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Rep. Clyde Presses DEA Administrator on Marijuana Reclassification

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congressman Andrew Clyde (GA-09) sent a letter to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Anne Milgram requesting information on the ongoing marijuana reclassification formal rulemaking process after Milgram refused to answer questions about the rescheduling during a recent Fiscal Year 2025 (FY25) budget hearing.


On May 7th, Administrator Milgram appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to discuss the DEA’s budget requests for FY25. During the hearing, Milgram repeatedly refused to answer Rep. Clyde’s questions about the Biden Administration’s plan to reclassify marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III.


Watch the full exchange HERE

In his letter, Rep. Clyde notes Administrator Milgram’s refusal to answer his questions and her legal justification for doing so.


During this year’s DEA budget hearing, you repeatedly refused to answer any questions related to the ongoing marijuana reclassification formal rulemaking process from multiple members of the subcommittee, stating that you had been advised it would be ‘inappropriate’ to respond to such questions given your role in the process, and you even cited the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) as a legal justification for not responding to these questions.” 


The Congressman then explains why Milgram is legally required to answer questions from Congress and how her interpretation of the APA is incorrect.


Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), any drug classification is required to go through the formal rulemaking process outlined in the Administrative Procedure Act. The APA does provide for certain restrictions on ex parte communications by any person involved in the formal rulemaking process, which would include the DEA Administrator during a formal rulemaking process for drug classification under the CSA. However, the APA, under the same section that provides for restrictions on ex parte communications, explicitly provides an exemption for Congress, stating: ‘This subsection does not constitute authority to withhold information from Congress.’


In fact, the Department of Justice has repeatedly interpreted a nearly identical provision found in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to mean that information subject to the previously described exemption cannot be withheld from Congress through its committee structure: ‘it should first determine whether it is a duly authorized request on behalf of Congress through a legislative committee or subcommittee. If so, then the request falls within subsection (c) of the FOIA and only a specially authorized claim of executive privilege could be interposed to justify nondisclosure.’


Testimony in front of the House Committee on Appropriations, Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Subcommittee clearly falls under the exemption for Congress previously described according to the Department of Justice’s own interpretation of the identical provision under FOIA. Therefore, you were legally compelled to testify and answer questions related to marijuana reclassification despite your refusal and your incorrect legal interpretation of the APA.”


In closing, Rep. Clyde demands answers to questions asked by members during the hearing as well as Questions for the Record (QFR) related to marijuana reclassification.


“Accordingly, we expect to receive answers to the questions asked by members during the hearing. In addition, as Questions for the Record (QFR) are an extension of the subcommittee hearing – therefore falling under the exemption of the APA previously detailed – we additionally expect to receive answers to any questions in the FY25 budget hearing QFRs related to marijuana classification.”


Additionally, in light of the DEA’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on rescheduling marijuana, Rep. Clyde requests further information — including why Administrator Milgram did not sign the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.


Read the full letter HERE.

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