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Question: What is the Federal Controlled Substance Act (CSA) and the Schedule I designation of marijuana cannabis?

Posted by David Holland | Apr 25, 2021 | 0 Comments


The Controlled Substances Act of 197021 U.S.C. §801-971.

            DRUG SCHEDULING CLASSIFICATIONS - The CSA classifies drugs into Schedules I through V.

A drug is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance when: (i) the drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse; (ii) the drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States; and (iii) there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision. See 21 U.S.C. §812(b)(1)(A)-(C).

            To be classified on one of the other schedules, a drug must have a “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Id. § 812(b)(2)-(5).

            MARIJUANA DESIGNATED SCHEDULE I - The CSA lists marijuana in Schedule I. As a consequence of marijuana's classification in Schedule I, the CSA criminalizes marijuana's use and possession.

Krumm v. Holder 2009 WL 1563381, 1 (D.N.M.,2009)

Schedule I drugs may be obtained and used lawfully only by doctors who submit a detailed research protocol for approval by the Food and Drug Administration and who agree to abide by strict record keeping and storage rules. See 21 C.F.R. §§ 1301.33, 1301.42.  Presently, only the University of Mississippi has a federally sanctioned medical grow facility and only a handful of patients still receive.

  1. Nixon signs CSA into law with marijuana placed in Schedule I.
  2. Marijuana originally to be temporarily designated in Schedule I substance subject to reclassification after further studies by FDA

            -The Schaeffer Report commissioned by Nixon found that cannabis did not belong in Schedule I.

About the Author

David Holland

As Executive Director of Empire State NORML and President of the New York City Cannabis Industry Association, David has been a leading advocate in the cannabis space for over 20 years. He has represented clients in marijuana related proceedings everywhere from traffic court to the United States Supreme Court, and he helped obtain clemency for five elderly prisoners servicing life without parole for marijuana. David also handles complex civil and criminal litigation in other areas including employment, First Amendment, and business.


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