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

[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 thoughts

  1. I ask you – doesn’t it make sense to be like water – and – take the path of least resistance. Religious use is that path of least resistance [Rastas/American Indian Church]. Religious use also recognizes and includes, as a part of its Doctrine, compassionate use [medical use]. There! that’s killing two birds with one stone. Recreational use receives the most resistance – nevertheless – is still unconstitutional in any sense of reality. The battle for our Constitutional rights is a long and hard fought battle – mainly because it’s a battle for “all of our Constitutional rights” which we are being stripped away on a daily basis. The big question is – Who/what Americans are denying us our freedom and why? Is this foreplay to 1984 [Orwellian Society]? THINK ABOUT IT.

  2. “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. I will never, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance, or admit the right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others. On the contrary, we are bound – you, I, and everyone, to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience. We ought with one heart and one hand hew down the daring and dangerous efforts of those who would seduce the public opinion to substitute itself into – tyranny over religious faith.” Thomas Jefferson

  3. which is why i got the last 7 of 10 signatures required for the change.org petition. although i dont see how 200 signatures will get them to do anything about it. basicly im tired of being lied to by big bro, and im tired of this bull crap in general. george washington and thomas jefferson BOTH (altho not alone) thought the entire world is better off from the use of hemp etc.
    The thing that makes me laugh the most is that ive noticed alot!!!!! of people saying that weed isnt the same as back in the day cause its stronger….
    But i never hear any of those people bring up that you cant od on it- so stronger just means its gonna take me less time to get my buzz on so i can go be regularly normal. also as far as it being stronger now then back in the 30’s- Ever hear of TaiStick???????? its like the HGrail of cannabis and has been around for what? 3k years???? theres no bloody point in arguing how strong it is versus effecting people, and therefore should just be ignored or responded to as i have- infact i added that in to the letter to Norm Dicks that i sent from NORML’s write your rep page. basicly read exactly the same, except i added in after It is time to stop ceding control of the
    marijuana market to unregulated, criminal entrepreneurs and allow states
    to enact common sense regulations that seek to govern the adult use of
    marijuana in a fashion similar to alcohol, :
    if not exactly like it, ie;
    allow home growing as long as no sale attempts occur, etc. at some point
    you’ve got to ask yourself: “did prohibition help with alcohol at all?”
    answer: obviously not, since all it did was formulate NASCAR- in attempts
    to out run cops. there is no logical/plausible reason for it to be
    prohibited, merely controlled. as far as the Strength of Marijuana plants,
    there is no possibility of overdose, so the strength of the plants are
    pretty much moot.
    so therin you can see what i mean.
    thanks NORML for having that link in support of HR 2306, making it so we can get it in legal like Alcohol and tobacco. this plant prosecution is insanity, AND IT NEEDS TO STOP.
    i will definately sign a whitehouse website 5k req petition let me know, ill bring atleast 7 friends with me.

  4. With so much support for Cannabis, and the obvious broken govt which still supports decades old, ignorant, racist lies and propaganda, why arent we doing anything about it? Im sorry, but the more that prohibition continues, and the reasons why, the more ridiculous it gets! In my eyes, the govt is responsible for EVERY non violent drug offenders life thats ruined, and what they go through in prison, for ALL the deaths that continue to tally due to the war on drugs, they are responsible for anyone who had to resort to the black market and had something unfortunate happen to them as well as any deaths in the black market, they are responsible for ALL the tax payer money wasted in fighting an obviously failing war, they are responsible for ALL the pain and suffering that MILLIONS had to go through because they couldnt get a safe and natural alternative to help their ailments, they are responsible for ALL of the people who became addicted top prescription drugs because they couldnt get access to cannabis, they are responsible for the DEATHS of ALL the people whos lives cannabis COULD HAVE SAVED, they are responsible for the deaths of unarmed, non violent citizens (and pets) durings drugs raids, they are responsible for all propaganda and the human beings who walk around with ignorant, distorted views of one of the most benign substances on earth, they are responsible for not allowing the hemp industry to flourish to keep profits in other polluting and corrupt industried like OIL, denying hemp also stopped all the possiblities of hemp and all hemp products which could replace so many wasteful and polluting products we use today, and lastly they are responsible for future incidents where all the things I mentioned will continue to happen! With 20,000 studies on cannabis, no deaths directly related to cannabis, and a govt that is in cahoots with big pharma/alcohol/tobacco, and refuses any findings or studies on cannabis, its very CLEAR WHAT WE NEED TO DO! Non violent, civil action is in order NOW! Sure lots of people have made lots of great points on these boards, scientists have found a variety of sutdies, and lots of money has been thrown into organizations like Norml, MPP, etc. However, being an activist the last few years and a member if the Zeitgeist Movement, I have learned that getting to the root cause of a problem is the only way to get truly fix the problem. We’re doing everything wrong! Stop VOTING! Stop throwing money at everything! We are human beings, and we are allowing a small group of people dictate our entire existence to us! If you continue to suport the system, shit will go on EXACTLY how is has been. Stop supporting the system, and you create REAL change! Its unbelievable that the rest of the world recognizes the problems and are doing something about it – in America, its like as long as people can consume, watch their sound bite news/ cheesy reality shows, and not do too much thinking they are content just voicing their opnions online. When are we hitting the streets?! When are we going to stop driving our cars when some group of people decides to throw the gas prices up and down? When are we going to stop voting when its so obvious we have no real choices in anything?! When are we goign to realize that our subserviant culture only favors a relative few?! Is anybody with me?!?!

  5. They will say anything and do everything to keep the status-quo.How come cocaine and heroin are cheaper today and more potent than ever after 40yrs and billions of dollars wasted in the drug war? The system is like a junkie, addicted, corrupt, and sinister and will justifiy all to keep the budgets flowing as well the contraband to keep feeding a junkie fix, thier coffers.

  6. why do people think that just because a canidate wants to legalize cannabis means we elect him (or herrr) and poof, it is legal?….aah, no, ron paul is up against many lawmakers who stand to lose, along with their lobbists, if cannabis is legalized…so, we cannot souly depend on who gets elected…we got to open the eyes of those who dont know the real people behind the herb! dammit, their are millions of decent human beings in the good old u.s.a. who consume cannabis….its going to take ALL of us to speak loud enough to be heard…..peace to you all and, thanks to paul and the crew at norml for not giving up when the ship has run aground. i get bummed out and, give in and then, i read something on this website that stirs this fire we call freedom…inhale for me….

  7. So in the eyes of the DEA I was better off hooked on prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants – 30 Vicodin and 20+ Soma per day – than on the totally innocuous med mj I’ve used since kicking that monkey off my back. Let’s see, how many times did I lose consciousness on all those legal narcotic drugs??? A few, pathetically… How great was my driving on all those pills??? Maybe not so hot… My life has changed 1000% for the better since getting off LEGAL HARD DRUGS in favor of medical marijuana. The DEA has an agenda to perpetuate which has ZERO to do with the medical effectiveness of marijuana. Though our points are valid, the DEA is a political organization which depends about an enormous budget – which might be cut WHEN marijuana is eventually legalized. Personally, I can’t wait to see the DEA have to pursue genuinely bad, dangerous people rather than passive , mellow pot smokers.

  8. Much goes on in the Washington Circus! This hitherto unknown press release from the Drug Czar’s Office:
    Drug Trafficking and Organized Crime: Converging Threats in the 21st Century
    Posted by R. Gil Kerlikowske on July 25, 2011 at 10:56 AM EDT
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/25/drug-trafficking-and-organized-crime-converging-threats-21st-century
    Which begins: “Today, I was pleased to join my colleagues from throughout the Administration to announce the first U.S. strategy on transnational organized crime (TOC) in fifteen years. The Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime provides a comprehensive plan that will, in part, help us build on our progress to further reduce drug use in the United States and disrupt drug trafficking and its facilitation of other transnational threats.”
    THE WAR ON DRUGS ESCALATES. The primary goal of this report is to attempt a strangle-hold on distribution of cannabis, and to a lessor degree cocaine. Between this information, and the recent White House Policy on Drug Policy it’s obvious the Federal Government is broken. Out of touch with the reality of the problems and dangers this country faces.
    1: Gun violence by straight people, alcoholics or prescription drug abusers (not cannabis users, growers, and US civilian distribution.
    2: Deaths and harm caused by alcohol and tobacco use. Includes, domestic violence; vehicular homicides; chronic alcoholism, deaths from abuse of alcohol, virtually unregulated though taxed availability; Tobacco related illnesses including cancer, heart-disease, COPD.
    3: Escalation in the domestic development of pseudo-cannabis, LSD, stimulant, “energy” substances, none regulated by the FDA, and few regulated by the DEA. The variations are so infinite as to make regulation of these products impossible. The good news, people really don’t want these artificial products, but rather, in the case of cannabis they want cannabis, in the case of LSD, there is natural growing peyote and psilocybin (magic mushrooms), both natural, reasonably safe to use, and with documented therapeutic value, or religious value when used properly.
    4: Prescription Drug Abuse. To give you an idea of how messed up the system the DEA uses is, cocaine is a Schedule II drug, along with opium and Fentanyl, meaning they have recognized medical value, high potential for abuse or addiction, and yet can be prescribed by a physician. Thing is, Fentanyl is 80X more potent than morphine, with heroin being only 4X as potent. All can be prescribed by a physician; cannabis cannot.
    Religious use of plants is not even addressed. That is most likely because Religious Freedom in this country is viewed by Christian Standards, not Constitutional standards. Both peyote, and psilocybin are subject to The Controlled Substances Act, and not an Act of God, therefore, laws regulating religious uses for cannabis, peyote and psilocybin are based on the Controlled Substances Act.
    The full listing and status of substances can be found here on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act
    The conclusion, my conclusion is The Controlled Substances Act which is the BIBLE for the DEA and many state agencies is as defective as they come, not only is it so elementary and useless from a scientific, religious, medical point of view, but it also is useless from providing harm reduction. The irony is in the creation of Nixon’s self-made Controlled Substances Act of 1970 the following was the original principal: Classification decisions are required to be made on criteria including potential for abuse (an undefined term),[2][3] currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties..
    Nixon’s own ultra-conservative commission delegated to provide sound, reasonable recommendations in establishing the policy were all but ignored.
    Wikipedia re: Shafer Commission: Part F of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 established the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse—known as the Shafer Commission after its chairman, Raymond P. Shafer—to study marijuana abuse in the United States.[4] During his presentation of the commission’s First Report to Congress, Shafer recommended the decriminalization of marijuana in small amounts, saying, “[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only ‘with the greatest reluctance.”
    Conclusion: Our Federal government is broken, not current with the times; ignorant in the face of profiting from it’s ignorance; no regard for honest, science based policies of harm reduction in this country.
    The Drug War is Escalating, only under a new name.
    Homeland Security. Anyone who uses cannabis is a treat to this nations security under the new guidelines. Demand for illegal substances must be wiped out, and only then will Mexico see an end to the mounting death-toll by terrorists trafficking drugs.
    The lessons of alcohol prohibition in the early 20th century are lost on the federal Gov’t, simply because that was Americans doing the manufacturing and distribution. “DRUGS on the other hand is an international threat. If cannabis didn’t grow in Mexico, there’d be no international threat. But it does. It goes everywhere around the world.
    The time has come for the rise of the Anti-Christ, to bring God into court in chains. The manufacturing of these substances must be stopped, and ultimately God is to blame.
    Elect Gov. Rick Perry and he will see God is brought to his knees… the Gov. speaks to his own god, through his own church, and it is not the god that created the plants of the earth for humans to consume as they pleased. His god has rules, strict rules, and those rules will save America, and bring extraordinary profits to the Pharma Industries, the Big Corps that control the world, but also rewrite the principals of the US Constitution.
    It is time for American to be an example of what Democracy really is: Strict, and unscientifically based control of a population. The Devil is in the Details…

  9. Both parties stink! Can’t trust any of them, liar,cheats,theives. I can’t stand any of them.Any of them will tell you what you want to hear, but does nothing about any thing, when elected. The people they put in for the DEA,FBI,CIA they are all in on this together.Why would they legalize marijuana, when they all, can make a ton of money on it. And destroy live at the same time. This goverment dosen’t care about us, especially if it is illegal(marijuana), but you can drink yourself into a drunken stupper… But hey, thats legal!!!!

  10. 110. Jeanne
    None of it [not a single bit of it] makes sense – does it?
    Why do we suppose that is? The answer is as plain as the nose on our face. This is why God wiped us out the first time – and – he’s about to flush the toilet again.

  11. Politics is just getting what you want. Well! The DEA is a great politician – because – they’re sure getting what they want. Case dismissed – court adjourned.

  12. The Republicans will not legilize marijuana, no how, no way!!!! They don’t want any thing to stop the funding they get from marijuana. I think it is high time they all get drug tested!! They can drink till they are in a stuper then get stopped for a ticket, then they get, what a alap. Like I said we need another goverment that is more friendly than the parties we have , they are not American friendly!It is time we impeach all of them!!!!

  13. In some states, judges are elected and must campaign, which means raise monies for ads, TV spots, radio and signs. I don’t know what you have to do to run, but it would be fun to be a judge. Throw out any cases that deal with pot. Jury Nullification is a way to get laws undone. Go to jury duty, hope you get on a drug case and have the person set free!

  14. 114. Mark
    Just demand a jury of your piers. Your piers are 12 Qualified Patients. Disqualify a jury that opposes the state’s compassionate use law.

  15. Drug Enforcement Agency, translated means, the government agency that enforces (controls) the world drug trade. This is nothing more than a taxpayer funded drug ring guised as a government agency for the “good of the people” and that is why the DEA needs to be dismantled. What a waste of valuable resources ($$) that could be going to educating our young people, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and making this a better country.

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