Why We Should Demand That Congress Reschedule Marijuana

austinLike most Americans who follow the debate over marijuana legalization in this country, I was disappointed that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration this week once again determined that marijuana has no medical use and left it in Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

Disappointed, but not surprised.

NORML first petitioned the DEA to reschedule marijuana to a lower schedule back in 1973, and we have been involved in two subsequent attempts to accomplish the same result, without success. The DEA is a law enforcement agency. So they will continue to oppose any steps to loosen controls over marijuana until Congress forces them to change.

A Brief History of Rescheduling Attempts.

The initial petition NORML filed to reschedule marijuana in 1973 ended up being an endurance test. The agency refused to even acknowledge our petition or respond to it until we went to the court of appeals and forced them to respond. And this strategy of ignore and delay continued at every step, dragging the process out for 15 years until 1988, when DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young, following days of testimony, finally ruled in our favor.

The ruling concluded that “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”

Judge Young continued: “It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.”

However, the DEA Administrator simply ignored the decision of his own hearing examiner and rejected our petition, claiming the hearing examiner had relied on anecdotal evidence. NORML again appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals, but the court allowed the Administrator’s decision to stand, saying he had acted within his discretion.

And twice in the intervening decades NORML has been a party to subsequent attempts to require the DEA to reschedule marijuana; and both times, as they did in this most recent case, the DEA continued to insist that marijuana has no medical usefulness and should remain on Schedule I, along with heroin.

So I hope readers will understand when I say, “Enough is enough! Time to ignore the DEA altogether and focus our efforts on Congress.”

How Marijuana Ended Up on Schedule I in the First Place.

When the federal Controlled Substances Act was being considered by Congress in 1970 — after the prior federal anti-marijuana act had been held unconstitutional — various members of Congress debated the question of where to place marijuana under the new act. A separate provision of that new law established The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Marijuana Commission), which was charged with the responsibility of determining the appropriate policy regarding marijuana and reporting back to Congress. A compromise was reached to temporarily place marijuana in Schedule I until the commission came back with their report.

When the commission came back with its marijuana report in 1972, they recommended that minor marijuana offenses be decriminalized, which would have made it available (again) as a medicine. (Marijuana was on the U.S. Pharmacopeia from the mid-1850s until 1937, and it was available by prescription and widely prescribed for several conditions.)

However, those recommendations were not accepted by then-Presdient Nixon or Congress, and marijuana was left in Schedule I, where it remains today.

In fact, what Congress should really do, and what NORML has been arguing for some time, is to totally de-schedule marijuana by removing it from the Controlled Substances Act and treat it as we do alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference.

Bills Pending In Congress.

There are currently several bills pending in Congress that, if adopted, would resolve this matter. HR 1774, the Compassionate Access Act, introduced by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Rep. Dana Rorhabacher (R-Calif.), would require that marijuana be rescheduled and would prohibit federal officials from interfering in state-compliant activities specific to the physician-authorized use or distribution of medical cannabis.

And Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently introduced S.2237, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015, that would de-schedule cannabis from the CSA and treat it like alcohol and tobacco.

Of course, neither of these bills have been scheduled for a hearing or given a vote — even in committee. But those conditions may change following the upcoming election in November, and we may well have the opportunity to move a rescheduling proposal forward in the next Congress.

So instead of trying to convince the DEA that they should act responsibly and compassionately and lower marijuana to a more appropriate schedule under federal law, or remove it entirely, it is now time to put our efforts behind a push to convince the next Congress to solve this problem directly.


This column originally appeared on ATTN.com.


84 thoughts

  1. Let Congress vote to de-commission the useless DEA and put all of their idiot “agents” out of work!!

      1. Don’t worry, I got a job for those poor, pitiful, out-of-work DEA assholes: washing dishes!

        …If they can handle it, that is! First of all, there’s real work involved — DEA agents don’t actually contribute to society by working, they’re fucking parasites.

        Secondly, they’re going to have to be civilized in dealing with coworkers and customers — no terrorizing people with automatic weapons! You don’t get whatever you want by pointing guns at people, you will be fired (again.)

        But if they are capable of disarming and becoming peaceful civilians, I got a job for them in the service industry: dishwashing and janitorial!

      2. Derek,
        I know some DEA agents as well including an informant who I count among one of my close friends. The same catch 22 that we speak of written into the Controlled Substances Act that requires that NIDA and the DEA deny the medical efficacy of marijuana inherently creates a Catch 22 for the agency to operate within any human community anywhere with integrity.
        What I hope we can agree on is that ending marijuana prohibition… Or that of any illegally traded commodity… can be replaced with sensible regulations and policies… so that we can RESTORE integrity to our law enforcement.
        Any DEA agent I know isn’t going to cry for their jobs after marijuana prohibition. The evil ones already built their homes by the lake, and they will continue to capitalize on whatever drug is still prohibited or their informants can milk out of the local “dealer,” (but they may have some retribution coming when the hush money dries up… Live by the sword, die by the sword…) The smart ones will go work as consultants for the new marijuana industry (if they havnt already) while the less affluent, rather dull knives shall we say, may have to seek unemployment, (but we knew that was gonna happen anyway… “Don’t get high on your own supply?”)
        What interests me is watching the DOJ informant cartels fall down as the hush money runs out from Illegal marijuana sales. No illegal marijuana money? No judges, immigration officers or even Congressman to purchase.

      3. There’s lots of honest ways to make money and make our communities safer, Derek. Heck, maybe the DEA can merge into Customs, join Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and go after real criminals like pharmaceutical companies trying to import sudafed from China into the port of Miami?
        The DEA on the top live a fast paced life, joined at the hip with the Colombian cartels, (literally). It’s really hard to go against your own gut feelings in a high adrenaline drug war when you feel your team is right and no one told you the truth about prohibition.

        Informants don’t lead the glamorous lives we see in Hollywood films like The Departed. They get Russian Roulette played to their head on a regular basis. They work nights, cant keep a marriage together to save their life, and in the case of my friend, are often foreign nationals who have been extorted into service by getting busted for possession and having their passports taken away and replaced with what’s called a “J” visa, meaning “You stay in this country as long as you do what we say.” And the state department doesn’t even know you exist. The irony is if you’re an informant and you kill someone? The penal code protects you and calls it “extortion.” Isn’t that extortion of the definition of “extortion?” ?
        Sometimes informants run an entire biker gang but theyll die in prison before admitting that (or FOR admitting that.. Talk about a Catch 22).

        Point is, a good man doesn’t hide from a good job. And in this economy if you can’t be satisfied and work for what you’ve got, youre not working hard enough.

      4. Oh, several. Exactly how many is several? Four, seven, twenty-seven? They can work at McD’s, Wendy’s or Burger King, I won’t discriminate.

      5. I know a lot more Pot Smokers who are great people and they don’t deserve to go to jail nor should I pay for them to be there.

        For Example:
        “The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world.”
        ? Dr. Carl Sagan

      6. I just moved to Ok from Ca. My medicine is now illegal! The almost 0 use of Percocet will not stand w/out medical cannabis. Lupus, Fibro, chronic pain is helped greatly w medical cannabis. The DEA not re classifying it is simply so big tobacco or others can take over production. They don’t want us taking health into our own hands.
        And, there is plenty of research, so they lie.

      7. I live in OK too,the county S of me in TX, is full of corruption, due to the “WAR ON DRUGS” This TX county acts like a Gestapo. It’s terrible what they are doing, there goal is to put everyone in prison. People, this “WAR ON DRUGS”, is a real war! I didn’t think our government could wage a war against us?!

    1. yes talk about “wasteful government spending.” Funny how those that use this catch-phrase cut a wide berth around applying it to the DEA.

    2. YES! The DEA only causes harm, has no intelligence in it. They represent an alien democratic force inner government.

      1. It’s a real war against us! Can our government wage war on us? The DEA needs to be shut down. It is creating a break down of our families.

    3. I agree 100% with u. If some people would los there jobs it would god for them. Go out and work like the average Joe, with not al those days paid off and benefits.

  2. I like how this article is about the US Congress, yet the picture is of the Texas statehouse. 😛

    Despite their similar appearance, always remember that Texas’ is taller, and the goddess Liberty statue on top purposefully has her back turned to DC.

    1. Ha! Maybe Keith is saying start with citizen lobbying your state legislature and work your way up to federal?
      Or perhaps everyone should just donate to Texas NORML? (Seriously! We need the help! Legislative session starts in January but we gotta back Beto O’rourke and NORML endorsed candidates wherever we can!)

      1. You silly person. Maybe we should give America back to the Indians or maybe England. Yankee.

      2. Ya know who would oppose a Mexican takeover of Texas the most? Tejanos. Especially those who escaped from Mexico to come live in Texas. They know exactly the ruin and misery they left behind, and at least from those I’ve spoken to, they’ll be damned if Mexico crosses the Rio to destroy all they’ve worked hard for.

      3. Sigh… I wasn’t going to enter this conversation… But Im waiting for my lunch to be served so…
        Allistair, now that you have been pummeled into perspective that Texas does not “belong to Mexico,” in any way more than Rome belongs to Greece, allow me to afford you one concession that relates to the drug war;
        Texas really doesn’t know where its borders start or end along many areas along the Rio Grande. Former Governor Bush had to abandon his wall project in the 90s because there exists no Federal easement along the Texas border, and since the 1970’s Mexico and the US have established a treaty that requires “no obstruction to the natural flow of the river,” so to build a wall means appropriating and condemning private property from American citizens= Lots of litigation.
        To make matters worse, the course of a river changes seasonally, shifting the border. In the town of Brownsville, Texas theres a golf course in a horseshoe of the river where authorities decided it was cheaper to build the wall across the short path, so this golf course sits literally in a no man’s land during an open drug war. The remarkable fact is the golfers don’t seem to give a $#!+ whose land it is or what people are fighting about or throwing over the wall as long as they’re playing golf! (In fact… Whats in that golf ball?! And if your golf ball gets inspected by ICE or the DEA, do you still have to play the course?)

        Even on the Red River border with Oklahoma the Department of the Interior is still trying to sort out a 100-year-old treaty dispute between Texas (energy lobby) and the Kiowa, Comanche, Apache and Choctaw Nations who have an old Supreme Court ruling that grants them “original access” to the lands where the original flow of the Red River is now thousands of acres into what some Texans believed was their private property.
        So some Texas land is going back to Mexico and the original Nations after all…

      4. Ha ha! “That golf ball took off over the wall like a shot of cocaine! …waitaminute… “

      1. I live in OK, 4 miles S of me and I’m in TX. The TX county is full of corruption! It’s terrible what they are doing. Their goal is to put people in prison. The Sheriff says, “everyone that complains on them, all go to prison”!!!! Such a convenient way to take care of complaints. Sexual favors,not going off bails, not going off warrants, taking the people’s drugs in a bust, cocaine is there preference and many, many more corrupt things. I could probably be killed, because of what I know!!! They act like a Gestapo!!!

  3. Yes, Keith is absolutely correct.

    The heat is on between Tim Canova, who accepts no money from private prisons or Big Sugar taking only small donations like Bernie Sanders;


    Check out his recent debate. Donate to his campaign;

    And check the NORML Congressional Scorecard;


    This is how we will demand and purchase our country back, which Congress is holding ransom as long as the Controlled Substances Act continues to demand the DEA, HHS, NIDA and the FDA deny the medical efficacy of whole plant cannabis. We are fighting for more than legalization of marijuana, children with epilepsy, disproportionate incarceration, stopping the veteran suicide-opiate epidemic… We are fighting for our right to continue to coevolve with a panacea… A fundamental nutrient to our endocannabinoid systems… cannabis… that must never be patented or prohibited for the sustained health and security for all human beings.

    1. Big Pharma has much to fear from this not-so-humble plant. There is emerging more and more evidence that good weed can prevent or even cure many of the most chronic and expensive diseases (arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease). (There have been numerous articles posted about how pot smokers tend to have lower rates of cancer, better recovery from brain injury, have lower rates of glaucoma, tend to be smaller in the waist and more active, of how effective it is in alleviating pain and stimulating appetite) With Baby Boomers aging, many are finding marijuana to be the answer to their ailments and foregoing pharmaceuticals and procedures, big pharma stands to lose a lot of customers if pot goes legal nationwide, as it should. All the more that this becomes a human rights issue, that we be allowed to do what we think is best for our own health.

      1. as an anecdotal side note, I was on 3 medications for depression and anxiety from 2011 to 2014. I quit all 3 spontaneously when I took a trip to Denver and had forgotten my medication. Of course I had to visit the dispensaries while I was there, and ended up not doing an emotional crash and burn as I had in the past when I tried to get off the meds. I have been medication free ever since.

      2. Right on!
        That’s the kind of glorious news I love to hear. The very best to you. Now you’ve got your head above water! Keep paddling, homie!

      3. I too took a trip to Colorado having struggled with COPD after taking a couple of very small hits of indica my breathing instantly got better and my so2’s went up into the high 90’s for the first time in 2. They can preach that it has no medical use all they want and I will call BS. for the rest of my life

      4. Congratulations Fireweed, on your freedom from “medication.” I just had to point this word out as we are in an incredible national debate and cultural vocabulary education right now about what the words “medication,” “medicine,” “biopharmaceutical,” “toxic,” “poisonous,” “recommendation,” “compound,” “molecule,” “synergy,” “presciptions,” or “herbal, botanical remedy,” really mean. Hell, many Americans are just beginning the learning curve between the words “legalization,” and “decriminalization.” But we have to start somewhere, and the shame is in choosing to remain uneducated.

        To add to this confusion we must distinguish the various definitions from our personal meaning to legalese and patenting which can be frustrating and distracting to our legalization efforts to say the least. I’ve been posting and commenting on this web site for years and no matter how many times I tell “Year of Action” that taking out the “smoked” part of the legal definition of cannabis sativa l. in the CSAct will not end prohibition but merely try and protect a biopharmaceutical quasi-prohibition, I wouldn’t be surprised to find him drilling the same argument here again.
        The other day, Texas Public Radio’s “The Source,” had former NIDA director Dr Robert DuPont on their show, repeating that “if the FDA doesn’t say it has a reproducible compound than it isn’t medicine.” How contrary and arrogant to any average, sane American. If you consume it and it makes you feel better, that’s “medicine” right?


        The link above has it all on audio.
        John Hudak, Senior Fellow in Governance at the Brookings Institute Stated at the very end that Congress was the only other solution, and that the president “can not” de or reschedule by executive order, which none of the callers mentioned. We have a long way to go.

  4. It seems hopeless… The powers that be don’t give a damn about the welfare of the people. They seem only to care about their wealth and power. I think Trump is right when he says the system is rigged; that being one of the very few things I agree with him about.

    However, if NORML will lead the way and tell us what to do I will fall in line and do it. I think a lot of us have been demanding for years but our demands fall on deaf ears and produce nothing.

    What will it take, besides a boatload of money which I don’t have, to get these people to finally do the right thing???

    I just don’t know!

    1. It’s Congress. We’re bringing it!

      House and Senate. That’s the target, that’s the focus. Use NORML CONGRESSIONAL SCORECARD (the Search feature above will get you there,) enter your own zipcode. Find your House Reps, get their NORML grades… then find your Senators, get their NORML grades…

      Then, if you haven’t registered to vote, do that…

      Then vote! Make sure to ONLY vote FOR Reps and Sens that get a “B” or better (that’s only a suggestion on how to vote), and vote AGAINST “D’s” and “F’s”!!!

      That’s how we’ll “clean house” in Congress!

      1. Mark,

        Very good suggestion! I call mine now and then, and will be doing so once more after this Nov. election. (I’ll wait, to see if Arizona, Calif and/or Nevada legalize–and if so, I can use that argument when I’m calling or emailing my Reps or Sens here in NM).

    2. I’m not sure NORML even wants it legal. They will be out of business. Why is there nobody pushing for legalization. I belong to several web sites. Nobody is pushing candidates on there position. I find it more important than some of the other issues that Clinton and trump have created.

  5. Is there anyway that all the people just file a class-action lawsuit against the government to Make them reschedule

    1. Not being educated in law I don’t know if that can be done and wouldn’t know how to start. But if everyone that has been harmed by prohibition was to be a part of it we just might be able to reign in the Federal Tyrants!

      I do believe that tyrants is a more correct way of describing many of our elected officials since they are clearly not servants of the people!

      1. Whatever happened to the Million Marijuana March? I thought that was a great idea. I’m betting the numbers would be way up this time around.

    2. I am wondering about this, too. I would certainly participate. Sounds like a good idea if it is possible.

    3. Congress. Talk to and meet with your state Congressman in person. It really works if you work with them on marijuana policy.

      I think Keith clearly outlined how NORML has been working with the court system for more than 45 years now only to allow the DEA to ignore the ruling or to have a federal judge say “Congress doesnt have to be right.” I have a Republican state representative (Jason Isaac) and I went suit and tie to his office in support of any bill to help people like my nephew suffering from epilepsy. Not only did he go from mildly supporting Compassionate Use last year, now he is writing legislation for full decriminalization next year. We even discussed on the phone today strategy to raise THC but keep CBD higher so Governor Abbott will sign the bill by claiming “this bill will help treat epilepsy (and hopefully PTS, cancer, etc) but it won’t get you high.” Yes, we have to shame them on camera with veterans for marijuana on one side but offer our state legislators and governors a way to save face and pass better marijuana policy on the other. Its called compromise with hard work. There is no easy way out of prohibition; believe me, NORML tried it already.

  6. As Keith says, to achieve descheduling of cannabis it will be necessary to convince the next Congress– the pre-stage to that being to first convince voters to elect an appropriate Congress.
    However, also consider that it will suffice to convince everyone, every voter, every legislator that cannabis is an HERB, not a “drug”. This can be done by abandoning the emphasis on cannabis smoking (despite the Wikipedia article of that name which mercifully does have a photo of a long-drawtube Sebsi oneheater near the top) and instead emphasize educating every user and/or potential user about vaporization– which can be done with a device made from #40 screen and $1.29 worth of parts left lying in your garage by a previous god. (See wikiHow “Pipes from Everyday Objects” article.)
    Everything virtuously herbal is delivered by Vaping, whereas $moking is the gateway to drug effect, every Joint a drug cocktail of carbon monoxide, PAH’s and 4221 Combustion toxins, causing “$toner” symptoms blamed on the cannabis in casino-financed hate ads on teevee. A decisive well-advertised shift of endorsement now from $moking to Vaping would soon convince plenty of voters, however initially ignorant, that something important (and excitingly new and high tech) is underway to which attention must finally be paid in 201611.

  7. Does it go against the American constitution to have made this plant illegal in the first place?

    1. Since when have rights and peoples been placed before business interests in our country?

    2. It takes 2/3 rds majority to change the constitution of the us. Texas has its own constitution that supercedes the us constitution by treaty of annexation of1845. The Texas flag always flys six inches higher than the us flag. Marijuana was made legal in texas in 1989 by the death tax act possession of tax stamps only prevent prosecution. 100 dollars a stamp for each ounce see the sept or Oct issue of D magazine published in Dallas TX 1996

  8. Clayton – That is a great question. Once medical value is “ESTABLISHED” there should not only be lawsuits against the government. There should be people held accountable. Veterans are committing suicide every day. 19 a day is the last count I believe, & that is horrible! Not to mention the kids that we now *KNOW* need this medication *if* it helps them with seizures, or autism.

    NORML: PLEASE HELP ORGANIZE PROTESTS! Germany just staged one where thousands of people marched through Berlin this past Saturday. Let’s encourage local chapters in strategic places to start the call to action!

  9. If the US government holds patents on cannabis (several, actually), establishing medical efficacy for a number of ailments, would this not be documented evidence that their decisions contradict their own actions and research, as well as the scheduling, and therefore should be rescheduled? Has litigation pursued this avenue, and what was the decision if so? If not, is this not a valid legal pursuit for rescheduling?

    It should still be descheduled entirely, with only refined forms approved via FDA protocols being on the schedule, in my view.

  10. Weeell… Since the Texas State Capitol IS on the cover of this blog I guess I’ll report on developing marijuana policy in the state of Texas… 🙂


    Democratic state Senator of San Antonio Jose Menendez received some voice on Texas Public Radio this morning over his push to expand the Compassionate Use Act, specifically citing cancer and veterans with PTS. At the current time Texas law requires two epileptilogists to “prescribe” marijuana, not “recommends…” only to patients with severe epilepsy that have to try all the dangerous pharmaceuticals that have side effects as bad as the seizures. “Prescribing” marijuana while still prohibited by federal law places the licences of doctors in jeopardy.
    “…Its incredible that at this point in time we don’t provide medical cannabis to more people suffering from illness like cancer… or for our veterans suffering from PTS…” -State Sen Joe Menendez, D-TX

    Both Republicans and Democrats have expanding the Compassionate Use Act in their state platforms this year, but Governor Abbot continues to deny his signature to any medical marijuana reform, NPR reports.

    Question: Should someone tell Governor Abbott that he already SIGNED legislation with the Compassionate Use Act last year admitting marijuana IS medicine?
    …Naaah, let’s just shame him in person, on camera with all the veterans he is trying to kill with opiate addiction! See Operation Trapped;


    October 15th veteran conference at Texas State Capitol. If you havnt been it looks like the one in the picture above! 😉

  11. Senate bill 339 is the bill introduced by Menendez in response to the DEA’s failure to reschedule;


    And here, if there was ever proof that citizen lobbying from Texas NORML works, is my Republican state Representative Jason Isaac on board with expanding compassionate use;


    “We need to expand compassionate uses,” Isaac said. “We need to give people more freedom.”

    And to give SB339 a boost of confidence, the following quote from Governor Abbott shows he is supportive of the bill if it keeps THC low;

    “SB 339 does not open the door to marijuana in Texas. The very low level of THC in CBD oil does not, even if taken in large doses, give the user a high and has no street value,” Abbott said at the time. “There is no recreational use for CBD oil. It will, however, provide healing and hope for children who are afflicted by unrelenting seizures caused by epilepsy.”

    So a little camera shame with veterans coupled with the argument that SB339 advocates “low, compassionate amounts of THC that will not get you high” may be the way to clinch expansion of the CUA during the January legislative session.
    Contact your local NORML chapter for info, dress up in your business suit and meet face to face with your legislators; believe me, it really works!

  12. The Constitution has either authorized such behavior, or been powerless to prevent it (or something like that)

    – Lysander Spooner

  13. I want cannabis removed completely from the Schedule. The DEA had their chance back in 1996 when California legalized medical marijuana to reschedule cannabis. They shouldn’t wait for a petition, and should’ve put it in a different category in the Schedule at that milestone. They’ve failed to reschedule it ever since, hindering any outside requests every step of the way by dragging their feet for years and years to respond. The DEA and much of Congress are caught in the grip of a black hole time warp affecting them through a wormhole that has slowed their reaction time to something far slower than glacial. We are far beyond rescheduling cannabis.

    Colorado and Washington legalized adult recreational cannabis in 2012. The significance is–Hello, hello are you paying attention? The significance is that they de facto descheduled cannabis. Now you got Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia that have also legalized adult recreational–de facto descheduled.

    Oh no, we’re four years (since 2012) overdue for descheduling, way beyond only rescheduling. I certainly am hoping that after the election that Barry will deschedule cannabis as was mentioned in The Cannabist.


  14. This may be slightly off subject but it is quite possibly very disturbing and could affect us all. I saw on the OAN news that: “The Obama Administration paid one billion dollars for one of the largest private prisons companies in the U.S.”.

    So what is up with that??? Do they intend to lock up a lot more cannabis users? Is that somehow tied to the DEA’s most recent decision regarding cannabis scheduling?

    I wonder exactly what input Hillary Clinton may have supplied to this decision. Like most Americans, I don’t trust her. I trust Trump even less…

    1. No, VetMed, if anything President Obama has been and will exonerate and pardon more people convicted disproportionately for drug trafficking crimes.
      The quote you are reading has to do with an immigration detention center down in Dilley, South Texas, to detain women and children in response to the Drug War Refugees crossing from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. Considering it was our DOJ that toppled their Democratically elected leaders, armed both sides of a feuding drug war created by US drug policy through the CSAct and failed to inform these nations of criminal histories when we deport mass murdering gang leaders created in our private prisons and through our failed immigration policies, posting your question on a blog that asks “Why we should Demand Congress Deschedule Marijuana” is decidedly not off topic.
      But keep in mind that the President was responding to a humanitarian crisis as the number of Central American drug war refugees that surged 3 years ago included unprecedented numbers of women and children who are the most vulnerable victims of exploitation throughout Mexico and the United States. The President secured a private bid with CCA, the nation’s largest private prison corporation, a capped off payment of more than 300 million dollars a month regardless of whether they hit capacity. With CCA’s only major competitor, GEO, this means that there are no quota incentives to meet capacity and women and children are processed faster. The Dilley facility makes up %15 of CCA’s bottom line profit. The Washington Post reports that CCA paid off a town in Arizona to renegotiate contracts in order to keep public bidding off the table.
      The National Democratic Platform Committee, thanks to Bernie Sanders, included recently to end private prison systems in the US. Thanks to Progressive Democratic Senator Corey Booker and Libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul, reforming our prisons is one place where our lawmakers are in bipartisan agreement.

      1. Thank you for your reply to my comment. On the surface, the purchase of a private prison by our government seems rather sinister so I didn’t know what to think.

        The governments war on drugs, which is really a war on a lot of good Americans, has caused me to have a lot of distrust.

  15. Sometimes a boycott is effective. I have seen how the alcohol industry has attempted to maintain prohibition of cannabis. I shall not consume any alcholic beverage untill prohibition of cannabis ends.Please join me in a noble effort. Thank you and god bless.

  16. The DEA wants to reduce the surfs population and the government lets them do it cannabis is good for many aliments we all no it and they no it this gov don’t care about its people at all

  17. While reading the new call for disbandment of the DEA over at http://www.drugpolicy.org, I at first thought it was a rather irresponsible agenda when the argument from senior analyst at the Brookings Institute John Husak had been verifying that any executive order that defies the law, in this case the Controlled Substances Act, would be lost in court.
    So I started reading the CSAct;


    “The security requirements are set forth in 21 CFR § 1301.72-76. Schedule I and II drugs must be stored separately from other drugs, in an approved safe. Specifications for the safe are set forth in the regulations, and the Drug Enforcement Administration Field Office may also be called upon to review proposed security systems.”

    Here is a copy of title 21, ch.2 that mentions the DEA for registration of Controlled Substances;


    Now I realize that it was Nixon who appointed the DEA, but the question remains; Does the CSAct specify the designation of the DEA for registration purposes… and not specify crimes against humanity such as asset forfeiture and torture that exists in state penal codes… enough evidence to prove in court that an acting President could simply order the DEA to cease and desist all enforcement activity and simply focus on processing registration?
    I mean sure, the next President could change everything and it’s ultimately up to Congress, but is ordering the DEA to stand down by executive order legal? If it wasn’t, wouldn’t a Republican Congress already have sent the President’s orders and memos to the DOJ to court?

  18. They used to grow it in New York, by the blocks, then they said it was not legal and ban it. They made alcohol legal. How many times does it take to see pot never kills, but alcohol does. So many people killed, when it should have been ban, NOT POT! Can they not see that or is everybody in Congree just drunks?

  19. Does anyone want to address the actual text that the Feds use to define marijuana? It is two sentences, the first one says its “all parts…” and then some, the second one lists the exceptions, with an exception to the exceptions. Together they define marijuana with the surgical precision of the racist voting restrictions in North Carolina, however they also create a definition with two meanings. What is “not unconstitutional” about that?

    The two meanings are discovered by the two interpretations of the text of that definition. The Holistic interpretation treats both sentences as meaning one thing: cannabis smoke, as portrayed in the movie “Reefer Madness”. The Literal interpretation treats the text of that definition as a collection of phrases, each of which means marijuana, as played out daily in the nation’s courtrooms. The Holistic interpretation is the one which upholds the Constitution. The Literal interpretation has kept the DEA well funded.

    No textual change, so no reschedule. A textual change will get cannabis de-scheduled, and set the stage for rescheduling marijuana, based upon the work that NORML and others have done. The citizens’ lobby will induce a textual change in that definition from Congress. Don’t boo… vote!

    99% * 0.3% * 710 => 420

    1. “DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young ruled in our favor, concluding that ‘Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…’ ”

      He could have said, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is identified as cannabis, and is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. Cannabis, in its smoked form, is identified as marijuana. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.” That would have exposed the riddle of the federal definition, and could have precluded so many problems.

      “However, the DEA Administrator…acted within his discretion…and simply ignored the decision of his own hearing examiner and rejected our petition.”

      So yeah, Semantics.

      99% * 0.3% * 710 => 420

  20. Enough with bashing the DEA. They are only doing their job, enforcing law. When Marijuana becomes legal, they will continue enforcing the law. That’s what they get paid to do.

    1. Here is a reform of the federal definition which will let the DEA continue to enforce the law. It will let them take credit for better enforcement outcomes even if it is rescheduled.

      Sec.802.(16). The term “marijuana” means all parts of the smoke produced by the combustion of the plant Cannabis sativa L. which is prohibited to be grown by or sold by any publicly traded corporation or subsidiary company.

    2. When people hurt others in the process of doing their job they should be bashed! I know there are probably some good DEA agents (I suppose they think they are doing good things but are too ignorant to understand their own actions) but as a whole, the DEA is no better than your average terrorist organization!

      I would wager that your average high school dropout could come up with better ways to spend a trillion dollars than what the DEA has done with it.

    3. “Doing the job” is not a valid moral justification. Otherwise beating up little old ladies for their social security checks would be a legitimate occupation. Yet it most certainly is not. And neither is being a Drug Warrior.

      So fuck the DEA.

  21. Every person running for office in Arkansas in 2016, and since time began, is a prohibitionist. You simply have no choice but to put these people in office. To vote yes on an issue such as the compassionate care act, you have to cast a vote for someone who will spend all their time in office trying to shut it down if it passes. There are no options like writing in a name or skipping the ones you disagree with, but we must not be discouraged from voting for what is right, it is time we tell all the Chris Christies in politics that we no longer care what THEY want.

  22. I have read that several people are worried that the DEA agents will lose their jobs. Well I don’t see how they would considering the trouble related to prescription drugs,meth and heroin abuse.In fact that is what they need to focus on instead of marijuana.

  23. Please take a few minutes to read this article since it is very good and informative; although very bothersome… Congress is the problem at this point in time; more so than the DEA!


    The question then becomes: Why isn’t Congress doing the Will of the People? Is it all about money as some think? Is it because they want to enforce their since of morality on the rest of us; which is what ISIS wants to do. Is it because so many are just too friggin’ stupid to understand the fact that prohibition does far more harm than good?

    Vote the prohibitionists out!!! Take the time to review the NORML Congressional Scorecard before voting: “http://norml.org/congressional-scorecard”

    Finally, don’t be afraid to vote for either 3rd party candidate since, in my opinion, they are both superior to the Republican and Democratic candidates running for POTUS!

    We have great strength in numbers if we can only get our message out to the masses.

  24. DEA is needed but not for marijuana. There way more important tasks they should handle. Like rid this country of heroin and cocain. Or better yet ho after Big Pharma for for there dealing drugs. The crap they allow our society to ingest is sickening.

    1. I fail to see the validity let alone the usefulness of making war on people because of their consumption habits.

      You will need a government agency, secret police and all the ills associated with a significant Black Market. Most of the ills associated with heroin and other opiates is due to the underground nature of the market. You can’t go see a doctor for your problem because your problem is illegal.

  25. the class I classification gives law enforcement the right to confiscate, arrest and do anything else they choose to citizens. The looting of property by police to enrich their cash coffers so more police officers and equipment can be had. What police agency would want this great deal to end. looting and it is all legal. IF AMERICAN CITIZENS KEEP VOTING FOR PEOPLE WHO KEEP THIS PROHIBITION GOING WE WILL ALL LOOSE OUR FREEDOMS! Our great leader wrote a memo not an executive order about this. I laugh every there is a legalization bill proposed the tycoon owned press goes to the police to ask them to explain how dangerouse it could be! What do you think police leaders are going to say! They have fun arresting harmless citizens and taking their property for their own enrichment. We have created a pirate type of police system and it is all legal as long as pot stays as a class 1 substance.

  26. For Congress to move on pot would take a major overhaul of the Congressional Makeup . Where do you think the DEA gets it’s Flat Earth Policy ..That’s right from Congress .. Their Neolithic thought process has already cause great harm not only in this Nation but almost every Nation SOuth of our Border .. They simply will NOT admit the totality of their stupidity .. Ever it makes them look bad so people will continue to be incarcerated for minor Pot possession because of Congressional PRIDE . it’s like the Cuba thing .. Congress held on to that bone until Obama finaly said enough already . We embargoed Cuba because they were a Communist Nation while Congress gave Tax Incentives to American Companies that RELOCATED American manufacturing Jobs to… Communist China . We do Billions a day in Business with Communist China ..Yet in the eyes of Congress Little Cuba is THE REAL THREAT .. This same type of so called LOGIC is applied to Pot where COngress is concerned .. What can I say we elect idiots to Washington we get what we deserve ..No Jobs and Full Prisons . Yet they call themselves Leaders .. Really is that a fact or fiction

  27. Texas is the key to it all and it has,to do with pharmaceutical companies and big oil that supply the chemicals for the companies.

  28. But the U.S. government isn’t the only one getting in on the game of patenting cannabis. In fact, just last year, US officials issued the first ever cannabis patent to breeders. That little snippet of cannabis history happened on August 4, 2015.

    Patent 9,095,554 is a massive 145-page document that lays out a complex scientific analysis of a range of hybrid strains with high-THC ratios.

  29. Why is the scheduling of narcotics given to a law agency? Shouldn’t it handled by doctors and scientist? The DEA will not kill their cash cow so don’t look for them to do anything about it soon.

    Why isn’t it being placed on all the ballots for the up coming election?

  30. Pot smokers are great but norml members are idiot wannabes who put waaay too much importance into a plant. Southeast Tx Norml where I live is a joke. Some wannabe tried to make his own faction. All they do is take your money and put on concerts featuring the crappier bands because they hire their friends. The head of norml where I’m at is such an idiot he said he rallied against the Texas CBD Bill because it was unfair and then turns around and supports it by holding classes on how to screw yourself with the same law he fought against. The DEA can at least put a stop to monsters like Pablo and Chapo who kill so many people over nothing. You stoned morons forget about the monsters because you’re sitting in some nice trailer park somewhere where the Mexican mafia and aryan brotherhood don’t exist. If not the park it’s the burbs at your mom’s because you can’t get a job from sitting around smoking all day. You losers take pot way too serious. It’s just a drug. Ever heard of LSD? Waaaaay better.

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