Carl Olsen has been a busy, busy man.
Olsen explained what he is seeking to accomplish by intervening in the petition today.
The short of it is this: the CRC is sick of waiting on the DEA to respond to their petition to remove marijuana from schedule I. They’ve filed a motion in court, demanding the DEA respond to their nine year old petition. They expect the DEA to reject the petition based on a 2006 recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services that marijuana remain in Schedule I. From what I understand, the CRC would then appeal the decision.
Olsen contends that the DEA needs an updated recommendation from the DHHS. Marijuana is medicine. Science has advanced since 2006.
Olsen, a former member of the CRC, said this about his motion today:
“I want the court to order the DEA to respond, but not on the condition that the DEA deny the petition so the petitioners can appeal it. I want a specific order telling the DEA to get a new opinion from the DHHS. I think the court should give the DEA and the DHHS a set time to do that so we know when it will be.”
Olsen is arguing that the court should compel the DEA to refer this petition back to the DHHS for an updated ruling. This happened in 1980 in NORML v. DEA:
“ORDERED AND ADJUDGED, by this Court, that this case be remanded in its entirety to the Drug Enforcement Administration. It is
FURTHER ORDERED, that the Drug Enforcement Administration refer all the substances at issue to the Department of Health and Human Resources for that Department’s scientific and medical findings and recommendations on scheduling, [*2] as provided by 21 U.S.C. § 811(b) (1976). These proceedings shall take into account new evidence concerning medical use of the substances at issue, and shall be consistent with both this order and the prior decisions of this Court.”
According to Olsen, here is what he wants to happen in this important petition:
“What I want is an order from the U.S. Court of Appeals mandating the DEA get a fresh evaluation from the DHHS now in 2011, based on the additional evidence of the Iowa Board of Pharmacy ruling in 2010, the AMA recommendation in 2009, the Iowa Medical Society recommendation in 2010, the Iowa Pharmacy Association recommendation in 2010, and the additional evidence we presented to the Iowa Board of Pharmacy in 2009.”
I wrote in my previous post that I was worried about possible tension among activists. Disagreements in how to proceed strategically sometimes end up dividing us. There has been some questions of Olsen’s reasoning for this move, but it appears most are supportive from what I hear.
We’re all sick of the DEA’s repeated denial of marijuana’s medical status. If the court orders the DEA to ask the DHHS for an updated recommendation on the schedule I status, I expect the Coalition’s petition to result in the removal of marijuana from schedule I. Regardless of my hope for the future of this petition, we will have a response to Olsen’s motion to intervene soon.