U.S. Court of Appeals to Hear Challenge to DEA Rejection of Medical Marijuana Rescheduling

Washington DC, Oct 16th.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments in a case challenging the
Drug Enforcement Administration’s rejection of a petition to remove
marijuana from Schedule I, the most dangerous category of drugs for
which no medical use is recognized.

The lawsuit, filed by Americans for Safe Access, stems from a
rescheduling petition that was filed in 2002 by the Coalition to
Reschedule Cannabis with participation from California NORML and
NORML.  The petition was rejected by the DEA in 2011 after applicants
sued the agency for unreasonable regulatory delay.

In its decision, the DEA summarily discounted substantial scientific
evidence showing that cannabis has medical efficacy.  The agency has
held that only expensive,  “Phase 3” FDA efficacy studies are
acceptable, while at the same making such studies impossible by
blocking approval of the necessary research facilities.

Congress originally put marijuana in Schedule I when it passed the
Controlled Substances Act in 1970, on the understanding that it would
be rescheduled in light of the findings of the Presidential Commission
on Marihuana and Drug Abuse.  The Commission’s advice was disregarded
after it recommended that marijuana be entirely decriminalized.

NORML then filed a petition to reschedule marijuana for medical use
in 1972.  The petition was ultimately rejected in 1991, after the DEA
overrode the determination of its own administrative law judge,
Francis Young, that marijuana’s medical benefits were “clear beyond
question.”

The CRC filed a new petition in 2002, arguing that marijuana’s medical
value had been proven by new evidence, as well as by the approval of
medical cannabis laws in California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and
elsewhere.

Meanwhile, California established a $9 million medical marijuana
research program at the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at U.C.
San Diego.  The program found marijuana to be effective in four out of
four FDA-approved trials for neuropathic pain and  multiple
sclerosis.   The CMCR’s director, Dr. Igor Grant, has called
marijuana’s Schedule I status “untenable.”

“The DEA’s obstruction of medical marijuana represents the worst kind
of regulatory dysfunction by self-serving drug bureaucrats,” comments
Cal NORML coordinator Dale Gieringer.  “The evidence is now
overwhelming that marijuana can be an effective, affordable substitute
for many more dangerous and costly, yet legal, prescription drugs.  If
the government can’t get medical marijuana straight, how can we expect
it to manage national health care?”

Release by Dale Gieringer, Cal NORML / CRC – www.canorml.org
Further info:  http://www.drugscience.org/petition_intro.html
http://www.safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=7345
http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/
Dale Gieringer – dale@canorml.org
California NORML www.canorml.org
510-540-1066 / FAX 510-849-3974

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