Historic Legal Review of Federal Marijuana Classification Set

An historic medical marijuana lawsuit is set to be heard by justices with the U.S. Court of Appeal for the D.C. Circuit this month. The plaintiff’s argument strikes at the heart of the federal government’s classification of marijuana as an illegitimate and illegal substance, regardless of circumstance. rolledcigarette.jpg

Our Los Angeles medical marijuana lawyers are closely following the case, as the resulting decision could have broad implications for the federal government in its attacks on legal marijuana dispensaries and patients throughout the country.

The case has been brought by a Virginia man who was serving in the U.S. Air Force when he suffered a serious car accident. The crash left him with permanently disabled with severe and chronic pain.

At first, he was given a potent cocktail of powerful prescription drugs.

But several years later, while overseas, he obtained a prescription for medical marijuana. Finally, he found relief.

This should have been the end of the story, but then the Department of Veterans’ Affairs learned of his prescription, they mandated that he undergo a drug test, which he refused. Subsequently, the government denied him access to further treatment. Now, he’s fighting back.

Justifying the government’s stance as marijuana being a dangerous drug with no medical benefit is the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana under federal law is classified as a Schedule I narcotic.This is the law upon which federal authorities have launched countless attacks on law-abiding citizens and dispensaries that use and provide medical marijuana for a range of ailments.

Despite this classification, a number of prominent physicians’ and medical groups affirm the use of marijuana for medical treatment. Among these are the American College of Physicians, the American Medical Association, the Federation of American Scientists, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Nurses Association.

The fight for legitimacy has been protracted, complex and resulted in numerous conflicting rulings at the state level. This will mark the first time the courts will hear scientific evidence as to the medical benefits of marijuana. The chief counsel for the Americans for Safe Access advocacy group has been quoted as saying that this is a rare opportunity to address the political motivations behind the policy decisions regarding medical marijuana.

This case is actually 10 years in the making. That’s when the petition was first filed by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis. Numerous scientific studies have concluded that medical marijuana is an effective form of treatment for a wide range of medical conditions. Patients coping with everything from cancer to AIDS to multiple sclerosis to chronic pain have reported an easing of their symptoms from use of the drug. In fact, many doctors have indicated its an effective and often preferable form of treatment in lieu of a combination of other powerful drugs.

As the disabled Air Force veteran has said, the classification of marijuana at the federal level has caused himself and fellow patients to suffer needlessly. They’ve been hauled off to prison, denied work, refused housing, barred from owning a firearm and removed from vital organ transplant lists.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is countering the claims by saying that there are rigorous scientific elements required to qualify marijuana as a legitimate medical drug. They are relying on research by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which has stated that marijuana doesn’t have any valid use for any medical condition.

But as the mountain of evidence shows, this is clearly not true.

Our medical marijuana lawyers are looking forward to a impartial review of the matter by the courts, and will be closely following the outcome.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
Medical marijuana advocates hope lawsuit relaxes US drugs policy, Oct. 7, 2012 By Karen McVeigh, The Guardian
More Blog Entries:
Fair Regulation Was Never Resisted by Legitimate Dispensaries and Patients, Oct. 11, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog