Federal Court Asked to Compel Decision in Marijuana Scheduling Action
DEA Has Failed to Issue Required Decision after 9 Years
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A coalition of advocacy groups and patients yesterday filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to compel the Obama Administration to formally respond to a 9-year-old petition to have marijuana rescheduled under the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
Relief sought from the Court of Appeals would enable states with medical marijuana laws to expedite efforts to change marijuana’s status under federal law and narrow the widening gap between state and federal law. For example, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has expressed interest in having all the states that allow medical marijuana to ask the federal government to reclassify the drug. If the Court of Appeals grants the relief requested by the CRC, Washington and other medical marijuana states would have the opportunity to seek rescheduling now in expedited proceedings, rather than wait years for a new rescheduling action to ripen.
The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) argues that marijuana no longer satisfies the requirements of a Schedule I prohibited substance and that federal law requires that it be reclassified. President Obama’s Administration has had ample time to review the Coalition’s administrative petition but has refused to take final action, violating the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act which requires action within a reasonable period of time.
One of the requirements for maintaining a drug in Schedule I of the CSA is that it must not have accepted medical use in the United States. Marijuana’s medical use is now accepted by 16 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) as well as the District of Columbia.
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The members of the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis include the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), California NORML, the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, High Times, Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center (Cooperative), the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), New Mexicans for Compassionate Use, Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, and Patients Out of Time.
Timeline of Efforts to Reschedule Marijuana
- 1995 – 2001 – Prior attempt by Jon Gettman to reschedule cannabis ended with a rejection of the petition by then DEA head Asa Hutchinson
- 2002 – Coalition for Rescheduling files new petition to DEA to reschedule marijuana.
- 2003 – 2006 – HHS reviews all science relevant and makes recommendation to DEA
- 2006 – Present – Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis awaits final decision by DEA.
CRC rescheduling petition: http://www.drugscience.org/PDF/Petition_Final_2002.pdf
Additional Information: http://www.drugscience.org