This Week Marks The 30th Anniversary Of NORML Filing To Reschedule Medicinal Marijuana

Washington, DC: This past Tuesday, May 18, marked the 30-year anniversary of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s acceptance of NORML’s administrative petition to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to II so that physicians could legally prescribe it. Under federal law, Schedule I drugs – by definition – have “no accepted medical use in treatment,” and lack “accepted safety” for use under medical supervision.

NORML originally filed its petition in 1972, and it was formally accepted in 1974. However, it wasn’t until 1986 that the DEA finally held public hearings on the issue before an administrative law judge. Two years later, Judge Francis Young ruled, “Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people,” and recommended “the Administrator transfer marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II to make it available as a legal medicine.” Nevertheless, then-DEA Administrator John Lawn rejected Young’s ruling – a decision the US Court of Appeals allowed to stand in a 1994 decision.

In October 2002, NORML joined a coalition of drug-law reform organizations and individual citizens in filing a similar rescheduling petition with the DEA, arguing that current evidence of cannabis’ therapeutic utility contradicts its Schedule I classification. Administrative proceedings remain ongoing.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, Executive Director of the NORML Foundation at (202) 483-5500. For more information on the current rescheduling petition, please visit: