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Mon Jul 30, 2012, 07:29 PM

Medical Marijuana Rescheduling to Go Before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals


This issue of whether or not the Drug Enforcement Agency acted inappropriately when it denied a petition to move marijuana from schedule I will go before the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit. The court has agreed to hear the case brought by Americans for Safe Access against the Drug Enforcement Agency. From ASA:

Late last week, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed to hear oral arguments in Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, a lawsuit challenging the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a dangerous drug with no medical value. Ten years after the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) filed its petition, the courts will finally review the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of marijuana. The D.C. Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments on October 16th at 9:30am.

“Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court,” said Joe Elford, Chief Counsel with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy,” continued Elford. “What’s at stake in this case is nothing less than our country’s scientific integrity and the imminent needs of millions of patients.”

ASA filed its lawsuit in January, challenging the July 2011 Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denial of the CRC petition, which was filed in 2002. The DEA is the final arbiter on petitions to reclassify controlled substances, but other agencies are also involved in the review process. Patient advocates claim that marijuana is treated unlike any other controlled substance in that rescheduling petitions are encumbered by politics and therapeutic research is subjected to a unique and overly rigorous approval process.

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Arrow 13 replies Author Time Post
Reply Medical Marijuana Rescheduling to Go Before D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals (Original post)
RainDog Jul 2012 OP
Panasonic Jul 2012 #1
RainDog Jul 2012 #2
Ruby the Liberal Jul 2012 #3
RainDog Jul 2012 #4
Ruby the Liberal Jul 2012 #5
RainDog Jul 2012 #6
Ruby the Liberal Jul 2012 #9
RainDog Jul 2012 #10
Uncle Joe Jul 2012 #7
RainDog Jul 2012 #12
Uncle Joe Jul 2012 #13
stopwastingmymoney Jul 2012 #8
tdb63 Jul 2012 #11

Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 07:39 PM

1. The justices would be VERY wise to find favor for ASA.


And DEA ordered to remove cannabis from scheduling effective immediately.

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Response to Panasonic (Reply #1)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 07:47 PM

2. I agree

but Leonhart doesn't give me much hope for that. Still - it would always be nice to be pleasantly surprised.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 08:13 PM

3. Not following this.

Are the courts able to assert jurisdiction over schedule classification? That seems odd to me. Happy that they agreed to hear the case, but what is the desired outcome - that the court overrules the DEA or just asks them to reconsider?

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Response to Ruby the Liberal (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 08:31 PM

4. This started 10 (TEN!) years ago

The coalition filed a petition to seek rescheduling in 2002. In July 2011, the DEA turned down the petition (after the CRC had to sue the DEA for unreasonable delay. In January 2012, the ASA filed a brief to challenge the DEA's ruling of the CRC petition.


"By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that clearly shows the therapeutic value of marijuana, the Obama Administration is playing politics at the expensive of sick and dying Americans," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed the appeal Thursday.

​"For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government's flawed position on medical marijuana," Elford said.

Although two other rescheduling petitions have been filed since the establishment of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the merits of medical efficacy were reviewed only once by the courts in 1994.


-you can also view the original petition at this link above.

Along with the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis (CRC), ASA has filed a lawsuit in the Federal Circuit Court for the unreasonable delay in responding to a petition calling for the rescheduling of cannabis. CRC filed this petition with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 2002, which the DEA immediately sent to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for research.

ASA just recently discovered that the HHS secretly issued its findings to the DEA in 2006. The HHS reported to the DEA that cannabis has no medical value and should remain on the list of Schedule I drugs, even though there is a significant amount of research that says otherwise. In fact, the National Cancer Institute, which is under HHS’ authority, recently released a new section of its Web site detailing the benefits of cannabis provides for cancer patients. This clearly contradicts the findings the HHS reported to the DEA in 2006.

If the court rules in ASA’s favor, the DEA will be forced to make a final decision about whether or not to reschedule cannabis. Winning this court case would be a marker of success for the Reclassify Campaign because not only will we get a response about the reclassification of cannabis, but it will also establish precedence for what an unreasonable delay is, affecting other delay issues in the movement.


Oral arguments will take place Tuesday, October 16, at 9:30am at the E. Barrett Prettyman US Courthouse in downtown Washington.

A decade after the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) filed its petition seeking to have marijuana moved from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the federal courts will finally review the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic efficacy of marijuana. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals announced late last week that it will hear oral arguments in October in a lawsuit filed by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) to force the government to act.

The lawsuit, Americans for Safe Access vs. DEA, was filed in January after the DEA denied the CRC's rescheduling petition the previous July. The DEA took nine years to decide to do nothing about rescheduling marijuana.

here's a history of previous rescheduling attempts - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Removal_of_cannabis_from_Schedule_I_of_the_Controlled_Substances_Act

The desired outcome is to move marijuana from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule 1 drugs have no medical benefit. This case wants to present evidence of medical benefit in order to move marijuana to Schedule 2 or lesser (Schedule 2 would make it possible for doctors to prescribe and make it possible to do research more easily. Meth is Schedule 2 - i.e. considered less dangerous than marijuana.)

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Response to RainDog (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 08:47 PM

5. Thanks for the links.

I guess what I don't get is in asking a lawyer (judge) to take on the role of a scientist and make that determination - basically going against flawed HHS data. Glad they are finally getting a hearing on it, it is just something I never knew happened.

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Response to Ruby the Liberal (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 09:18 PM

6. there were 22 years of court challenges to the first ruling

On May 18, 1972, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) petitioned the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD) (now the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)) to transfer cannabis to Schedule II so that it could be legally prescribed by physicians. The BNDD declined to initiate proceedings on the basis of their interpretation of U.S. treaty commitments.

In 1974, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the government and ordered them to process the petition (NORML v. Ingersoll 497 F.2d 654). The government continued to rely on treaty commitments in their interpretation of scheduling-related issues concerning the NORML petition. In 1977, the Court issued a decision clarifying that the Controlled Substances Act requires a full scientific and medical evaluation and the fulfillment of the rescheduling process before treaty commitments can be evaluated (NORML v. DEA 559 F.2d 735). On October 16, 1980, the Court ordered the government to start the scientific and medical evaluations required by the NORML petition (NORML v. DEA Unpublished Disposition, U.S. App. LEXIS 13100).

In the summer of 1986, the DEA administrator initiated public hearings on cannabis rescheduling. The hearings lasted two years, involving many witnesses and thousands of pages of documentation. On September 6, 1988, DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young ruled that cannabis did not meet the legal criteria of a Schedule I prohibited drug and should be reclassified. He declared that cannabis in its natural form is "one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. (T)he provisions of the (Controlled Substances) Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II".[31]

Then-DEA Administrator John Lawn overruled Young's determination. Lawn said he decided against re-scheduling cannabis based on testimony and comments from numerous medical doctors who had conducted detailed research and were widely considered experts in their respective fields. Later Administrators agreed. "Those who insist that marijuana has medical uses would serve society better by promoting or sponsoring more legitimate research," former DEA Administrator Robert Bonner opined in 1992. This statement was quoted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in its membership drives.[32]

The 1994 petition to reschedule was overturned on a technicality.

The 2002 petition is the one that is currently in court with the claim that the DEA refused to hear evidence from the petitioners.

This year, 42 members of the Washington State legislature called for the DEA to reschedule cannabis.


Among the lawmakers signing the letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was Rep. Timm Ormsby, brother of federal prosecutor Michael Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. Ormsby, along with Western Washington U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, last year oversaw a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

...it is clear that the long-standing classification of medical use of cannabis in the United States as an illegal Schedule I substance is fundamentally flawed and should be changed," the lawmakers wrote. "The federal government could quickly solve the issue if it were to reclassify cannabis for medical use from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II drug so that it can be prescribed, which we believe the petition provides substantiated peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support.

​"The solution lies ultimately with the federal government," the letter reads. "We urge the DEA to initiate rulemaking proceedings to reclassify medical cannabis as a Schedule II drug so qualifying patients that follow state law may obtain the medication they need through the traditional and safe method of physician prescribing and pharmacy dispensing."

Four Governors have called for the DEA to reschedule cannabis, too. Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington State and Colorado.

Colorado, Washington State and Oregon all have legalization bills on the ballot.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #6)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 09:51 PM

9. Thanks for keeping the board up to date with what is happening with this.

Greatly appreciated.

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Response to Ruby the Liberal (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 10:10 PM

10. I miss a lot - but try to keep up as best as I can

There was another appeal before a court that was also accepted (in Boston for a prof. who wants permission to grow mj for research.) I haven't seen newer information about this.


Appeals Court Accepts Challenge of DEA's Marijuana Research Denial

On Friday, May 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston will hear oral arguments in a federal lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration for denying University of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor Lyle Craker a license to grow marijuana for privately funded medical research.

The arguments culminate nearly 11 years of legal and administrative proceedings trying to end the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) monopoly on the marijuana supply for research.

The lawsuit is in response to an August 15, 2011 final order issued by the DEA rejecting its own DEA Administrative Law Judge's 2007 recommendation that it would be "in the public interest" to grant Prof. Craker the research license. A laboratory at the University of Mississippi, funded by NIDA, is currently the one and only facility in the United States allowed to grow marijuana for research.

Here's information about this case that began in 2005 -


During November's Supreme Court oral arguments in Raich v. Gonzalez (formerly Raich v. Ashcroft), the case challenging the federal government's ability to intervene in states where medical marijuana is legal, Justice Stephen Breyer suggested that patients ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reclassify marijuana for medicinal use. That would be "the obvious way to get what they want," said Breyer. "Medicine by regulation is better than medicine by referendum," he added.

Under federal law, the federal government has a monopoly on the supply of marijuana available for research, which comes from the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) Mississippi pot farm. All other controlled substances are provided to researchers by DEA-licensed laboratories. But scientists seeking to study the medicinal effects of marijuana with the goal of trying to turn it into FDA-approved prescription medicine have been blocked at every turn.

Seeking to get around the research marijuana roadblock, in 2001 UMass researcher Dr. Lyle Cracker went to the DEA to win approval for a marijuana researcher production facility to be sponsored by MAPS. For three years, the DEA failed to act. Only when Craker and MAPS filed a lawsuit against the DEA last year was the agency spurred to act, and it did so by denying Craker's petition in December. Now, Craker and MAPS have been joined by the ACLU as they appeal the DEA ruling before a DEA administrative law judge. A hearing in the case is expected sometime this summer.

"The public has a right to know about possible health effects of marijuana and whether this plant material has any medicinal value," said Craker at a Monday press conference. "Only through unobstructed medical research can doctors and scientists determine the value of marijuana in treating human afflictions. My job is to make plant material available for research, and the refusal of the DEA to allow me to grow marijuana for medical research prevents a full investigation of the potential health benefits of the plant material."

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 09:30 PM

7. Kicked and recommended for logic and justice; it's way overdue.

Thanks for the thread, Raindog.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #7)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 02:50 PM

12. hugs to you, Uncle Joe

as always.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #12)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 03:38 PM

13. Likewise, Raindog.

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 09:43 PM

8. K & R

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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Tue Jul 31, 2012, 12:51 AM

11. The US Dpt of health an human services got a patent on it, that should sum it up.

U.S. Patent # 6630507
In 2003, the U.S. Government as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services filed for, and was awarded a patent on cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants. U.S. Patent 6630507

Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidoil, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention. A particular disclosed class of cannabinoids useful as neuroprotective antioxidants is formula (I) wherein the R group is independently selected from the group consisting of H, CH.sub.3, and COCH.sub.3. ##STR1##

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