June 14, 2024

How to provide comment for the DEA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding the rescheduling of marijuana 


Make your voice heard! You can have an impact on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s proposal to reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act by providing comment to the NPRM.

In this article Patrice Kelly, NDASA’s Senior Policy Executive Adviser, (on detail from the US Department of Transportation) offers the following recommendations and best practices for comment submission:

  • Do make your comment in your own voice, with your own wording and your own concerns!
  • Start with stating the docket number so they know where to file your comment: Docket No. DEA-1362.
  • Be respectful in the tone of your comments. You can disagree and be passionate without attacking the staff who will be reading your comments. Chances are that the staff who read your comments agree with you and you are giving them information they can use for a better final rule.
  • Explain who you are and what your interests in this rulemaking are for example:
    • Are you filing comments as an individual with a story to tell – loss of family, friend, colleague, etc. to addiction or marijuana-related accident?
    • Are you a small company (50 or fewer employees) or a large one?
    • Let them know you are involved in transportation safety, and you are concerned about the unintended consequences that will happen if marijuana moves to Schedule III.
  • Pick specific issues of concern and explain why these are important. See examples of issues of concern in “Issues in the NPRM”. Please do not attach NDASA’s document to your comments. It is available for reference purposes only to assist NDASA members.
  • Do not “shotgun” your comments. Present them in a logical order. The NPRM provides headings and subheadings. It’s a good idea to reference the headings and/or subheadings, so the staff reading and summarizing your comments know how to categorize and consider what you are saying. The “Issues in the NPRM” document is arranged in order of how the points, and under what categories statements by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) were made.
  • Normally, you would look at other comments in Docket No. DEA-1362 to see if you want to point out any inconsistencies. NOTE: In this case, we would not recommend doing this as there are already almost 15,000 comments filed – many of which do not accurately reflect the intentions of the NPRM or its content.
  • Explain what impact the rule would have on your business if it were to take effect. Provide details and examples as well as actual cost numbers. Be as specific as possible. Consider your customers, company policies and workplace safety in your explanation.
  • Point out any discrepancies you see between the agency’s description of how the rule will work and the practical impact based on your knowledge of how your business or industry operates in the real world.
  • Share your professional knowledge and data.
  • Make clear requests or recommendations to improve the proposed rule
  • Don’t file a comment that is a form letter. Federal agencies will read the first one and then create a pile of them. hat guarantees that your individual concerns will NOT be addressed.

Submit your comments BEFORE JULY 22, 2024.

See the sample format for comments below.

To ensure proper handling of comments, write the words: ‘‘Docket No. DEA–1362’’ on all correspondence, including any attachments.

DOJ encourages that all comments be submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal, which provides the ability to type short comments directly into the comment field on the web page or to attach a file for lengthier comments.

Please go to www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions at that site for submitting comments. Upon completion of your submission, you will receive a Comment Tracking Number for your comment. Submitted comments are not instantaneously available for public view on www.regulations.gov. Just know that if you have received a Comment Tracking Number, your comment has been successfully submitted and there is no need to resubmit the same comment.

The electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept comments after 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 22, 2024.

Paper comments that duplicate electronic submissions are not necessary and are discouraged. To mail a paper comment in lieu of submitting a comment electronically, send it via regular or express mail to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DPW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

This is a process unique to the DEA. It is a legal and factual “trial” by an Administrative Law Judge who will render a decision. There will be expert witnesses, submission of documentary evidence, and cross-examination. NDASA will request a hearing, so you do not need to request your own. If you want a copy of NDASA’s hearing request, please contact Jo McGuire.]

All requests for a hearing and waivers, together with a written statement of position on the matters of fact and law asserted in the hearing, must be filed with the DEA, NO LATER THAN JUNE 20, 2024, such requests must be sent to: Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Administrator, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152.

For informational purposes, a courtesy copy of requests for hearing and waivers should also be sent to: (1) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: Hearing Clerk/OALJ, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152; and (2) Drug Enforcement Administration, Attn: DEA Federal Register Representative/DPW, 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, Virginia 22152. If you are interested in learning more about this process, see the NPRM at 99 FR 44598 (May 21, 2024).