Initial DEA Review of the 1995 Rescheduling Petition(July, 1995 to December, 1997)

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Reference is made to your petition dated July 10, 1995, requesting the Drug Enforcement Administration to initiate proceedings to . . .repeal the rules placing marihuana in Schedule I . . .tetrahydrocannabinols in Schedule I . . . dronabinol in Schedule II . . . and nabilone in Schedule II . . ., remove these drugs from their respective schedules, and reschedule these drugs on the basis of evaluation by the Department of Health and Human Services and in accordance with existing law . . . DEA hereby accepts this petition for filing . The DEA shall determine within a reasonable period of time whether there are sufficient grounds to justify [removal] . . . [S]hould DEA determine that there are sufficient grounds, then it must request a medical and scientific recommendation from the Secretary [of HHS]. The Secretary’s recommendation shall be binding on DEA as to medical and scientific findings and to the extent that the Secretary recommends that a substance not be scheduled or controlled. Only after this process is completed may DEA initiate proceedings for rulemaking. Stephen H. Greene, DEA Deputy Administrator. DEA Accepts Petition for Filing; July 27, 1995 (81 kb .pdf file)

In a letter of March 1, 1995 DEA Administrator Constantine argued that a recent determination that marijuana has no “accepted medical use” in the United States rendered the issue moot. When reminded of rulings on the U.S. Court of Appeals which were contrary to his position, Mr. Constantine (on April 21, 1995) invited my clients to submit scientific data on the topic of marijuana’s abuse potential. Thereafter the petition was filed. On October 20, 1995 my clients sent HHS Secretary Shalala letter in reference to her responsibilities to issue a triennial report on Drug Abuse and Drug Abuse Research under Section 506b of the Public Health Service Act, USC 290aa-4, noting that no such report had been published since 1991. . . On December 29, 1996, in response to ballot initiatives in California and Arizona, the Secretary of Health and Human Services promised the public a full scientific and medical evaluation of marijuana’s therapeutic potential. On January 8, 1997, the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, General Barry McCaffrey commissioned the Institute of Medicine to review scientific literature on marijuana’s therapeutic potential. Neither the internal review announced by Secretary Shalala nor the IOM study commissioned by General McCaffrey satisfy the Administration’s responsibilities under 21 USC 811 regarding my client’s petition. It is troubling that the Administration has considerable time to entertain scientific and medical reviews of marijuana except those required by the statutes of the U.S. code. . . . My clients have hoped over the last two years that the DEA would see it is to the Country’s and the Administration’s benefit to act on this petition with due diligence rather than waiting for my clients to resort to a court order. Simone Monasebian, Law Offices of Michael Kennedy. Petitioner’s Inquiry of March 14, 1997 ( 166 kb .pdf file)

Today you stated that you are disappointed that you have not made the progress on our petition that you intended . . .You also stated that based on your own initial review of the petition and its very detailed and comprehensive nature you will be sending the petition on to HHS shortly because it is not something you can deny at this point internally without HHS. Some 26 months have passed since my client’s submission of their petition . . .Although I appreciate that your office is very busy and respect your taking out the time to discuss this matter with me, my clients are unwilling to wait much longer. . .My clients find it curious that the medical marijuana initiatives are receiving more attention from your office than our petition, when our petition was filed long before most if not all of the initiatives . . . It is my feeling that it is a waste of time, my time and the taxpayers money and interest to force my clients to seek help from the Court to get the DEA to move on this petition, when it is something you can do right now. Please let me know exactly when you will be turning over the petition to HHS. Simone Monasebian, Law Offices of Michael Kennedy. Petitioner’s Inquiry of September 26, 1997. (129 kb .pdf file)

It has now been three years since my clients first sought to bring the issues in their petition to the attention of the Attorney General. Unique among supporters of marijuana law reform my clients decided to turn to the existing regulatory process as a vehicle for change rather than use marijuana-related issues as a basis for attacking or superceding the regulatory framework of the Controlled Substances Act. (emphasis added) It is my clients’ position that the DEA’s refusal to act on this petition will render the Clinton Administration’s policy positions self-serving hypocrisy. This refusal to recognize scientific challenges to existing policy damages the credibility and integrity of the DEA, DOJ, and all administration drug policy endeavors. . . .The number of people affected by my clients’ petition should have given it priority over all other issues before the Drug and Chemical Evaluation Unit. Because of the convictions expressed in my clients’ original letters to Attorney General Reno and Administrator Constantine I will provide the DEA with this last opportunity to honor Deputy Administrator Greene’s 7/27/95 pledge to review the petition within a reasonable period of time . . .My clients have made a primae facie case, have been more than patient and they expect the DEA to render its decision on the petition shortly. However, if DEA has not acted by December 31, 1997, they will pursue their right to due process in the U.S. Court of Appeals. Simone Monasebian, Law Offices of Michael Kennedy. Petitioner’s Inquiry of October 14, 1997. (119 kb .pdf file)

Please be advised that the above-referenced petition, which requests initiation of proceedings for a repeal of the rules or regulations that place marijuana and THC in Schedule I and dronabinol product and nabilone in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, has been forwarded to the Acting Assistant Secretary of Health of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for review pursuant to 21 USC 811(b) and 21 CFR 1308.43(d). In accordance with these provisions the Acting Assistant Secretary has been requested to provide a scientific and medical evaluation of the available data and to provide a scheduling recommendation for the substances at issue in the petition. Once the DEA receives the requested evaluation and recommendation from DHHS, and after consideration of that and all other relevant information, a decision will be made whether to initiate proceedings as requested by petitioners. Mary Kate Whalen, Office of Chief Counsel, DEA. DEA Forwards Petition to HHS for Review; December 19, 1997 (51 kb .pdf file)