Letter to Office of Cannabis Management in Minnesota

I have sent the following letter to the Office of Cannabis Management asking about compliance with Federal Drug Laws.

To: Minnesota Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)

St Paul, MN


Charlene Briner, Interim Director

Eric Taubel, General Council

Katie Knutson, Chief of Staff

Max Zappia, Chief Regulatory Officer





July 10, 2024

Subj:  Federal Drug Law Compliance

I would like to make sure that this program has secured an exemption from the DEA/DOJ as allowed in Federal Drug Law.

As I am making an application for a Microbusiness license under the OCM; and I have been approved through the Social Equity Inclusion program to apply for said license application lottery; I have a Minnesota Medical Cannabis Card which I am afraid to use because that would be a violation of federal law; and I am a registered caregiver for a Medical Cannabis Patient registered under the program;  I need to know that this program will be legal under Federal Law.

Without an exemption for the users there can be no registration by the producers and distributors with the DEA which is required under 21 U.S.C. § 822, and 21 U.S.C. §1301.11(a); without registration by the DEA those that Produce, Distribute or otherwise possess Cannabis are Federal Criminals.

Without an exemption there are lots of other Federal implications, from taxes to schools, housing, medical care, all are under threat to the people of Minnesota. All of these problems disappear with an exemption by the DEA for the users.

The State of Minnesota needs to tell the DEA that we have created an exempt class of people with regards to Cannabis and we seek an exemption for this class of people.

There is an exemption in federal law to create classes of people who are then exempt under Federal Law, specifically, under 21 U.S.C. § 822(d) there is statutory exemption language which is then further covered, by regulations, under 21 C.F.R. § 1307.03 and as provided in sections:  21 U.S.C. § 822(c)(3) , 21 U.S.C. § 802(27)

21 U.S.C. § 822(d) and 21 C.F.R. § 1307.03, § 1307.31 all show the DEA can and does grant exemptions for controlled substances.

21 U.S.C.  § 822(d) is where the authority to grant exemptions comes from, as cited in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente União do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418, 432 (2006).

21 C.F.R. § 1307.03 is where an application for an exemption can be found.

21 C.F.R. § 1307.31 Is an exemption for persons, the Native American Church members, to use Peyote.  It also states the suppliers and producers must obtain DEA registration.

In the UDV case, the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas, mentions 21 U.S.C. § 822(d) as giving DEA authority to grant exemptions.


21 U.S.C.  § 903 creates a presumption that the DEA must give deference to state sovereignty if possible. This is what is sometimes referred to as the anti-preemption clause, because it tends to show some deference to state sovereignty.

Applying Schedule I or III to state cannabis programs is federal agency overreach, because the agency is not required by the CSA to apply Schedule I or III in this situation they can give an exemption.

There could not be a stronger argument for exemption than state sovereignty.

An exemption for the users, then registration with DEA of the producers and distributors’, would resolve the conflict between state and federal drug and other laws.

I await a quick reply.

John Birrenbach


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