Friday, June 5, 2015

Francis L.Young, DEA Administrative Law Judge

In 1970 marijuana became labeled as a Schedule 1 drug.(Source) In 1988 Francis L Young was the first judge to rule that marijuana should not have this classification. His ruling is consistent to the same effort in 2015 to reform marijuana laws.

In 1972 NORML petitioned the DEA on the ruling of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. They requested it be reclassified as a schedule 2 drug. Their goal was to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for therapeutic purposes. The Drug Enforcement Agency then began to stall for fourteen years before reluctantly holding public hearings.

Francis L. Young was one of the two DEA administrative judges chosen to rule on the public hearings. Young was hand picked as a judge for his conservative viewpoint. The judgment was based on 15 days of reviewing hundreds of documents from the DEA/NIDA against the benefits of marijuana. His conclusions came from the research found in the medical community using marijuana for treatments. He stated:

"Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man...Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record... The Administrator transfer marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II, to make it available as a legal medicine."
This monumental ruling was quickly squashed by DEA Director Judge Lawn. The Court of Appeals let Lawns ruling stand to keep cannabis a schedule 1 drug. Each succeeding director has held up this viewpoint for marijuana to be labeled a narcotic with no medicinal value. Judge Francis Young goes down as one of the first government official to acknowledge the beneficial use of medical marijuana.


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