Groups Sue Feds Over Marijuana Rescheduling Petition Delay

A coalition of medical marijuana and drug reform groups filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC, Monday in a bid to force the government to act on a rescheduling petition that has languished at the DEA for nearly nine years. The lawsuit asks that the government respond to the petition within 60 days.

The DEA has had more than enough time to issue a ruling on a marijuana rescheduling petition. (Image via Wikimedia.org)
The petition argues that marijuana has accepted medical use and should thus be removed from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow for the medicinal use of marijuana, and an ever-increasing mountain of evidence has shown marijuana to be effective in treating a number of diseases and conditions.

The groups filing the lawsuit include the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Patients Out of Time, NORML, and California NORML. Also included are medical marijuana patients William Britt, Kathy Jordan, Michael Krawitz, and Rick Steeb.

"The federal government's strategy has been delay, delay, delay," said Joe Elford, chief counsel of ASA and lead counsel on the writ. "It is far past time for the government to answer our rescheduling petition, but unfortunately we've been forced to go to court in order to get resolution."

"Adhering to outdated public policy that ignores science has created a war zone for doctors and their patients who are seeking use cannabis therapeutics," said ASA director Steph Sherer.

"It is unacceptable for seriously ill Americans to wait a decade for their government to even respond to their petition for legal access to medicine to relieve their pain and suffering," said California NORML director Dale Gieringer. "The government's unreasonable delay seriously impugns its competence to oversee Americans' health care. The administration should act promptly to address its obsolete and bankrupt policy in accordance with President Obama's pledge to put science above politics."

"The Obama administration's refusal to act on this petition is an irresponsible stalling tactic," said Jon Gettman of the CRC.

This isn't the first time the DEA has failed to act on a marijuana rescheduling petition. NORML filed a petition in 1972. That time, it took the DEA 22 years to reject it, overruling its own administrative judge's finding that marijuana did have accepted medical use. Since then, the case for the medicinal use of marijuana has only grown stronger.

Forcing the DEA to act on the petition is a win-win for reformers. If the DEA concludes that marijuana does have medicinal value, it must be rescheduled. If the DEA concludes it does not, that finding can then be challenged in the federal courts.

Washington, DC
United States
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Why Bother?

Here's the DEA's response:  "You want us to respond to the petition?  OK, request denied."

BTW, since when does the DEA decide on drug scheduling?  According to the Controlled Substances Act, it is the US Attorney General, with input form HHS, who decides what substances go on what schedule and when or if a schedule should be changed.  See the relevant part of the CSA below:

The Attorney General shall apply the provisions of this subchapter to the controlled substances listed in the schedules established by section 812 of this title and to any other drug or other substance added to such schedules under this subchapter. Except as provided in subsections (d) and (e) of this section, the Attorney General may by rule -

  • (1) add to such a schedule or transfer between such schedules any drug or other substance if he -
    • (A) finds that such drug or other substance has a potential for abuse, and
    • (B) makes with respect to such drug or other substance the findings prescribed by subsection (b) of section 812 of this title for the schedule in which such drug is to be placed; or
  • (2) remove any drug or other substance from the schedules if he finds that the drug or other substance does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any schedule.

Hey, the DEA needs to justify

Hey, the DEA needs to justify its existence. With each step towards legalization, the DEA becomes more useless. With our budget cuts, we should legalize and abolish DEA. We could save a ton of money.

Tony's right

I think Tony's right but I wish he were wrong the moment the Attorney General gave the choice over to Michelle Leonhart all chances of the truth being heard went out the window as she is far from unbiased as the DEA Administrator, or maybe we should do this more often lets ask a mass murderer's partner in crime if he should go to prison that's basically what's happening here the government just found another way to keep the facts as far away from the decision making process as possible.

~The DEA's thoughts on this?~ Better luck next time 8 years from now.

weed

  1. weed is good it helped willy nelson
  2. it is also medicin
  3. god made it and man made beer

federal rescheduling

Just have to keep the pressure on. If the DEA refuses to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana then its time to go into court. They can only stall so long. There is an article on the web today: Meet your New Pot Dealer: Big Pharma by David Downs that says the DEA told Legalization Nation in an e-mail last week that 55 unnamed companies now hold licenses to grow cannabis in the United States. This is to make pills.
The fact of the matter is that the government and big pharma will never be able to completely control cannabis. God gave mankind cannabis. The most useful of plants on the planet. Food, shelter, clothing, paper, medicine, energy.  Popular Mechanics called it a Billion dollar crop in 1938 in regards to its many commercial uses. Henry Ford built a car out of it. Free the herb, free the people.

free marijuana

You're right, Jeff.  It's never been about drugs: it's always been about hemp.  When William Randolph Hearst and Ed DuPont joined the movement to outlaw marijuana in the 20's and 30's, they didn't care if your children smoked pot or not.  They just didn't want to have to compete with hemp fibers on the open market.  Hearst was growing pine trees and selling them to his newspaper empire as pulpwood and in 1929, DuPont got a patent to produce nylon from oil.  They had no idea the magnitude of the black market they were birthing. 

Since hemp wrote the first chapter of marijuana prohibition in America, it's only appropriate that it write the last chapter as well.  Forget regulation and taxation.  Anyone who has a legal right to buy a use deadly tobacco and alcohol must have the same legal right to grow and use marijuana without fear of prosecution or persecution by anybody.  Then we can forget about marijuana and get the nation's farmers growing all the hemp they can grow.  It sits there in the field all season sucking CO2 out of the air and producing more oxygen than any other plant of comparable size.  At the end of the season, we can make ethanol from the leaves and feed our corn crop to the cattle.  This will produce beef that poor people can afford again.  The hemp stalks make the strongest natural fiber known and the seeds are very high in amino acids.  And this is just some of the benefits of the plant.  Remember, it's also illegal for research scientists to posses it too.  But your are very right: when marijuana is free, America will be free.        

free marijuana

You're right, Jeff.  It's never been about drugs: it's always been about hemp.  When William Randolph Hearst and Ed DuPont joined the movement to outlaw marijuana in the 20's and 30's, they didn't care if your children smoked pot or not.  They just didn't want to have to compete with hemp fibers on the open market.  Hearst was growing pine trees and selling them to his newspaper empire as pulpwood and in 1929, DuPont got a patent to produce nylon from oil.  They had no idea the magnitude of the black market they were birthing. 

Since hemp wrote the first chapter of marijuana prohibition in America, it's only appropriate that it write the last chapter as well.  Forget regulation and taxation.  Anyone who has a legal right to buy a use deadly tobacco and alcohol must have the same legal right to grow and use marijuana without fear of prosecution or persecution by anybody.  Then we can forget about marijuana and get the nation's farmers growing all the hemp they can grow.  It sits there in the field all season sucking CO2 out of the air and producing more oxygen than any other plant of comparable size.  At the end of the season, we can make ethanol from the leaves and feed our corn crop to the cattle.  This will produce beef that poor people can afford again.  The hemp stalks make the strongest natural fiber known and the seeds are very high in amino acids.  And these are is just some of the benefits of the plant.  Remember, it's also illegal for research scientists to posses it too.  But your are very right: when marijuana is free, America will be free.        

they hide the tree from whom

they hide the tree from whom they consider to be their servants ! God gave us the tree of life thats why they call it a WEED!  Because if everyone realized God gave it to us they would not have control over us ! WAKEUP SHEOPLE ! WE VOTED !

What are you people on?

I'm in strong agreement with the people who want drugs legalized and the DEA done away with. But when I read the comments after some of these articles it makes me wonder if maybe the feds are right. Maybe drugs do make people stupid.

stupid

People have a right to be stupid.  It's a matter of choice.  But the government doesn't have a right to be corrupt.  As public servants, they have a sworn obligation to be honest and to act in the best interest of the American people: not the best interest of Corrections Corporation of America.

People are just born dumb!

People are just born dumb!

Prohibition = Profit

It was decided long ago there shall be at least 100 years of cannabis prohibition.  (my theory)

 

Just think of all the things it has accomplished.  Amongst many:

 

1.  Turned our Mayberry RFDish police stations into a para-military existence with the false pretense of a "war".  This, in turn, will help if/when martial law is declared and our govt's hundreds of empty FEMA prisons start filling up.

prohibition

It is interesting that lying to a police officer is a crime but the government can tell as many lies as they like and pass legislation based on their lies and that is OK.  They aren't waging war on drugs - they are waging war on the American people.

A Must

Medically speaking, this is a must in order to get marijuana available. I do not know the in's and out's as to how the process occurs, but I do know the end result, declaring marijuana both useful and non-addictive are vital, bureaucratically speaking, in order for the courts to loosen the death grip of marijuana prohibition. Fight the good fight and let's open the door with medical marijuana so we can ultimately consume this wonderful product in the privacy of our own homes without the fear of negative sanctions. Remember you can overdose on oxygen or water, but for some reason, you can not overdose on marijuana. This point needs to be stressed much more. Thanks for hearing me out.

A Must

Medically speaking, this is a must in order to get marijuana available. I do not know the in's and out's as to how the process occurs, but I do know the end result, declaring marijuana both useful and non-addictive are vital, bureaucratically speaking, in order for the courts to loosen the death grip of marijuana prohibition. Fight the good fight and let's open the door with medical marijuana so we can ultimately consume this wonderful product in the privacy of our own homes without the fear of negative sanctions. Remember you can overdose on oxygen or water, but for some reason, you can not overdose on marijuana. This point needs to be stressed much more. Thanks for hearing me out.

Not Free

Why do people call this a free country?  This is a prison camp police state.  Why hasn't anyone with power and money sued the DEA and the Feds in the Supreme Court?  I do not think everything about pot is great but it's much safer than alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco and alcohol actually meet the criteria for schedule 1 drugs but you can by them at a gas station or liquor store down the street.  By criminalizing drugs the government just creates a huge black market which results in all kinds of violent crime and supports drug cartels. The government leaders have to realize this obvious fact.  Our government is clearly one of the most corrupt agencies in the world.  Using hemp instead of trees for paper would help the environment.  It's one of the most useful plants in the world.  I'll ask again.. why hasn't this issue been taken all the way to the supreme court yet?  Forget just petitioning the DEA.  We need to sue the feds over and over again until they acknowledge our right to true freedom.

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