Session: 2023-2024

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

SB 959 (PN 1168) would permit the automatic scheduling and rescheduling of substances under Pennsylvania's drug code to align with federal drug schedules. Controlled substances in the Commonwealth would therefore follow the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) scheduling of controlled substances. The ACLU-PA would have been neutral on this stand-alone change. However, SB 959 not only fails to provide for a similar process to deschedule or lower the schedule of a substance if/when its federal schedule changes, but it also eliminates the current ability for the PA Secretary of Health to make such an adjustment.

Specifically, SB 959 strikes this provision under Section 3 (c)(1): "[I]f the secretary finds that the health and safety of the public will not be adversely affected, the secretary may: (1) Reschedule any controlled substance to coincide with Federal law [...]. The secretary shall publish a notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin of the rescheduling of a controlled substance under this clause. The rescheduling of the controlled substance to a higher schedule may not take effect earlier than thirty days after publication of the notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. The rescheduling of a controlled substance to a lower schedule may take effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin."

Eliminating the first part of Section 3 (c)(1) is understandable, since it would be duplicative in light of the proposed language under SB 959. But striking the last portion of that section eliminates the ability to lower the schedule of a substance—permission which SB 959 does not include in its new language. 

Check the bill's status here.


Senator Devlin Robinson



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