October 23, 1992
Dear Mr. Olsen:
This is in response to your petition to reschedule marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. The crux of your petition is that marijuana itself need not have an accepted medical use in treatment in the United States if it is shown that marijuana is the source of an accepted and useful medication. To that end, you argue that marijuana should be rescheduled as a source of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol because dronabinol, the synthetic form of the same isomer, is controlled in Schedule II.
In a final rule published on May 13, 1986, then Administrator John C. Lawn placed a very specific substance, synthetic dronabinol in sesame oil and encapsulated in soft gelatin capsules, in Schedule II. Administrator Lawn's action did not involve the rescheduling of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol itself, nor did it include any form of dronabinol other than the synthetic. Accordingly, pursuant to 21 C.F.R. § 1308.44(c), your petition to reschedule marijuana is not accepted.
Since I am not accepting your petition on the grounds that dronabinol is a wholly synthetic substance, not obtained from marijuana, it is unnecessary for me to consider the broader question of whether the rescheduling of marijuana would be appropriate if accepted medications were indeed obtained from that source. As you are well aware, the issue of whether marijuana itself has any accepted medical use is pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. We are confident that the Court will find no merit in the petition and that it will affirm my ruling in that case.
Very truly yours,
Robert C. Bonner
Administrator of Drug Enforcement