From: Dana Beal <email@example.com>
> From Jane S. Derry <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>A Press Release from the Law Offices of Michael Kennedy
>DEA Refers Marijuana Rescheduling Petition to HHS
>Recent scientific evidence has forced the US Government through its
>Justice Department agency, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), to
>commence legally binding procedures that will likely result in the end
>of marijuana prohibition.
>On December 19th, DEA formally asked the Department of Health and Human
>Services to conduct "a scientific and medical evaluation of the
>available data and provide a scheduling recommendation" for marijuana
>and other cannabinoid drugs. This DEA request of HHS means that the DEA
>has for the first time made its own determination that sufficient
>grounds exist to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled
>Substances Act (CSA). Schedule I is supposed to be limited to hard drugs
>with addictive propensities and with no legitimate medical usage.
>The DEA request was made in response to an administrative petition filed
>July 10, 1995 by Petitioners Jon Gettman and Trans High Corporation,
>publisher of High Times Magazine.
>The Petition presents evidence and argument that marijuana and
>cannabinoids lack the "high potential for abuse" required for Schedule I
>and Schedule II drugs under the (CSA).
>Trans-High Corporation, the publishers of High Times, joined with Mr.
>Gettman in mid-1995 to provide support for the petition during the
>administrative rule-making process. Petitioners are represented by the
>Law Offices of Michael Kennedy, which today released a copy of a letter
>from DEA notifying petitioners of the HHS referral.
>Petitioners are represented by the Law Offices of Michael Kennedy in New
>York City, which today released a copy of the letter from DEA notifying
>Petitioners of the HHS referral.
>According to a July 27, 1995, letter from DEA Deputy Administrator
>Stephen Greene, accepting the Petition for filing:
>"The DEA shall determine within a reasonable period of time whether
>there are sufficient grounds to justify removing marijuana . . . from
>Schedule I . . .(S)hould DEA determine that there are sufficient
>grounds, then it must request a medical and scientific recommendation
>from the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services."
>Thus DEA can request the advice of HHS only after DEA's investigation
>confirms that sufficient grounds exist to remove marijuana from Schedule
>I. According to the CSA the findings and recommendations of HHS with
>regard to scientific and medical matters are binding on DEA. DEA has
>never before voluntarily referred a marijuana rescheduling petition to
>HHS for binding review.
>The Gettman/High times Petition demonstrates that HHS has never produced
>a finding that marijuana actually has the high potential for abuse
>similar to heroin or cocaine. A high potential for abuse is required for
>Schedule I treatment. Further, the legislative history of the CSA
>indicates that Congress only intended for marijuana to remain in
>Schedule I or II if such a finding could be produced. This Petition
>challenges the government to produce such a finding (where none exists)
>or be legally required to end marijuana prohibition by removing
>marijuana from Schedule I.
>Removal of marijuana from Schedule I will require the federal government
>to sanction legal distribution of marijuana for medical uses, research
>and prescriptions and adopt a regulatory rather than a prohibitory model
>for marijuana. The end of prohibition and the advent of regulation will
>represent a radical change in the legal status of marijuana in the
>The Petition argues that the discovery of the Cannabinoid Receptor
>System, which has enabled scientists to explain the cause of marijuana's
>characteristic effects, and provides a basis for making detailed
>distinctions among the biological effects of marijuana and other drugs.
>These distinctions provide the scientific basis for demonstrating that
>marijuana does not have the same high potential for abuse as other
>Schedule I or II drugs.
>DEA reversal of position
>The DEA to HHS referral represents a historic turn-around for DEA...
>Gettman first asked DEA to refer marijuana to HHS for the appropriate
>scientific and medical evaluation back in October of 1994. In March
>1995, in a letter to Gettman's congressman, DEA claimed that "unless a
>substance has an accepted medical use in the United States, in can only
>be placed in Schedule I." By letter dated April 21, 1995, DEA
>Administrator Thomas Constantine stated that DEA was:
>"unaware of any new scientific studies of marijuana that would lead us
>to re-evaluate its classification at this time . . . If Mr. Gettman has
>access to scientific data concerning marijuana which he wishes to bring
>to our attention, we will be pleased to consider it, should he care to
>share the documentation with us."
>The Gettman/High Times Petition provided the specific scientific
>documentation that caused the DEA to reverse itself and to acknowledge
>for the first time ever that a sufficient scientific basis exists for
>reclassification of marijuana out of Schedule I
>Jon Gettman served as National Director of the National Organization for
>the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) from 1986 to 1989, and has provided
>articles and columns for High Times since 1985. Gettman is currently
>working on his doctorate in public policy and regional economic
>development at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
>Mr. Gettman issued the following statement:
>"People are sent to jail every day because of mistaken assumptions about
>the abuse potential of marijuana, assumptions that have never been
>scientifically proved. DEA's recognition of this is a welcome and
>important step, and in many respects recognition of the importance of
>the scientific work of individuals such as Allyn Howlett, William
>Devane, Miles Herkenham, Leo Hollister, Denise Kandel, Norman Zinberg,
>Lester Grinspoon and other scientists on whose work my petition rests.
>But this is also recognition that in many respects marijuana prohibition
>has been a cruel hoax on the American people. People think marijuana is
>in Schedule I for scientific reasons, and that these reasons legitimize
>prohibition, arrests and prison terms. DEA has just acknowledged that
>there is a lot of scientific knowledge they haven't considered when they
>justify marijuana's Schedule I status. In other words, DEA has presented
>a distorted picture of marijuana to government officials and to the
>public. I hope our petition will contribute to resolving some of the
>confusion created by these distortions."
>High Times Magazine, by its Editor in Chief, Peter Gorman, issued the
>"High Times is thrilled that the DEA has acknowledged that there was
>never sufficient reason to place cannabis in Schedule I of the CSA, and
>proud that the petition originated with Jon Gettman's two part series on
>"Marijuana and the Brain" which appeared in our pages in March and July
>1995. We hope that journalists from all media who have covered the War
>on Drugs will recognize the importance of the DEA's admission regarding
>the scheduling of cannabis -- which could potentially result in the end
>of prohibition of this benign and medically helpful herb -- and will
>report it with the same vigor with which they have reported other DEA
>findings. High Times looks forward to the results of the Department of
>Health and human Services' investigation of the scientific and medical
>data regarding cannabis with great anticipation."
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