It came to light recently, via an article by Tom Angell “The Obscure 45-Year-Old-Law Exempts State-Legal Marijuana” , that the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had a rule regarding Cannabis.
The Rule authorizes the transportation of Cannabis when authorized by the State or Federal government.
Sec. 91.19 — Carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances.
(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, no person may operate a civil aircraft within the United States with knowledge that narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances as defined in Federal or State statutes are carried in the aircraft.
(b) Paragraph (a) of this section does not apply to any carriage of narcotic drugs, marihuana, and depressant or stimulant drugs or substances authorized by or under any Federal or State statute or by any Federal or State agency.
This article sent us on a document hunt with the FAA. We wanted to see why the FAA made this rule change.
It appears from the documents revealed that the FAA had a regulation which made it a violation to transport against Federal Law and between the US and Mexico. They wanted to update the regulation to include those that violated a state law as well. The purpose was to be able to remove licenses of those convicted of federal or state law.
However the way it ended up, the wording is clear that State Legal Cannabis is EXEMPT from Federal Aviation Regulations. It makes sense that they allowed this change too. If a State Law Agency needed to transport something via Air it needs to be allowed. However they didn’t include that provision in the regulation. This leaves open the legal door to legally be allowed to transport cannabis so long as your following state laws, and if you are your EXEMPT from federal law.
You can view the original filing and final rule change announcements made in the Federal Register back in 1973 in our FOIA documents section, specifically the FAA page.
According to information just released under FOIA there are only 5 importers and 3 “manufacturers” of Cannabis in the US. Under the Freedom Of Information Act we just obtained a listing of the current importers and manufacturers of Cannabis that are licensed with the DEA.
The importers are Minnesota Depart of Ag, North Carolina Depart of Ag, PA Department of Ag, Washing State Department of Ag and Palomo Farms of North Carolina. These people are most likely importing seed for use in the test plantings of Cannabis for Hemp Stalk production.
The three Manufacturers are Natl Ctr Natural Products Research, Catalent Pharma Solutions and Synthcon LLC.
Catalent puts it’s self as a “provider of drug delivery technology and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products.” From their website information it appears they are actively looking at delivery methods for cannabinoids.
Synthcon appears to be a company that “develops and manufactures innovative medical devices“. There isn’t much more information available about the company.
Natl Ctr Natural Products Research, is the University of Mississippi Farm.
Back in January ASA filed a suit against the DEA about information that was on the Public Website for the DEA that was faulty. The DEA removed information from the site.
We were interested in what did the DEA remove from it’s website. We filed a FOIA request with them and received a response. In the response it appears the DEA has only removed two documents from it’s website. The total content of materials removed constitute about 17 pages mostly dealing with Medical Cannabis.
The Documents they released are here at this link 17-00351-F documents
While this is a small victory it could lead to additional victories against other agencies which use essentially the same information on their sites.
If you would like to see the other information we have collected from the DEA and other agencies check this link – DEA FOIA –
The DEA today replied to our FOIA request for information on Legal Cannabis Seed imports into the US in the last 20 years. While they weren’t able to supply some information as it was contained on a “retired” PC, they did supply information since 2010 and the numbers are amazing.
The clear trend has been a dramatic increase throughout the last 7 years. It is assumed that this is Cannabis Seed that is being imported for hemp production but it will take further investigation to determine who is importing what. Unfortunately the DEA doesn’t keep track of the difference between Cannabis Seed Imports and other forms of Cannabis.
The numbers are clear, yet muddied and we are seeking clarification but it appears that they are counting Grams in the report. (*EDIT 03-30-2017 – DEA confirms the weight unit is Grams** )
In 2010 it appears must be the year in which the switch was made from the old retired PC to the new system, so taking the low of 18,000 grams (roughly 33 lbs) in 2011 and the high of almost 60 million grams (131,825 lbs) in 2016 the growth in imports is on a steady increase year over year.
The full FOIA can be found on our DEA FOIA page or this link 17-00256-F (DET)
Today the DEA announced that they have a new FDA approved form of THC called Syndros. Syndros is the result of work of Insys Therapeutics to create a new oral THC that has 5mg per ML of solution. – FEDERAL REGISTER LINK –
In the DEA’s findings they are planning to schedule this as a Schedule II drug because.
Dronabinol is a generic name for the (-) delta-9-trans isomer of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana. Dronabinol is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in Syndros. As stated by HHS, Marinol (synthetic dronabinol in sesame oil and encapsulated in a soft gelatin capsule) was approved by the FDA for medical use on May 31, 1985 and placed in schedule II based on its accepted medical use and high abuse potential. On July 2, 1999, Marinol was rescheduled from schedule II to schedule III because of the findings of the DEA that the difficulty of separating dronabinol from the sesame oil formulation and the delayed onset of behavioral effects due to oral route administration supported a lower abuse potential of Marinol as compared to substances in Schedule II. 64 FR 35928.
Going on to state:
HHS indicated that the formulation of Syndros (oral solution) is easier to abuse than Marinol because this liquid formulation can be manipulated to produce concentrated extracts of dronabinol for abuse by inhalation (smoking or vaping) or through other routes of administration. Because of the large amount of dronabinol in Syndros oral solution it has a greater potential for extraction than Marinol and thus has a greater abuse potential.
Based on the use of Cannabis by the general public DEA feels that this form of THC needs to be a Schedule II drug.
What you find when reading further down is that it appears DEA would rather people smoke it because of the onset of effects are easier to control.
Oral consumption of dronabinol, compared to inhaled THC, may result in psychoactive effects that are delayed and stronger with an increased risk of experiencing serious adverse events.
But then they quickly add:
When dronabinol (THC) is smoked, the drug rapidly reaches the brain and psychoactive effects are felt within minutes of inhalation, which allows the subject to control the dose more readily.
The DEA is full of contradictory things but this just about takes the cake. Using a substance via oral methods pose issues that smoking or inhalation don’t and is better at controlling the dose. However they are afraid that people will do just that. Take this new drug and turn it into something they can control the dose better.
There is a time that this potential rule can be commented on, see the link at the top of the page to the federal register.
On March 10th the Congressional Research Service released it’s report on “The Marijuana Policy Gap and the Path Forward”
“Given the current marijuana policy gap between the federal government and many of the states, there are a number of issues that Congress may address. These include, but are not limited to, issues surrounding availability of financial services for marijuana businesses, federal tax treatment, oversight of federal law enforcement, allowance of states to implement medical marijuana laws and involvement of federal health care workers, and consideration of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the CSA. The marijuana policy gap has widened each year for some time. It has only been a few years since states began to legalize recreational marijuana, but over 20 years since they began to legalize medical marijuana. In addressing state – level legalization efforts and considering marijuana’s current placement on Schedule I, Congress could take one of several routes. It could elect to take no action, thereby upholding the federal government’s current marijuana policy. It may also decide that the CSA must be enforced in states and not allow them to implement conflicting laws on marijuana. Alternatively, Congress could choose to reevaluate marijuana’s placement as a Schedule I controlled substance.”
Here is the document – R44782
And a link to the CRS report
It is going largely unknown, unreported and ignored that the World Health Organization (WHO) the arm of the UN that controls the schedule of substances is looking at Cannabis.
As part of the UN the US and the FDA is looking for input from people and organizations about the changes and surprisingly no one is commenting. The comment period ends Feb 10th at midnight eastern time and so far they have gotten 3 comments.
3 comments, that is really pretty sad considering a change in the scheduling of Cannabis on an international level could lead to changes in scheduling on a federal level here in the US.
The United States is also a party to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961 Single Convention). The Secretary of State has received a notification from the Secretary-General regarding two substances to be considered for control under this convention. The CSA does not require HHS to publish a summary of such information in the Federal Register. Nevertheless, in an effort to provide interested and affected persons an opportunity to submit comments regarding the WHO recommendations for narcotic drugs, the notification regarding these substances is also included in this Federal Register notice. The comments will be shared with other relevant Agencies to assist the Secretary of State in formulating the position of the United States on the control of these substances. The HHS recommendations are not binding on the representative of the United States in discussions and negotiations relating to the proposal regarding control of substances under the 1961 Single Convention.
Of the substances being considered
The Committee recommended that a specific ECDD meeting dedicated to cannabis and its component substances should be held within the next eighteen months from the 38th meeting, and will carry out pre-reviews for the following substances:
—Cannabis plant and cannabis resin;
—Extracts and tinctures of cannabis;
—Stereoisomers of THC.
The recommendations and the assessments and findings on which they are based are set out in detail in the Report of the 38th Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, which is the Committee that advises me on these issues. An extract of the Committee’s Report is attached in Annex 1 to this letter.
Here is a copy of the WHO Review Report – WHO-cannabis-report
If anyone has been watching the VA website they had a report about the medical use of Cannabis for Pain and PTSD. The document has not been available for the public but through the power of the Freedom of Information Act we were able to get a copy.
This 124 page, well researched document is probably one of the most extensive looks at Cannabis done by a Government agency. It not only looks at the use of Cannabis for Pain and PTSD but also looks at the harms of Cannabis use.
While they didn’t find much quality research on the medical use of Cannabis for Pain or PTSD they did find a lot of information. The research they cite from all kinds of sources indicate that the lack of research is limiting their ability to make quality decisions on Cannabis for Medicine or Safety.
Although cannabis is increasingly available for medical and recreational use, there is very little methodologically rigorous evidence examining its effects in patients with chronic pain or PTSD. There is limited evidence that cannabis may be helpful in improving pain and spasticity in selected populations with MS, but there is insufficient evidence in other populations. There is insufficient evidence examining the effects of cannabis in PTSD populations. Cannabis is associated with an increased risk of short-term adverse effects, but data on its effects on long- term physical health vary; harms in older patients or those with multiple comorbidities have not been studied. Cannabis has been associated with short-term cognitive impairment and potentially serious mental health adverse effects such as psychotic symptoms, though the absolute risk and application specifically to chronic pain and PTSD populations are uncertain.
You can get the entire document here at this link – Benefits and harms of cannabis in chronic pain or post traumatic stree disorder
I’m sorry but the DEA/DOJ are not the problem with Cannabis legalization on a federal level or even Scheduling of Cannabis. The real problem is with HHS, FDA, NIDA and other “Medical” organizations that continue to feed DEA/DOJ faulty information.
While I’m not going to say that the DEA doesn’t want to have Cannabis in Schedule I for ease of prosecution, they are not to blame for failed Petitions. The problem is in the petition process. First the DEA is required to ask the FDA, NIH for a recommendation. Well they both ask NIDA to give them the information and everyone knows that NIDA is opposed to Cannabis.
NIDA provides FDA and NIH with information about Cannabis and all it’s “Hazards”. Rather than do a real investigation like it’s own PubMed and other resources it barfs up NIDA information and gives it to the DEA.
DEA then takes that information and says sorry not going to change anything.
There is also the fact that the petitions in the past 6-7 years have been faulty in their filing and haven’t been really challenged in court.
HIA has offered DEA resistance and met with success. ASA is currently suing the DEA for it’s compliance with the little known “INFORMATION QUALITY ACT”. This requires agencies to provide Quality Information when they give it out. Frankly NIH, NIDA and any other agency that has information opposing Cannabis should be challenged.
If your not following on social media NIH, FDA, and NIDA then you should be:
Everyone is talking about how terrible it was of the DEA to create a number for Cannabis Extracts. Well there is an upside to the situation.
All the attention is being made to the single mention of CBD being made a Schedule I substance. Nothing is further from the truth, CBD is not a scheduled substance by the federal government. NO Cannabinoid, with exception to THC, is a controlled substance according to the federal government.
What has been missed by everyone is the DEA’s statement about CBD extracted from the Cannabis Plant. That they see no way for it to be extracted without extracting other Cannabinoids like THC which is a scheduled substance. So there is no change in the stance of the DEA, there has actually been clarification that mixtures of CBD that contain THC and are extracted from the cannabis plants are extracts, those without are not.
What people have been missing is the opportunity to petition the DEA to De-schedule Extracts. As extracts now have their own ID number they can be scheduled differently than Cannabis just as THC is scheduled differently.
The science is clear and evident that Extracts are by far safer than raw cannabis. It’s easier to maintain dosage and test lots. You can take a ton of cannabis and create and extract, test that batch for purity and level of cannabinoids and have a uniform product. Unlike a plant which changes from plant to plant, even if cloned, extracts offer uniformity which is what the FDA likes.
Extracts make sense and it makes sense to De-schedule them or Re-schedule them into another schedule like THC has.