Drug War

Strike Three for Rescheduling Marijuana


On Friday the Drug Enforcement Administration officially rejected a nine-year-old petition asking it to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the law's most restrictive category. Schedule I is supposedly reserved for drugs that have "a high potential for abuse," "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States," and no "accepted safety for use under medical supervision." The Los Angeles Times notes that "marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses"; that "the DEA's decision comes as researchers continue to identify beneficial effects"; that "Americans overwhelmingly support [medical marijuana] in national polls"; and that the National Cancer Institute "notes that marijuana may help with nausea, loss of appetite, pain and insomnia."

This is the third time the DEA has denied a marijuana rescheduling petition: The first petition, filed in 1972, was rejected 17 years later in a decision that overrode the recommendation of the DEA's own administrative law judge; the second, filed in 1995, was rejected six years later. Last week's rejection came two months after Americans for Safe Access asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to compel the DEA to respond. Now ASA can go back to the D.C. Circuit and challenge the rationale for the DEA's decision. "We have foiled the government's strategy of delay," says ASA attorney Joe Elford, "and we can now go head to head on the merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value."

DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart claims "the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy." Yes, that is the same Michele Leonhart who has obstructed marijuana research by refusing to allow competition with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the only legal source of cannabis. That decision also rejected the recommendation of a DEA administrative law judge. 

ASA has more here. Its rescheduling petition is here (PDF). The DEA's response is here (PDF).

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  1. Something something GOP worse…

    1. That’s getting to be a harder meme to propagate.

  2. I’m just gonna leave this here:

    According to established case law, marijuana has no “currently accepted medical use” because: The drug’s chemistry is not known and reproducible; there are no adequate safety studies; there are no adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy; the drug is not accepted by qualified experts; and the scientific evidence is not widely available.

    1. I can’t remember where I read it, an article mentioned that if aspirin were to be created today. It would not have been approved by the FDA because they really don’t know why or how it works.

      1. Aspirin most likely wouldn’t be approved, because it has too many bad side effects. Like stomach bleeding.

        1. No, I’m sure it would just go thru the same process as other NSAIDs like ibuprofen, starting off prescription-only, then after a number of years being allowed in nonprescription versions. However, you can’t erase hx; it’s hard to say whether NSAIDs would’ve had that easy a time of getting licensed had it not been for the precedent of aspirin.

    2. Where “adequate” and “qualified” are defined by the DEA.

      The line about the chemistry being unknown and irreproducible is comedy of the highest order, of the sort only a small stupid child or a government agency could produce.

    3. And then they spend over 3 pages discussing the chemistry of it. The contradictions in this ruling wouldn’t even pass as an 8th grade research paper.

  3. Another reason Obama was the right choice, eh, Democrats?


    1. The D was the only reason we needed.

  4. too bad obama’s bombs are killer drones smashing peasant villages in six or more countries instead of a “bomb”.

    1. You mean like the Southern Poverty Law Center?

      1. No, those shitsticks don’t even fucking deserve outrage or attention. The shit my neighbor’s dog took a few hours ago while being walked is more deserving of space and atmosphere than those sheep-fucking cock-suckers.

        They spend their days bitching about worthless shit, classifying everybody from anti-federale politicians to gun owners to militias as neo-Confederate, racist, knuckle-dragging barbarians, and otherwise being one of the most colossal, terrible jokes whichever God that it is (if God exists) has ever thrust unto humanity.

        I’d rather fucking hang myself with barbed wire than listen to any of the Satanically moronic shit those fuckbags spew.

        1. Don’t hold back, Res.

          Tell us how you really feel.

          1. I can feel the anger flowing within me FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

  5. “the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.”

    But Marinol has?

    1. Interesting thread:


    2. Yeah, synthetic THC is somehow acceptable because it’s not “illegal” THC, but we should outlaw K2 because it’s “synthetic” buzzing.


  6. Now ASA can go back to the D.C. Circuit and challenge the rationale for the DEA’s decision. “We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay,” says ASA attorney Joe Elford, “and we can now go head to head on the merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value.”

    He sounds confident, and public opinion will settle the issue in time too

    1. 1. The DEA will not give up on this even if the DC Circuit rules against them. They’ll take it to SCOTUS if they have to.

      2. I think you know how SCOTUS would rule on this. ASA would be lucky to lose 7-2 with Thomas and Ginsberg dissenting.

      1. and again, congress could simply legalize mj if they wanted to. tomorrow

  7. …the known risks of marijuana antidepressant use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    The guy should be working at the FDA.

  8. Just for petitioning, if I was the DEA I would have created a new schedule, Schedule 0, and I would have elevated cannabis to Schedule 0, and use of Schedule 0 substances would be punishable by death.

    We must save our children from the constant danger of marijuana overdose.

    1. Don’t forget second-hand pot smoke!

    2. They don’t have statutory authority to create new schedules. The CSA was passed back before the era of shell-laws, when Congress actually specified what regulatory agencies were supposed to do.

      1. If I was the DEA I would punch you in the face for daring to suggest a regulatory agency has but to ask Congress for an increase in power.

  9. As more women discover that marijuana helps with the torment of hot flashes (you don’t know until you’ve been there), the DEA will be soundly overruled.

  10. Wow… almost ten posts, and no Juanita.

    Maybe we’ll be spared her sanctimonious “what would you do if you were killed by a pothead” bullshit this time.

    1. She’s out trying to SAVE TEH CHIDRENZ

    2. Ummm…some people’s sarcasm detectors are way out of whack.

      To most, it’s been obvious from the beginning that Juanita is a regular posting under a gag name.

      Sometimes its obvious, other times she comes too earily close to what drug warriors say on a regular basis.

      1. From the beginning?

        Im pretty sure the very orginal juanita was real, but its been years and years since its been anything but a spoof.

        1. Can’t speak for anyone else but I’ve been around since at least ’01 (not exactly sure when I started but I remember the 9/11 thread).

          The first time I saw a “Juanita” post I said “that’s a spoof if ever there was one”.

    3. If we stop arresting drug users,especially marijuana users, it will send a terrible message to our children and it will cause many prison guards to loose their jobs. Those prisons are in places where jobs are scarce. How will those fired prison guards care for their children.

      1. Start raising pot?

        1. That would just put those guards on the path to hell, with the rest of the drug dealers. It is best to just keep them employed, making sure that the dealers in death are behind bars. If you smoke pot, you support the terrorists.

        2. Feed them murdered adults?

      2. C-. The prison guard bit is out of character and too overt.

  11. Gracias, gracias, DEA. My cash flow is assured. And thanks for the guns, too.

    1. More where those came from. Remember sHrillary says we can’t afford to stop the WOD.

      1. Don’t forget that campaign contribution!

  12. This one is kind of a head-scratcher. I can’t figure out if el jefe is hoping that the audacity of this Big Lie will be enough to actually convince people, or if he just drafted this as a legalistic fig leaf and he has failed to even take Americans’ intelligence into account.

    I had the same thought WRT his Libya rationale. Does he actually think people are that stupid, or is he just cranking the expansion of Executive power to 11 with only the barest consideration of plausible justification?

    1. The WOD has always been divorced from reality. What’s changing, is the number of people afflicted with the hysteria.

    2. I count on my clean-and-smiley charisma. And nay to the naysayers.

    3. I don’t think Obama is remotely connected to reality. He lives in a bubble more profound than any Hollywood star. Whatever his yes-men tell him is what he knows, and nothing else. Don’t expect rational behavior from a creature like that.

      1. But it’s worse than that. When his top lawyers told him that the War Powers Act limited his actions in Libya, Obama looked for different lawyers to tell him what he wanted to hear.

        1. Sure. Exactly like when Jennifer Lopez tells her people that the peons who do her hair and makeup are not allowed to look her in the eye. If one does, they get fired and replaced. Except that in this case, instead of of it being the person who picks all the blue M and Ms out of the bowl, it’s the lawyers who advise on the War Powers Act.

          What could go wrong?

          1. it’s the lawyers who advise on the War Powers Act

            The lawyers no longer advise it seems. When President wants something, no matter how outrageous (time to nuke Burkina Faso!), he just sends the request to the juris pit and they cook up a legal brief so that the War Powers Act, or the Pure Foodie and Druggles Act, whatever, somehow says it is both legal and right for the President to nuke Burkina Faso.

            Bush kinda invented that shtick and Obama of course loves it all the more.

            1. With a name like Burkina Faso, they should be nuked.

              1. Ah-ha! According to my interpretation of the Aldrich-Vreeland Act of 1909 it is totally legal for the President without consulting or consultation of Congress to totally unload couple hundred W88’s all over Burkin…what’s its name? Oh, right, Burkina Faso. Gotcha.

                Someone get down to Kinko’s, I need a legal brief STAT!

          2. Does J Lo really have such a rule? That sounds unbelievably narcisistic! That must be spelled wrong, it has that, “you dumb fuck” look about it.

            1. Yes she does, or at least did a number of years ago. Maybe being Paula Abdul 2 on American Idol has humbled her a bit.

        2. Did I mention my favorite president was Nixon?

    4. He’s gotten away with both the Libya mess and the medical marijuana betrayal so far, so it appears whatever intelligence people have isn’t a problem for him.

      The GOP has little interest in actually forcing him to quit Libya, they are just complaining about it in an attempt to score points. As for med MJ most of the people who care about it either don’t know he’s betrayed them (have you seen even a whiff of a story on med MJ in the MSM?), or do know but are going to vote for him anyway (“because the Republicans are even worse!”).

      So I don’t think he looks stupid at all. If it weren’t for the economy tanking none of this stuff would be threatening to his reelection.

      1. Sad fact but true: Dopers (of any dope bar alcohol) are probably much less active politically relative to the average in any demographic they are found.

        And it shows.

        1. Vote or die, man!

      2. I don’t know where you live, but here in a MMJ state, the US Attorney’s office’s bullying with memos etc. has been front page news several times in the MSM.

    5. Hugh, that is Obama’s approach to everything: his belief that his rhetoric and speaking style will bedazzle everyone, and that a sympathetic mainstream media will be too busy attacking Sarah Palin’s misstatements about Paul Revere to call him on his bullshit.

  13. …the known risks of marijuana use [eating large amounts of chocolate cake] have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.

    1. That really is a silly standard.

  14. Not to be a dick but, legally, isn’t the US bound to an international controlled substances treaty, or something?

    1. The US is the gestapo of the controlled substances treaty. If we gave the go ahead, every country in North and South America, and Europe, would shitcan it.

      1. This. We’re the 800-lb. gorilla on drug policy, and have been since the 1910’s, when we first pushed the Netherlands to adopt much more punitive opiate laws as part of a quid-pro-quo.

        As I mentioned on the previous thread (and others have somewhat alluded to here), this may wind up being the ultimate phyrric victory for the drug warriors. The arguments that 1) marijuana has no medical value and 2) it’s harm isn’t fully understood are so blatantly false, they are bound to be rejected by all but the intellectually dishonest.

        1. We are the reason for the violence in Mexico. The Mexican government couldn’t give two shits about drugs, but we apply enormous pressure on them to enforce our insane drug rules.

          The amounts of violence, death, and destruction our government is responsible for are truly vile.

          1. The really sick part about it is that they get away with it, in large part, by blaming the drug war violence on the drugs themselves.

            I’ve found it often helps to point out some history with those who support punitive drug laws.

          2. “We are the reason for the violence in Mexico.”

            NO, the idiots who make a choice to engage in violence are the reason for the violence in Mexico. Your

        2. “the intellectually dishonest.”

          You honestly think that’s a significant minority or even simple minority of the human population?

          1. I should have acknowledged the substantial part of the voting population that still view “drugs” as a composite, and evil, whole. Those older than boomers are unlikely to ever look at evidence of any kind, since their mind has been made up for decades. For the boomer-era voters, the anti-hippie contingent may still view this as a ‘culture war’ issue, and again, refuse to look at evidence. Neither of these are intellectual dishonesty per se, since they are voting with their emotions.

            Unfortunately, both of these segments of the population vote in large numbers, and politicians are intellectual dishonest. The population is leading the politicians on this issue (and showing that they are amenable to evidence), but I think it will take a while until it becomes a make-or-break issue for politicians.

          2. Can I ask you, Kolohe – do you think it’s possible to read factual evidence and come away honestly believing that marijuana has no medicinal value?

            1. yes. and ideologues of ALL stripes can and do do this all the time.

              people selectively ignore or make silly “yea buts” when they are presented with stuff that goes against their preconceived beliefs.

              do you honestly think an anti-taser fanatic is going to have his mind changed by articles that present facts that upset his preconceptions?

              of course not

              i don’t see how any dispassionate observer can come away believing mj has no medicinal value, but very few people are dispassionate about drugs

        3. I’m unable to reject those arguments.

      2. Also, European laws. (Yes, it’s a wikipedia link, so take it with as much salt as you like.)

    2. Yeah, just about every country is though. It’s through the UN though, so we can safely ignore it.

      Hell, the Dutch had to sign one to be included in the EU. All member states have to have a maximum sentence for possession of one year. A lot of European drug laws are more draconian than ours, but they don’t show the same fervor in enforcing them. That’s why people imagine a more ‘drug tolerant’ Europe.

      1. …and what Warren said as well.

      2. .. except for those that have explicitly decriminalized it and other drugs which EU countries are doing, so I don’t know how such treaties sqaure with local laws.


        1. The “Legal/Essentially Legal” category on that map is only for small quantities, and “Essentially” should have been emphasized.

          The decriminalization is also the same. Go into one of those countries with 50 kilos, and see how “decriminalized” their laws are.

          1. I was looking for racial disparity stats yesterday, when I found some obscure policy paper that dealt with European drug laws. That’s where I got the Dutch thing from, but after looking all day I can’t effin find the thing again. Maybe it was a flashback.

            1. Well, it’s a tricky thing at best. A lot depends on how much you have, and the attitude of the cop who finds you with it. That’s not meant to be a facetious statement, either.

              It’s also like every other international “agreement” – signing is one thing, strict adherence is another.

          2. true, but all of the laws in the blue and dark blue countries (decrim/legal) have explicitly defined amounts which would conflict with any such drug treaties.

            And none result in the equivalent of a life-ruining felony like it is here even if you are growing a large amount (for local use), which is the whole point of the legal decriminalization in the first place.

            Since capitol I mentioned Netherlands, here’s the Dutch Opium Act about MJ:

            The Czech Republic is even more liberal, with *all* drug possession decriminalized now since last year, certain limits defined as explicitly legal (e.g. 15 grams or 5 plants of MJ; 40 Psilocybin mushrooms, 5 LSD tablets, etc) and above that, a misdemeanor if enforced.

            In any case, I bring this up not to debate enforcement or legalities about just how much “trouble” one can get into (I agree that one can, to a certain extent, like you mentioned), but the seeming conflict between treaties that dictate blanket or black/white criminalization and local laws that explicitly to the contrary

      3. yes. with emphasis on IMAGINE.

        and of course in the USA, being a republic of states, it varies widely state by state (and the VAST majority of drug offenses are handled locally not federally)

        in some states, mere possession – you have to work really hard to get even a day of jail time (for MJ).

    3. The enumerated powers in A1S8 can’t be expanded by treaty, only by amendments.

      1. Article 6, Paragraph 2 makes it plausible to argue that a treaty could, in fact, do so.

    4. Not to be a dick but, legally, isn’t the US bound to an international controlled substances treaty, or something?

      Yes, and this is one of several reasons liberals will never support legalizing drugs.”It’s international law!”

    5. The treaties do not prohibit medical use of controlled substances.

  15. I declare my dependence on the DEA and all the power it will give me when I’m elected president.

    Oh, and the Reason commentariat will be the first up against the wall when the revolution doesn’t come.

    1. And we still aren’t ashamed of not letting Gary Johnson in the debate.

      1. Thanks for reminding me to donate to his campaign. It almost certainly won’t mean shit, but it made me feel better.

  16. So the agency responsible for enforcement is also the agency responsible for judgement? No, no conflict of interest here folks, move along. “I am the law!”

  17. Has anyone seen this Discovery Channel show Texas Drug Wars? I can’t even describe it. Such glorification of these people. They’re so self-righteous in their violence and of course blame the other side when people get hurt. They have such disdain for Mexico, or any brown people.

    1. They should have called it Methbusters to trick idiots into watching it.

    2. Nat Geo and Discovery have become drug-warrior havens and police-state glorifiers. every fucking reality show they have features some type of law/drug-enforcement agency cracking skulls.

      1. Yeah, I used to watch a ton of stuff on those channels a few years ago, and then they went full cop fellator, and I never watch them any more.

        1. sport science is friggin awesome.

  18. Not to mention that, between this and the Cole memo last week, every existing dispensary in states with legal medical pot has to be waiting for that telltale kick on their door.

  19. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

  20. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a
    46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get
    all this stuff, BetaSell.com

  21. betasell.com

  22. When Hillary said we cant end the war on drugs because ” there is just too much money in it.”, what she meant was;
    The war on drugs is it’s own justification.

    Sadly, it will come to an end eventually, not because we get enough of being murdered and robbed and imprisoned, but because enough people will demand the right to use drugs, mainly for recreational purposes.

  23. “the known risks of marijuana use …”

    Yeah, the risk of going to jail.
    Pretty bad risk; wonder what we could do about it.

  24. The lefties secretly love them some drug war much as the Michelle Bachmonsters of the world. It appeals to the fuzzy lefty economic mind. Think about it….

    What about the thousands dead every year from prohibition-driven organized crime (public and private)? What are we gonna do with all those dead bodies? SHOVEL READY PROJECT PEOPLE! YES WE CAN!

    Add up all those dead bodies, and the multitudes rotting away in prison…and talk about a total Keynesian tweak to the aggregate demand AND supply of labor!

    I mean, kill one man, imprison three more, and hire two three four to babysit the imprisoned three. That’s like eight aggregate jobs right there (nine if you count the dude who murdered the now-dead guy).

    That amateur Paul Krugman ain’t got Keynesian shit on my aggregate street cred yo.

  25. I hope the drug war addicts contract a disease that’s worse than ALS, and the only cure is marijuana. Of course, those who want to be cured will partake, but I wonder how many will choose a slow, horrible death to ingesting the chronic.

  26. Legalize it, tax revenue goes up, war on drugs is over. When will we learn?

    1. Re-Legalize it, tax revenue goes up, war on drugs is over. When will we learn?

    2. “Legalize it, tax revenue goes up,”
      Which is the only reason I oppose legalizing it.
      Expenditures will rise by some factor greater than the revenue.

      1. And then those LEOs gotta do something or be put out of work. Drug arrests account for 10% of all arrests (a near majority for marijuana possession) — nearly 3 times as many arrests as for all violent crimes combined, and nearly as many as all property crimes combined.

        No one seriously thinks we’ll just reduce the size of our police force, right?

  27. If cannabis is the devil [incarnate is meat – WTH would that be for a plant? Inflorate?], then the DEA is Captain America for protecting us from it. If it’s a useful herb they are nothing but tax collectors. So which do you think they choose to be? Right. And WTH is the DEA doing making a ruling on medicinal value rather than the FDA? Or for recreational use rather than ATF?

    1. Infoliate?

      1. I vote for “inflorate”. The flowers are the good part.

  28. So what do you get if a court rules that cannabis must be rescheduled administratively? Congress and the president just enact a new statute that says they don’t — that cannabis’s control status will henceforth be set legislatively, with DEA unable to alter it — as it was before 1970.

    The federal statute on the subject that immediately preceded the CSA put controls on certain substances, but allowed the commissioner of foods & drugs to put controls on, or remove them from, additional substances; the ones that were statutorily listed were, however, not allowed to be altered administratively.

    I just don’t see Congress and the president allowing administrative or judicial rescheduling of marijuana now. If they wanted to, they could do it themselves.

    1. Actually I meant the head of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, which was first part of the Dept. of Health (then in HEW) and then moved to the Dept. of Justice.

      1. Shouldn’t post when I’m drowsy. I meant that to refer to who I meant rather than commissioner of foods & drugs. And I forgot that BNDD was in Treasury between the time it was in Health and when it wound up in Justice.

      2. congress could legalize mj (federally) tomorrow if they wanted to. any regulatory power is subservient to acts of congress to change the law in these regards.

  29. Cannabis / Marijuana is a safe and effective medication for autism. Check out ‘Cannabis for Autism’ on Facebook or look for the UF4A.org

    Please spread this news – you could save a child’s life, you could save a family. Thank You x

  30. US-DOJ National Drug Intelligence Center say in 2007- we lost 193 billion dollars on a state and federal level.

    193 BILLION in ONE YEAR almost 150 is split up even between police, courts, prisons- did anyone really thing the DEA which is a part of the Department of Justice- was gonna allow 49% of all drug arrests to cease?

    Ofcourse not- but now that the decree is officially no to the inquiry which is based off scientific studies- many of which are federally funded can NOW be taken to federal court to consider the DEA’s actions.

    Ofcourse we could just allow 2036 to lead the way- but does not look like it will pull through when the bill might not even be considered from being shelved. By a man who takes money from alcohol- tobacco and big pharm, Lamar Smith- if you think that is wrong join NORML and sign this petition http://www.change.org/petition…..-a-hearing

  31. but pot is good, we all know that.


  32. More Lies from your Federal Government. The story of Cannabis prohibition is a story about the decline of our Nation. Government created the LIE that Cannabis is a “dangerous,addictive drug” that must be prohibited, even though it was legally available to the Public before 1937. The Fed’s have created a Prison / Judicial system that has made America, the Land of the Free,the country that imprisons more of it’s citizens than any other Country. The War on Drugs has done nothing to curtail the use or availability of Cannabis, instead it has eroded our constitutional rights and turned our Police into ParaMilitary RoboCops, where kicking in doors shooting innocent citizens is becoming all to common.
    If I had my way every damn politician who supports keeping Cannabis at schedule 1 should be tarred and feathered, and run out of town on a rail.
    We can have a Free Country or we can have a Drug Free Country, we cannot have both.

  33. “We never make mistakes”

    Rule #1 of any government.

  34. The DEA is already preparing to reschedule marijuana tincture, Sativex will only be the first of many marijuana tinctures. Soon marijuana tincture will be just a legal to prescribe in all US states and territories as opium tincture.

  35. No medical use? This must have been news to the thousands of medical doctors who routinely prescribe it.

  36. Thanks for the good news.
    Thanks for any content Dii.

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