Over the last twenty-years, public support for legalizing medical and recreational marijuana use has increased substantially, leading to a growing number of states enacting marijuana laws that clash with federal drug law. Increasing opposition to federal marijuana prohibition has become a popular topic of debate across America. An aspect of the marijuana debate of lesser notoriety however, is the multiple failed efforts to change the Schedule I status of marijuana through the drug classification provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).
This note looks at that process with a narrow focus on the classification scheme for determining the abuse potential of a drug. Part I briefly discusses the CSA’s classification of drugs and describes the evidence the DEA relies on for assessing AP of a drug. Part II then presents a more in depth evaluation of this evidence and argues that removal of marijuana from the CSA is proper, as it does not meet the requirements for inclusion in any of the schedules.