The DEA and Schedule I

In 1972, a petition was submitted to the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, now the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule marijuana to make it available by prescription. After 16 years of court battles, the DEA’s chief administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, ruled: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. …”… [T]he provisions of the [Controlled Substances] Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II.
It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance. …” (September 6, 1988) Marijuana’s placement in Schedule II would enable doctors to prescribe it to their patients. But top DEA bureaucrats rejected Judge Young’s ruling and refused to reschedule marijuana. Two appeals later, petitioners experienced their first defeat in the 22-year-old lawsuit. On February 18, 1994, the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) ruled that the DEA is allowed to reject its judge’s ruling and set its own criteria–enabling the DEA to keep marijuana in Schedule I.

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