A Matter of Substantial Discretion: A Recent Rift between DEA and Its ALJs Could Significantly Impact Registrants

November 1, 2015 Download PDF

The Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and regulations promulgated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provide for the adjudication of administrative actions involving entities registered to handle controlled substances.

DEA annually adjudicates dozens of matters, the majority of which involve determining whether a party should be authorized to obtain or maintain a DEA registration for the handling of controlled substances.

This article summarizes the administrative law principles involved, as well as evaluates the potential impact the agency’s evolving view of its own fact finding powers may have on a DEA registrant’s decision to pursue administrative hearings.