Petition to Repeal Marijuana Prohibition Filed By Jon Gettman
A new legal challenge to marijuana's schedule I prohibited status was filed by Jon Gettman, former National Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), 1986-1989.
On July 10, 1995, Gettman filed a 55,000-word petition with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requesting proceedings to have marijuana and all cannabinoids removed from schedules I and II of the Controlled Substances Act because they do not have the abuse potential required by statute for inclusion in those schedules.
The DEA accepted Gettman's petition for filing on July 27, 1995 and is now in the process of determining if there are sufficient grounds to initiate further proceedings. DEA accurately says his petition seeks to "remove these drugs from their respective schedules, and reschedule these drugs on the basis of evaluations by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and in accordance with existing law."
Gettman's petition details various research findings, presenting several major issues and questions that the government will have to resolve or answer:
Gettman has compiled research to address these issues, and he believes these are important questions for the government to nswer. The issues he has raised roughly correspond to the statutory issues that must be a part of regulatory decisions by the DEA according to 21 U.S.C. §811 (c) of the Controlled Substances Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that abuse potential is the key criterion for scheduling marijuana (NORML v. DEA, 559 F.2d 735 (1977)).
"My understanding of the scientific literature and the case law asserts that HHS will not be able to produce a finding that marijuana has sufficient abuse potential to justify schedule I or II status," Gettman said. "I am presenting these issues to the government in a legal form which subjects their response to judicial review. I expect a lengthy and adversarial process ahead." Gettman will be represented by Michael Kennedy, a very respected New York attorney.
[In a two-part series he wrote for High Times magazine, Gettman described research by the National Institute of Mental Health that is the basis for his petition (Jon Gettman, "Marijuana and the Brain," High Times, March 1995, p. 26-29 and Jon Gettman, "The Tolerance Factor," July 1995, p. 26-29). The second of these articles is available on the High Times Web page at http://www.hightimes.com. Two 15,000-word booklets and a press release detailing Gettman's research and petition are available from NORML. For more information, contact NORML at 1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 1010, Washington DC 20036, 202-483-5500.]