How long can this potent coalition hold out against the will of the people? As long as necessary, it would seem.
No one knows this better than Jon Gettman, a determined public policy activist whos been grappling with the drug control bureacracy for years. Gettman contends that "the DEA is violating its own guidelines under the CSA by keeping marijuana in Schedule 1," and in 1995 he petitioned the agency (as any citizen may) to change its position.
While none of the three classification criteria is truly being met, Gettman chose to focus on just one of them. Attaching every reference in the scientific literature since the Young decision, Gettman pointed out that no formal studyfrom 19th century British efforts to the latest Institute of Medicine reporthas ever stated that marijuana has a high abuse potential. "What then," he asked, "is the DEAs justification for its scheduling decision?"
His weighty petition was referred to the Department of Health and Human Services for evaluation, and is still there. Department officials, prodded for an update in October, 2000, said that the review is in its final stages and the HHS recommendation will be forthcoming "in the near future."
In the meantime, patients seeking U.S. government help will have to wait, or move to states that have defied federal law and legitimized compassionate user programs.
Judging by Corinne Millets experience, theyd better not invest too much faith in the feds.
In 1990, Millet appeared as a sanctioned cannabis recipient in NORMLs first public presentation on the issue, a panel discussion broadcast nationally by CSPAN and attended by, among others, a number of law enforcement officials.
Shortly thereafter, Corinne was visited by DEA agents demanding to know whom she was peddling marijuana to. Her government shipments of the drug suddenly ceased. The distraught woman begged her doctor for assistance, and he in turn raised hell with those who were supposed to be supplying her medicine.
Well, she got it back. Six unmedicated weeks later.
But by then she had lost eighty percent of her peripheral vision.