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

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 thoughts

  1. This decision is bigger than marijuana reform. This is a justice system overstepping and violating the constitution. What happened to constitutional checks and balances? How is an enforcement agency establishing what is legal and illegal AND enforcing that decision. Where is the legislature in this decision; and the courts? This isn’t right and cannot stand!

  2. My oldest grandson just saw the news about the DEA keeping marijuana schedule 1, he asked me if I knew that it was not physically addictive and it

    So honestly, how do you explain this to a kid? Do I tell my grandsons that marijuana is the most dangerous drug because it is not physically addictive and it will not kill you, should I tell them that the schedule 2 drugs like methamphetamine that are very addictive and will kill you are a safer alternative to marijuana? Or the schedule 3 drugs, the opiates, like the ones their mother got so addicted to that she lost custody of them and that is why they now live with me, or the reason they no longer have a father because he died of a schedule 3 drug overdose when they where too young to remember, these drugs are even more safe to use? What kind of a message are they sending to the kids, every kid, that just about anything is a safer alternative to marijuana?
    Kids will experiment with many things, how many will become addicted to the safer drugs than marijuana, and how many of our children will die because of it.

  3. The DEA does not answer to the voters. Congress does. And that is where the decision has to be made to reschedule / deschedule canabis.

  4. The DEA is just defending the existing federal definition of marijuana, as well as their unjust literal interpretation of it, even though the holistic interpretation would let them devote more time and effort to stopping the other more dangerous drugs. It is evident from their actions: No textual reform, so no reschedule.

    99% * 0.3% * 710 => 420

  5. When is this insanity going to end? Police will continue to enforce the marijuana laws that are out-of-touch with the public; the courts will continue to be inundated with silly pot busts; and our prisons will continue to be bursting at the seams because of these ridiculous attitudes toward pot.

  6. How can one be expected to follow society’s laws when such laws are racist and based on continual lies. Prohibition is ruinous to societies that enact it on their people. It has never been about public health or safety…

  7. Reclassification would result in cut in funding as enforcement of existing laws abate. No government agency will tolerate cuts.

  8. When the DEA asked the FDA for an opinion or approval, is an old joke that only they would laugh including the prohibitionist. They try to make it complicated, but it’s not. Making cannabis illegal is their thing.


    In this article from the Washington Post, Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa is quoted as trying to “get answers for the parents of children with severe epilepsy” with “more research.”
    Can the claim for more research when the American Pediatrics Association is demanding marijuana be removed from schedule 1 …so we can stop seizures in babies… be called out for the state sponsored terror that is? We can find peer-based reviewed evidence for the safe medicle efficacy of marijuana on epilepsy right here on this web page. The American public is being educated more every day that the catch 22 between the DEA and the FDA is Congress’ fault. No Chuck, you do not get to blame or praise a rogue DEA that should never have been created in the first place under the CSAct. It’s time for Congress to wipe its own @$$! DEschedule marijuana!

  10. No use insulting the flat earth community. The government believes we went to the moon but for some reason can’t do it today.


    The US has a patent on Cannabis for it’s *HEALING MEDICAL QUALITIES* – YET IT’S NOT MEDICINE!

    We have 25 Medical Marijuana States in the US – YET IT’S NOT MEDICINE?

    National Institutes of Health (NIH) a.k.a. reported on THC’s ability to kill cancerous cells, especially tumors in the brain, along with regulate cellular health (Programming bad cells to die, and protect healthy ones). – STILL NOT MEDICINE!

    Not a single person has EVER died from an overdose – it has a built in overdose protection sending anyone that overindulges to SLEEP! – BEWARE OF THE ABUSE OF THIS DEADLY PLANT!

    Look I know that HRC & OBAMA worked out a sweet $$$ deal to have things play out this way, just so HRC could *TRY* to pull freedom fighters to her side with rescheduling promises. – FAIL, but nice try #NEVERHILLARY

    We could’ve easily used Israel’s scientific research to show the benefits are vast. *If* there was a desire to stop making money from For-Profit prisons (Pscchhh!). Mr. Rosenberg is a liar, and corrupt evil man for pushing to continue laws that we know shouldn’t exist in the first place. Karma will come for you, and everyone else that knowingly profited off these lies preventing life saving medication from children, vets, or anyone else that can benefit from Cannabis as medicine.

    FDA & DEA & and sadly the POTUS appear to be willing participants in this for-profit scheme. We’ll likely never know who was paid, and how much, but corruption at this level is fueling the political revolution. More people than ever should be voting this November to stop this cow diarrhea from spewing from every politicians mouth. It would be nice to see Jill Stein and Gary Johnson team up for a Stein / Johnson run. Still get 1st female president – and you get legalized herb, and much more humanitarian & compassion based policies.

    Sad Sad times for the States.

  12. We need to file major lawsuit’s against the dea for faulsifieing there position and the 14th ammendment and make all our gov. responsible for there faulty action’s, The greatest criminal’s in our country, our F*CKED UP GOVERMENT.

  13. And CBS-shame on them-just this morning presented a news story titled “How legalized pot may have contributed to the heroine epidemic” and then went on to say how because the drug cartels could no longer compete with legal pot (lower price, MUCH better quality and no headless corpses) they turned to heroine and started producing it mixed with fentanyl.

    The article completely overlooked, or barely brushed on, the pharmaceutical’s and doctors’ roles in creating the heroine epidemic. We have a whole new “gateway” when doctors readily prescribe these opiods for the first sign of pain (Americans seriously need to toughen up) and then when people get cut off, they seek out heroine, often just to avoid the withdrawal, but also because they’ve found they like the sedation. These legal drugs are chemically similar to heroine and doctors prescribe them all too readily.

  14. I would love to see the DEA’s response if they were pressured to add tobacco to schedule 1. After all, it has no medical uses (as far as I know), and has a high potential for abuse as is proven by how many people it kills yearly.

  15. Remember, karma is eternal. The Dea is responsible for this per se Resraint of Trade. Their actions are well documented and will serve as the rope. Canabis has been treated differently than all other substances.A selective and unique set of protochols, due peocess, abitrary time lines and criterion never before used. The time is near for the dea to face a jury, something thet have never had to do. Fudamental fairness towards canabis? Willful Blindness?
    Depraved indifference? Reckless indangerment?
    Frade. My favorite, why was Marinal ok”d by the fda the dea tha mma and all tyhe Ajs now and then???

  16. I had epilepsy sense 1960. I have been taking CBD pills as treatment. They were resentily legalize and could from marijuana. The pills stop me from having seizures completely. They are the only thing that has. I have looked at all ofbenifit benifits of marijuana and wonder why marijuana is a schedule 1 drug with all of the benefits I tried to find the bad side of the drug and the only thing that I could find l

  17. Marijuana is never going to be reclassified, or taken off the Scheduled drug list unless we find a way to disconnect the pocket books of the FDA and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Currently, the Pharmaceutical Industry pays a “user fee” to the FDA to “offset the cost and time involved, in processing paper work”. This fee, IMO, is nothing more than a bribe to get their chemicals fast tracked onto the market, so they can make more people ill, and sell more people more drugs.

    To have a readily and easily accessible “drug” that works for so many illness with no side effects, and no creation of MORE illness, would cut into the profits of both the FDA and the Pharmaceutical Industry. Especially if it were legalized across the board for both recreational and medical use. Imagine if you could grow your own medicine for the cost of seed and some water! Imagine actually getting healthy again! Imagine not having to break the law and risk going to a for profit prison to be healthy, or just to have a bit of fun. In this country, freedom is an illusion. It will continue to be until such time as we have a REAL revolution and take back the Government that is SUPPOSED to be OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people.

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