[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 28 (Tuesday, February 11, 1997)]
[Pages 6164-6166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-3334]

                                                Federal Register

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains documents other than rules 
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appearing in this section.


Federal Register / Vol. 62, No. 28 / Tuesday, February 11, 1997 / 

[[Page 6164]]


Office of National Drug Control Policy

Administration Response to Arizona Proposition 200 and California 
Proposition 215

AGENCY: Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the 

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice lists the Federal government response to the 
recent passage of propositions which make dangerous drugs more 
available in California and Arizona. These measures pose a threat to 
the National Drug Control Strategy goal of reducing drug abuse in the 
United States. At the direction of the President, the Office of 
National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) developed a coordinated 
administration strategy to respond to the actions in Arizona and 
California with the other agencies of the Federal Government to 
minimize the tragedy of drug abuse in America.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Comments and questions regarding this 
notice should be directed to Mr. Dan Schecter, Office of Demand 
Reduction, ONDCP, Executive Office of the President, 750 17th Street 
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20503, (202) 395-6733.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A Federal interagency working group chaired 
by ONDCP met four times in November and December. In developing this 
strategy, the inter-agency group gave due consideration to two key 
principles: federal authority vis a vis that of the states, and the 
requirement to ensure American citizens are provided safe and effective 
medicine. The President has approved this strategy, and Federal drug 
control agencies will undertake the following coordinated courses of 

A. Objective 1--Maintain Effective Enforcement Efforts Within the 
Framework Created by the Federal Controlled Substances Act and the 
Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act

    Department of Justice's (DOJ) position is that a practitioner's 
action of recommending or prescribing Schedule I controlled substances 
is not consistent with the ``public interest'' (as that phrase is used 
in the federal Controlled Substances Act) and will lead to 
administrative action by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to 
revoke the practitioner's registration.
    DOJ and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will send a 
letter to national, state, and local practitioner associations and 
licensing boards which states unequivocally that DEA will seek to 
revoke the DEA registrations of physicians who recommend or prescribe 
Schedule I controlled substances. This letter will outline the 
authority of the Inspector General for HHS to exclude specified 
individuals or entities from participation in the Medicare and Medicaid 
    DOJ will continue existing enforcement programs using the following 
criteria: (a) the absence of a bona fide doctor-patient relationship; 
(b) a high volume of prescriptions or recommendations of Schedule I 
controlled substances; (c) the accumulation of significant profits or 
assets from the prescription or recommendation of Schedule I controlled 
substances; (d) Schedule I controlled substances being provided to 
minors; and/or (e) special circumstances, such as when death or serious 
bodily injury results from drugged driving. The five U.S. Attorneys in 
California and Arizona will continue to review cases for prosecution 
using these criteria.
    DEA will adopt seizures of Schedule I controlled substances made by 
state and local law enforcement officials following an arrest where 
state and local prosecutors must decline prosecution because of the 
Propositions. Once in DEA's possession the drugs can be summarily 
forfeited and destroyed by DEA. State and local law enforcement 
officials will be encouraged to continue to execute state law to the 
fullest extent by having officers continue to make arrests and seizures 
under state law, leaving defendants to raise the medical use provisions 
of the Propositions only as a defense to state prosecution.
    Department of the Treasury (Treasury) and the Customs Service will 
continue to protect the nation's borders and take strong and 
appropriate enforcement action against imported or exported marijuana 
and other illegal drugs. The Customs Service will continue to: (a) 
seize unlawfully imported or exported marijuana and other illegal 
drugs; (b) assess civil penalties against persons violating federal 
drug laws; (c) seize conveyances facilitating the illegal import or 
export of marijuana and other illegal drugs; and (d) arrest persons 
committing Federal drug offenses and refer cases for prosecution to the 
appropriate Federal or state prosecutor.
    Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will continue the 
enforcement of existing Federal tax laws which discourage illegal drug 
    IRS will enforce existing Federal tax law as it relates to the 
requirement to report gross income from whatever source derived, 
including income from activities prohibited under Federal or state law.
    Treasury will recommend that the IRS issue a revenue ruling, to the 
extent permissible under existing law, that would deny a medical 
expense deduction for amounts expended for illegal operations or 
treatments and for drugs, including Schedule I controlled substances, 
that are illegally procured under Federal or state law.
    IRS will enforce existing Federal tax law as it relates to the 
disallowance of expenditures in connection with the illegal sale of 
drugs. To the extent that state laws result in efforts to conduct sales 
of controlled substances prohibited by Federal law, the IRS will 
disallow expenditures in connection with such sales to the fullest 
extent permissible under existing Federal tax law.
    U.S. Postal Service will continue to pursue aggressively the 
detection and seizure of Schedule I controlled substances mailed 
through the US mails, particularly in California and Arizona, and the 
arrest of those using the mail to distribute Schedule I controlled 
    DEA together with other Federal, state and local law enforcement 
agencies will work with private mail, parcel and freight services to 
ensure continuing compliance with internal company

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policies dictating that these companies refuse to accept for shipment 
Schedule I controlled substances and that they notify law enforcement 
officials of such activities. Federal investigations and prosecutions 
will be instituted consistent with appropriate criteria.

B. Objective 2--Ensure the Integrity of the Medical-Scientific 
Process by Which Substances are Approved as Safe and Effective 
Medicines in Order to Protect Public Health

    The Controlled Substances Act embodies the conclusion of the 
Congress, affirmed by DEA and HHS, that marijuana, as a Schedule I 
drug, has ``high potential for abuse'' and ``no currently accepted 
medical use in treatment in the United States.'' To protect the public 
health, all evaluations of the medical usefulness of any controlled 
substance should be conducted through the Congressionally established 
research and approval process managed by the National Institutes of 
Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Currently 
there are a few patients who receive marijuana through FDA approved 
    HHS to ensure the continued protection of the public health will: 
(a) examine all medical and scientific evidence relevant to the 
perceived medical usefulness of marijuana; (b) identify gaps in 
knowledge and research regarding the health effects of marijuana; (c) 
determine whether further research or scientific evaluation could 
answer these questions; and (d) determine how that research could be 
designed and conducted to yield scientifically useful results.
    HHS will undertake discussions with medical organizations 
throughout the nation: (a) to address the ``compassionate use'' 
message; and (b) to educate medical and public health professionals by 
underscoring the dangers of smoked marijuana and explaining the views 
of NIH that a variety of approved medications are clinically proven to 
be safe and effective in treating the illnesses for which marijuana is 
purported to provide relief, such as pain, nausea, wasting syndrome, 
multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.

C. Objective 3--Preserve Federal Drug-Free Workplace and Safety 

    Transportation Workers: Department of Transportation (DOT) has 
issued a formal advisory to the transportation industry that safety-
sensitive transportation workers who test positive under the Federally-
required drug testing program may not under any circumstance use state 
law as a legitimate medical explanation for the presence of prohibited 
drugs. DOT is encouraging private employers to follow its example.
    General Contractors and Grantees: Under the Drug-Free Workplace 
Act, the recipients of Federal grants or contracts must have policies 
that prohibit the use of illegal drugs. Each Federal agency will issue 
a notice to its grantees and contractors to remind them: (a) of their 
responsibilities; (b) that any use of marijuana or other Schedule I 
controlled substances remains a prohibited activity; and (c) that the 
failure to comply with this prohibition will make the grantee or 
contractor subject to the loss of eligibility to receive Federal grants 
and contracts. Further, Federal agencies will increase their efforts to 
monitor compliance with the provisions of the Act, and to institute 
suspension or debarment actions against violators--with special 
priority given to states enacting drug medicalization measures.
    Federal Civilian Employees: HHS will issue policy guidance to all 
130 Federal Agency Drug-Free Workplace program coordinators, the 72 
laboratories certified by HHS to conduct drug tests, and trade 
publications that reach medical review officers. This policy guidance 
states that the Propositions do not change the requirements of the 
Federal Drug-Free Workplace Program, which will continue to be fully 
enforced for federal civilian employees nationwide. Medical Review 
Officers will not accept physician recommendations for Schedule I 
substances as a legitimate explanation for a positive drug test.
    Department of Defense (DOD) and the Military Services: DOD will 
instruct civilian employees and military personnel in the active, 
reserve and National Guard components, that DOD is a drug-free 
organization, a fact that is not changed by the Propositions. The 
requirement that all DOD contractors maintain drug-free workplaces will 
continue to be enforced.
    Nuclear Industry Workers: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will 
continue to demand drug-free employees in the nuclear power industry, 
and will develop a formal advisory to emphasize that its drug free 
workplace regulations continue to apply.
    Public Housing: The Propositions will not affect the Department of 
Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) continued aggressive execution of 
the ``One Strike and You're Out'' policy to improve the safety and 
security of our nation's public housing developments. HUD's principal 
tool for implementing ``One Strike'' will be the systematic evaluation 
of public housing agencies screening and evictions efforts through the 
Public Housing Management Assessment Program. This program will give 
HUD a standard measurement of the progress of all public housing 
authorities in developing effective law enforcement, screening, and 
occupancy policies to reduce the level of drug use, crime, and drug 
distribution and sales in their communities.
    Safe Work Places: Department of Labor (DOL) will continue to 
implement its Working Partners Initiative, providing information to 
small businesses about workplace substance abuse prevention programs, 
focusing specific attention on trade and business organizations located 
in California and Arizona. DOL will accelerate its effort to post its 
updated Substance Abuse Information Database (SAID) on the Internet. 
SAID will provide information to businesses about workplace substance 
abuse and how to establish workplace substance abuse prevention 
programs. DOL will give priority to its efforts in California and 
    DOL's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will 
send letters to the California and Arizona Occupational Safety and 
Health Administrations reiterating the dangers of drugs in the 
workplace and providing information on programs to help employers 
address these problems.
    DOL's Mine Safety and Health Administration will continue to 
strictly enforce the prohibition on the use of alcohol and illegal 
drugs notwithstanding these Propositions.

D. Objective 4--Protect Children from Increased Marijuana 
Availability and Use

    HHS and the Department of Education will educate the public in both 
Arizona and California about the real and proven dangers of smoking 
marijuana. A message will be tailored for preteens, teens, parents, 
educators, and medical professionals. Research demonstrates that, 
marijuana: (a) harms the brain, heart, lungs, and immune system; and 
(b) limits learning, memory, perception, judgment, and the ability to 
drive a motor vehicle. In addition, research shows that marijuana smoke 
typically contains over 400 carcinogenic compounds and may be 
addictive. The message will remind the public there is no medical use 
for smoked marijuana and will educate the public about strategies to 
prevent marijuana use. The message will also remind the public that the 
production, sale, and distribution of marijuana for medical uses not 
approved by DEA violates the

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Controlled Substances Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
    HHS will analyze all available data on marijuana use, expand 
ongoing surveys to determine current levels of marijuana use in 
California and Arizona, and track changes in marijuana use in those 
    HHS will develop the survey capacity to assess trends in drug use 
in all states on a state-by-state basis.
    The Department of Education (Education) will use provisions of the 
Safe and Drug Free Schools Act to reinforce the message to all local 
education agencies receiving Federal Safe and Drug Free School funds 
that any drug possession or use will not be tolerated in schools. This 
affects approximately 95% of school districts. Notwithstanding the 
passage of the two Propositions, local education agencies must continue 
to: (a) develop programs which prevent the use, possession, and 
distribution of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs by students; (b) 
develop programs which prevent the illegal use, possession, and 
distribution of such substances by school employees; and (c) ensure 
that programs supported by and with Federal Safe and Drug Free Schools 
funds convey the message that the illegal use of alcohol and other 
drugs, including marijuana, is wrong and harmful.
    Education will review with educators in Arizona and California the 
effect Propositions 200 and 215 will have on drug use by students. They 
will also communicate nationally with school superintendents, 
administrators, principals, boards of education, and PTAs about the 
Arizona and California Propositions and the implications for their 
    Education will develop a model policy to confront ``medical 
marijuana'' use in schools and outline actions educators can take to 
prevent illicit drugs from coming into schools.
    Education will develop model drug prevention programs to discourage 
marijuana use. These models will be disseminated to the states at a 
Spring 1997 conference.
    ONDCP and DOT will provide recommendations pursuant to the October 
19, 1996 Presidential directive to deter teen drug use and drugged 
driving through pre-license drug testing, strengthened law enforcement 
and other means. The recommendations will underscore the point that the 
use of marijuana for any reason endangers the health and safety of the 
    Legislative Enactments: ONDCP, HHS and DOJ will work with Congress 
to consider changes to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and the 
Controlled Substances Act, as appropriate, to limit the states'' 
ability to rely on these and similar medical use provisions. The 
Administration believes that working with Congress is the course of 
action that will affirm the national policy to control substances that 
have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The 
objective is to provide a uniform policy which preserves the integrity 
of the medical-scientific process by which substances are approved as 
safe and effective medicines. We will also consider additional steps, 
including conditioning Federal funds on compliance with the Controlled 
Substances Act and the National Drug Control Strategy.

    Signed at Washington, D.C. this 15th day of January, 1997.
Barry R. McCaffrey,
[FR Doc. 97-3334 Filed 2-10-97; 8:45 am]