize I feel is an equally powerful solution, and the DEA knows their authority is running out on cannabis. They know they are losing, and there is nothing they can do about it. The PEOPLE have spoken.

        • fireweed says:

          exactly, numbers are what will tip the scale eventually. We already have the numbers by far. what we’re witnessing is the type of resistance that has worked in the past few decades because public opinion about pot kept the voting stoners in the closet, but now that’s changed and is only starting to trend upward. I expect we’ll see a bigger pushback at least initially, at least if the likes of Trump take office.

          But now more than half the states allow for medical use, and this year will likely see at least one more state go legal for recreational.

          As the baby boomers move into retirement age, more people will discover the real benefits of mj, whether for medical or “recreational,” (it’s ALL medical) and discover they don’t need the un-fun and often expensive pharmaceuticals, and discover they can be symptom free without side effects, blood tests or dietary restrictions. It will emerge as a human rights issue, right there in the first clause of the Constitution. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. What else does that mean, if you can’t light up a bowl of your favorite herb, either in the privacy of your own home, or socially approved establishments? If you can’t do what you think is best for yourself and your health?

    5. Matt says:

      It will not matter much longer. More and more states will legalize whether they like it or not. There is NOTHING they can do about it either. Have faith, friends, They are fighting a losing battle and they know it. Legalization will come nationwide whether the Feds, prosecutors, police, judges like it or not. Have faith. We SHALL win and continue to win.

    6. Matt says:

      and it does matter anyway as it is legal as medicine in over half the country. NOTHING they can do to stop us now. Have faith. They can keep it Schedule 1 all they want. Legalization will still happen.

    7. Matt says:

      Finally, folks the Feds only have SO MUCH power. Unless they are planning on martial law or rolling out the national guard to stop cannabis legalization, the more states we get makes it harder and harder and more expensive for the DOJ or DEA to enforce Federal law. The fact is, people are not going to care anyway, they would arrest hundreds if not thousands of people and the shops would just reopen over and over again, even if they blackmailed the governors and state govs. with withholding funds. Have faith. November is going to be great and empowering. We SHALL overcome. State by state if we have to. I can’t WAIT to move to Colorado or Washington. First chance I get.

      • Matt says:

        actually, and this will be the last post….one positive of this is at least they supposedly want to expand research….a tiny gain, but, if it actually happens, a gain nonetheless. One thing is certain though, Rosenburg has to go. If he is not a doctor or scientist don’t know if he is I would have to look it up, why should we even be listening to him about “science?”

    8. Mark Mitcham says:

      The more we citizens keep on legalizing it, against the will of our so-called “leaders” and institutional “authorities,” the more irrelevant these vile assholes will become.

      These evil fucks can still do all kinds of damage, but they will never, ever, ever be able to stop folks from smoking weed. The genie is out of the bottle, and even in the darkest days of prohibition, I was still a pot smoker, and you were too. Remember that. They never could stop us.

      Yeah, I get angry… so angry I run out of words… I can’t just keep saying “fuck you fuck you fuck you…” I could give myself high blood pressure. I’ve said it so many times already. I can’t get any louder. I got nowhere to go. Being angry for extended periods of time can do damage to the body… At some point, you have to move on to action, effective resistance of some kind…

      It starts with taking a hit of weed.

      So, come on, smoke one with me! Puff Puff pass…

      I love you folks; I found my peeps. Let’s do this!

      If you can only do one thing about cannabis policy reform, it is to vote for it. So, REGISTER to vote wherever there’s a cannabis issue on the ballot (Yeah it’s a pain in the ass, just do it); and now, VOTE for cannabis!

      A vote for marijuana policy reform is like taking the DEA out back behind the bar and beating the shit out of them! Only, it’s entirely civilized and non-violent! Go for it!

      And if the bastards have stolen your vote, you can’t vote for some reason, felony or whatever, just sit and smoke with me. You still a winner. We’re smoking, ain’t we?

      • Keith Chase says:

        Mark all that anger at 02:39 am. Dude smoke a joint. Look I’m right where you are I’m 60 been smoking marijuana since I was 14. With a couple of dry years here and there. The law abiding citizens would never buy weed on the black market so it’s praying upon the sickest of there very own constituents. What I do is help anyone I can to get there medical marijuana card. They’re(DEA)gonna fall soon enough. The FEDS are going to keep cutting funds and with more research and public pressure this is only a hiccup!

      • Revolutionschild says:

        Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose?

    9. Duncan Bayne says:

      “This is proof positive that the DEA puts MONEY ahead of the health and well being of the citizens of The United States of America!”

      … and this is a surprise?

      This is the same Government that secretly poisoned alcohol during the Prohibition.

      Nothing changes.

    10. latchkeykid says:

      Doesn’t our own government hold a few pattens on cannabis and its medicinal properties? Doesn’t our government give tins full of cannabis to patients grandfathered into one of the first medicinal cannabis government programs? Wasn’t cannabis supposed to only be temporarily put in schedule I due to the lack of science during the time it was placed in the highest category? The lies and the lives that have been destroyed due to the prohibition of this benign plant is a great travesty on this time in our history. Cannabis has never killed one soul on this planet. Everyone on the earth has a right to grow it. Men have never had the right to take a benign plant away from others, yet in our day and age it has happened and caused nothing positive for our nation or others in the world whatsoever except profits for those on the black market (which mind you was created by prohibition itself). Can someone please tell me again what health benefit we get from cigarettes? Why are cigarettes not classified as schedule I? The war on this plant is nothing but a shame on all those who know its not dangerous but yet do nothing in order to stop the farce of mass incarceration, theft of property and ruining of lives in every way shape and form. It’s time for the people to stand up and say enough is enough. Without a massive vocal uprising this struggle will only continue. This 40 year plus war on an innocent plant must stop and it must stop now!

      • Matt says:

        GREAT point on tobacco/cigarettes. Alcohol as well.

      • Revolutionschild says:

        Science and politics mesh so well with those who think they are destined to power by moral judgement of others. Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.
        Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910), U.S. author. Pudd’nhead Wilson, ch. 15, “Pudd’nhead Wilson’s Calendar,” (1894). Paternalistic ,arrogant just like professional politicians, time for Willie Nelson as write in candidate!

      • fireweed says:

        if we leave it to the government to do research on marijuana they grew themselves, it’ll be a foregone conclusion that mj will be found to have no medicinal value. That crap they grow in MS is probably worse than the 3 month old moldy pressed regs that goes around my neighborhood during the dry season.