DEA Administrative Law Judge Findings
DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young's monumental decision that cannabis (marijuana) should rightfully be placed in Schedule II or lower of the Controlled Substances Act to make it available by prescription has been held hostage by the DEA's discretion in doing so. Nonetheless, the factual findings of his decision remain permanently on the record, and serve as a testimonial to his honest pursuit of the medical issues surrounding cannabis.
Excerpt from U.S. Federal Court Decision in the Case of
Alliance for Cannabis Therapeutics, et al., vs. US Drug Enforcement Administration (IRS):
In the Matter of
MARIJUANA MEDICAL RESCHEDULING PETITION
September 6, 1988.
Docket No. 86-22.
Francis L. Young, DEA Administrative Law Judge
Highlights of the Judge's decision:
"Based upon the facts established in this record and set out above, one must reasonably conclude that there is accepted safety for use of marijuana under medical supervision."
"To conclude otherwise, on this record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious…"
"The cannabis plant considered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is no lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision and it may lawfully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II. The judge recommends that the Administrator transfer cannabis."
"Based upon the facts established in this record and set out above one must reasonably conclude that there is accepted safety for use of cannabis under medical su-pervision. To conclude otherwise, on this record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious."
Conclusion & Recommended Decision
"Based upon the foregoing facts and reasoning, the administrative law judge conclude that the provisions of the Act permit and require the transfer of cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II. The judge realizes strong emotions are aroused on both sides of any discussion concerning the use of cannabis. Nonetheless it is essen-tial for this Agency, and its Administrator, calmly and dispassionately to review the evidence of record, cor-rectly apply the law, and act accordingly.
Marijuana can be harmful. Marijuana can be abused. But the same is true of dozens of drugs or substances which are listed in Schedule II so that they can be em-ployed in treatment by physicians in proper cases, despite their abuse potential.
Transferring cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II will not, of course, make it immediately available in pharmacies throughout the country for legitimate use in treatment. Other government authorities, federal and State, will doubt-less have to act before that might occur. But this Agency is not charged with responsibility, or given author-ity, over the myriad other regulatory deci-sions that may be required before cannabis can actually be legally available. This Agency is charged merely with determining the place-ment of cannabis pursuant to the provisions of the Act. Un-der our system of laws the responsibilities of other regula-tory bodies are the con-cerns of those bodies, not of this Agency.
There are those who, in all sincerity, argue that the transfer of cannabis to Schedule II will "send a signal" that marijuana is "OK" generally for recreational use. This argument is specious. It presents no valid reason for refraining from taking an action required by law in light of the evi-dence. If cannabis should be placed in Schedule II, in obe-dience to the law, than that is where cannabis should be placed, regardless of misinterpreta-tion of the placement by some. The reasons for the placement can, and should, be clearly explained at the time the action is taken. The fear of sending such a sig-nal cannot be permitted to override the legitimate need, amply demonstrated in this record, of countless suffers for the relief cannabis can provide when prescribed by a physician in a legitimate case.
The evidence in this record clearly shows that cannabis has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress from great numbers of very ill people, and do-ing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record.
The administrative law judge recommends that the Administrator conclude that the cannabis plant consid-ered as a whole has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, that there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision and that it may law-fully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II. The judge recommends that the Admin-istrator transfer cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule II."
~ by Francis L. Young,
Administrative Law Judge
Upheld by the Federal Appeals Court
April 1991: Docket No. 90-1020:
"The DEA Administrator ex-ercised with a vengeance his prerogative to reject the recommended decision."
"… [T]hree of the factors in the Administrator's eight factor test appear impossible to fulfill and thus must be regarded as arbitrary and capricious. … Since the government did not respond clearly to the argument, we are left in doubt as to the argument's validity." Under our governing cases, we must remand for the requisite explanation."
~ Silberman, Buckley and Henderson, Circuit Judges
Reversed on second Appeal - not on facts, but over a technicality
In a subsequent DEA appeal, a federal court ruled that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should also have been involved in the argument and set the case back to its starting point: a 20 year setback over a mere technicality.
Virginia NORML - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Legal Cannabis
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