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DEA Accepts Rescheduling Petition

April 15, 2003

DEA Accepts Rescheduling Petition

On April 3, 2003 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) accepted the filing of a rescheduling petition seeking federal recognition of the accepted medical use of cannabis in the United States. The petition was filed by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) on October 11, 2002.

According to background information at DEA’s website: “Schedule I is reserved for the most dangerous drugs that have no recognized medical use . . . The [Controlled Substances Act (CSA)] also provides a mechanism for substances to be . . . rescheduled . . . Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by . . . a public interest group concerned with drug abuse. . . or an individual citizen.”

The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis is comprised of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, Americans for Safe Access, California NORML, the Drug Policy Forum of Texas, Jon Gettman, High Times, Iowans for Medical Marijuana, the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Oakland Cannabis Buyers Cooperative, Patients Out of Time and other interested individuals.

Once DEA has accepted a petition for filing it must follow review procedures established by the CSA: “When a petition is received by the DEA, the agency begins its own investigation of the drug. . . Once the DEA has collected the necessary data, the DEA Administrator, by authority of the Attorney General, requests from the HHS a scientific and medical evaluation and recommendation as to whether the drug or other substance should be controlled or removed from control. This request is sent to the Assistant Secretary of Health of the HHS. Then, the HHS solicits information from the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and evaluations and recommendations from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and on occasion, from the scientific and medical community at large. The Assistant Secretary, by authority of the Secretary, compiles the information and transmits back to the DEA a medical and scientific evaluation regarding the drug or other substance, a recommendation as to whether the drug should be controlled, and in what schedule it should be placed.”

Jon Gettman, a spokesman for the Coalition, issued the following statement: “In accepting the petition the DEA has acknowledged that the Coalition has established a legally significant argument in support of the recognition of the accepted medical use of cannabis in the United States. The Coalition’s petition provides considerable scientific and medical evidence to support its argument that cannabis does not belong in Schedule I. We have supplied the necessary data for the petition to be referred to HHS, and DEA has already spent six months studying the petition. We encourage DEA to refer the petition to HHS for a scientific and medical evaluation as soon as possible. Public support for medical cannabis can further expedite these proceedings.”

Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis
(includes recent status query and the resulting DEA acceptance letter)

For More Information

DEA Briefs and Background: The Controlled Substances Act


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