The Cannabis Rescheduling Petition: An Introduction

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The Cannabis Rescheduling Petition is a scientific argument why the federal government must legally recognize the accepted medical use of Cannabis (marijuana) and regulate it in the same fashion as pharmaceutical drugs.

Marijuana is regulated by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a Schedule I substance, restricted solely for research purposes. The CSA establishes a process by which the scheduling of a substance can be reconsidered. This rescheduling process requires the filing of a detailed report of scientific evidence and the CSA specifies which aspects of the scientific record are relevant to the scheduling process. The Cannabis Rescheduling Petition seeks to have marijuana rescheduled into one of the four other schedules, all of which allow access for medical use.

Under federal regulations a rescheduling petition must have three parts. The first part of a rescheduling petition is a statement of its objective. Here is the opening section of the Cannabis Rescheduling Petition:

Exhibit A. Statement of the Proposed Rule

“The proposed rules for repeal, in the form proposed by the petitioners: The rule placing marihuana in schedule 1 [21 CFR 1308.11(d)17] is repealed because cannabis has an accepted medical use in the United States, is safe for use under medical supervision, has an abuse potential lower than Schedule I or II drugs, and has a dependence liability that is also lower than Schedule I or II drugs.

“This is not a petition for the removal of marijuana from scheduling under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), but a petition to have marijuana removed from Schedule I and rescheduled as “cannabis” in either Schedule III, IV, or V. A consideration of the appropriate scheduling of cannabis should be made on the basis of the scientific and medical evaluation required by the CSA and in accordance with existing law.”

Exhibit B of a rescheduling petition is a Statement of Grounds. The Introduction of Argument reviews the criteria that must be considered in the rescheduling process and why the scientific record provides a compelling case for the removal of marijuana from Schedule I and the rescheduling of cannabis in Schedule III or a less restrictive schedule. The Statement of Grounds for also contains a Description of New Relevant Information, which reviews the scientific and medical research that is presented in greater detail in Exhibit C, the Summary of Evidence.

The detailed presentation of scientific research in Exhibit C is organized by sections containing research reviews on the topics of Accepted Medical Use in the United States, Safety for Use, Dependence Liability, and Abuse Potential.