DEA Rejects Judge’s Recommendation, Upholding Federal Marijuana Monopoly
On August 15, 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued its final order rejecting DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner’s 2007 recommendation that it would be in the public interest to grant University of Massachusetts, Amherst Prof. Lyle Craker a license to grow marijuana for federally regulated research. The rejection preserves the monopoly held by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on the supply of marijuana for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-regulated research.
ALJ Bittner issued her recommendation to license Prof. Craker on February 12, 2007, after extensive hearings. On January 14, 2009, almost two years later and six days before President Obama’s inauguration, DEA Acting Administrator Michelle Leonhart rejected the ALJ recommendation. In response, Prof. Craker’s lawyers filed a series of objections, which were denied in the final order. Prof. Craker’s only recourse is to appeal the DEA final ruling in the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.