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(28,784 posts)
Sat Dec 17, 2011, 04:19 AM Dec 2011

How the DEA, the Attn General or Congress Could Reschedule Cannabis

Last edited Sat Dec 17, 2011, 02:57 PM - Edit history (1)

Drug Schedules are part of the Controlled Substances Act, passed by Congress in 1970, that defines federal drug policy. There are five schedules, or classifications for drugs, to determine federal policy on those substances. Cannabis is currently listed as a Schedule I substance.

Schedule I.—

(A) The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."

No prescriptions may be written for Schedule I substances, and such substances are subject to production quotas by the DEA.

Other schedules and substances designated for various schedules are available here:


The DEA and the FDA determine the scheduling of various substances, although Congress scheduled a substance via legislation in Feb. 2000. The Attorney General of the United States may also initiate a drug rescheduling hearing.


Cornell University Law School Legal Information Institute provides this information about the way in which a rescheduling may be put in motion, in this case, by the Attorney General:

...Proceedings for the issuance, amendment, or repeal of such rules may be initiated by the Attorney General

(1) on his own motion,
(2) at the request of the Secretary, or
(3) on the petition of any interested party.

The Attorney General shall, before initiating proceedings under subsection (a) of this section to control a drug or other substance or to remove a drug or other substance entirely from the schedules, and after gathering the necessary data, request from the Secretary a scientific and medical evaluation, and his recommendations, as to whether such drug or other substance should be so controlled or removed as a controlled substance.

...if the Secretary recommends that a drug or other substance not be controlled , the Attorney General shall not control the drug or other substance. If the Attorney General determines that these facts and all other relevant data constitute substantial evidence of potential for abuse such as to warrant control or substantial evidence that the drug or other substance should be removed entirely from the schedules, he shall initiate proceedings for control or removal, as the case may be, under subsection (a) of this section.

Factors determinative of control or removal from schedules

In making any finding under subsection (a) of this section or under subsection (b) of section 812 of this title, the Attorney General shall consider the following factors with respect to each drug or other substance proposed to be controlled or removed from the schedules:

(1) Its actual or relative potential for abuse.
(2) Scientific evidence of its pharmacological effect, if known.
(3) The state of current scientific knowledge regarding the drug or other substance.
(4) Its history and current pattern of abuse.
(5) The scope, duration, and significance of abuse.
(6) What, if any, risk there is to the public health.
(7) Its psychic or physiological dependence liability.
(8) Whether the substance is an immediate precursor of a substance already controlled under this subchapter.

In 1992, DEA administrator Robert Bonner created 5 criteria for determining whether a substance has medicinal value.

The DEA claims that cannabis has no accepted medical use because it does not meet all of these criteria:

* The drug's chemistry is known and reproducible;
* There are adequate safety studies;
* There are adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy;
* The drug is accepted by qualified experts; and
* The scientific evidence is widely available.

(Information on Drug Schedules and Information on attempts to reschedule cannabis via the Wiki link, above.)

On October 18, 1985, the DEA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to transfer "Synthetic Dronabinol in Sesame Oil and Encapsulated in Soft Gelatin Capsules" — a pill form of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component of cannabis, sold under the brand name Marinol — from Schedule I to Schedule II (DEA 50 FR 42186-87). The government issued its final rule rescheduling the drug on July 13, 1986 (DEA 51 FR 17476-78). The disparate treatment of cannabis and the expensive, patentable Marinol prompted reformers to question the DEA's consistency.

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".

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.

So, what has medical research into the use of cannabis revealed since 1992? Because of the Federal Scheduling, much of the legitimate research has gone on outside of the United States.

(This article includes links to information about cannabinoid research for 19 different health issues, with links to the studies relating to the medical condition.)

Recent medical research on cannabis, via NORML:

...There are now more than 17,000 published papers in the scientific literature analyzing marijuana and its constituents...Whereas researchers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s primarily assessed cannabis' ability to temporarily alleviate various disease symptoms — such as the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy — scientists today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids to modify disease.

Of particular interest, scientists are investigating cannabinoids' capacity to moderate autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as their role in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig's disease.)

Investigators are also studying the anti-cancer activities of cannabis, as a growing body of preclinical and clinical data concludes that cannabinoids can reduce the spread of specific cancer cells via apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by the inhibition of angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). Arguably, these latter trends represent far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago.

7 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
How the DEA, the Attn General or Congress Could Reschedule Cannabis (Original Post) RainDog Dec 2011 OP
IMO Cannabis needs to be treated as a special case tridim Dec 2011 #1
It's a plant, not a drug, imo RainDog Dec 2011 #2
But the DEA won't DreamSmoker Dec 2011 #5
It does not matter what this says DreamSmoker Dec 2011 #3
Ed Rosenthal talks about change RainDog Dec 2011 #4
kick for relevance n/t RainDog Dec 2012 #6
And again...for the same thing! n/t CanSocDem Dec 2012 #7


(45,358 posts)
1. IMO Cannabis needs to be treated as a special case
Sat Dec 17, 2011, 11:38 AM
Dec 2011

It shouldn't be scheduled along with other drugs. It deserves special consideration since it's a plant and since it is already used safely by millions of people.

The DEA should feel free to schedule synthetic THC & CBD and chemically modified Cannabis extracts.


(28,784 posts)
2. It's a plant, not a drug, imo
Sat Dec 17, 2011, 03:24 PM
Dec 2011

it's not like cocaine - it's like coca leaves.

it's not like opium - it's like poppies.

it's not like aspirin - it's like willow trees.

these plants may also be used for their medical properties but their pharmaceutical/synthetic counterparts are far stronger and are processed so that the naturally occurring combination within the plants no longer exist in pill form.

Marinol is also synthetic and processed - and just one component of the plant.

so, yeah, I agree. as companies do more research into the medicinal applications of cannabis synthetics, those things can be scheduled - they will probably become more and more concentrated if they are used for targeting specific areas of the body, etc.

what's interesting is that one synthetic product they have tried to market - Rimonabant- for weight loss - has been withdrawn from the market because of the bad side effects - severe depression and type 2 diabetes. it blocks the uptake of the body's internally-produced endocannabinoid that is analogous to THC (and blocks THC from cannabis) - it was described as the "anti-THC." It was deemed too dangerous because it made people want to kill themselves when their natural endocannabinoids were blocked.

so, absolutely, those synthetic products need to be scrutinized, tested and scheduled (tho none would meet the schedule I classification either, if they're available.)

Cannabis, on the other hand, has been used in its natural form for more than 5000 years. It has been available as a medicine for far longer than it has been prohibited as the same - it's only been illegal for 70 years. Before that, it was part of every doctor's medicine chest.


(841 posts)
5. But the DEA won't
Mon Dec 19, 2011, 01:54 PM
Dec 2011

Fact is the DEA has had many opportunities to change this..
Cannabis is the Big Cash Cow for these Guys as well as local Police departmets..
This hedging the laws in favor of Law Enforcement to battle Drugs has had the opposite effect..
Its Bonuses around for LEOs when forfeitures are in this mix..
It is the Motivator for LEOs to go and make the easiest Busts they could possibly get..
More arrests means more pay raises and Bonuses...

Now let me add that the DEA is so big know but uses 80% of its entire work force to go after and eradicate Cannabis and arrest Americans..
Now also international and growing..
All to go after Cannabis...

No end of this crap in site either..
Even with the facts right in their Faces...
This Drug War is not based on truth..
Its to build a bigger Badder DEA that reaches every inch on the face of the Earth..
With the Power to bypass the rights of the People..
NO due Process of Law.....


(841 posts)
3. It does not matter what this says
Sun Dec 18, 2011, 03:53 PM
Dec 2011

You can explain til the cows come home how this would work..
But the problem is the Government and the DEA itself....
These entities have no intention letting go of a successful tool to control a good portion of the American People..

This issue is no longer medically in question..
So what other possible reason would there be for the stall tactics for all these years???
If it were a money issue???This would not be a question.. It would be a done deal....

The FDA at the end of last year requested the DEA to reschedule Cannabis to a class 3 drug..
The FDA has been working closely with Bayer who has developed a Medical extract in a nose spray called Sativex..
It is available in Europe presently..
The DEA flat denied this request after months of waiting and re-quoted the same lame excuses used since President Nixon's day..

And add the recent invasion of the Feds in California as well as other Medical Marijuana States to shut down the so called store front Dispensaries..

Yes its about Power and Control of Americans Folks...


(28,784 posts)
4. Ed Rosenthal talks about change
Sun Dec 18, 2011, 11:40 PM
Dec 2011

Last edited Mon Apr 30, 2012, 09:59 PM - Edit history (1)

specifically in the context of our time - he talked about how no one expected the Soviet Union to dissolve, no one expected the Berlin Wall to be torn down (and, no matter what Reagan said, his administration didn't see what was happening... mostly in Hungary, btw, that led to the chain of events that brought down the Soviet empire.)

Sometimes change seems like it will never happen - and then, suddenly, it does.

This is also something Gladwell talks about in The Tipping Point. Rosenthal also mentions that book and said, when this video was made a few years ago, that we are at a tipping point - and we are.

One action can change the current abuse of power.

We are now at a point at which an overwhelming majority approve of medical marijuana legalization and a slim majority supports legalization of all marijuana.

Our economy isn't looking all that great. Allowing a new market to flourish is just what FDR did in relation to alcohol prohibition, too.

There are economic, medical, constitutional and health arguments that make far more sense than the policy we have at this time... comes a time...

I hope that time is soon. It's coming.

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