Federal Court Affirms Marijuana Schedule I Classification

To say that our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers were disappointed at the recent appellate court ruling in our nation’s capitol would be an understatement. dutchweed1.jpg

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has affirmed the status quo of marijuana being not only illegal, but a highly dangerous and addictive drug with no accepted medicinal uses or benefits. That means that for the time being according to federal law, it will remain a Schedule I narcotic – meaning the federal government considers it as perilous as heroin and even worse than cocaine or methamphetamine.

Americans for Safe Access, which brought the appeal before the court, said it was obvious that federal drug officials had a deep-seeded bias with regard to marijuana that prompted them to blatantly ignore any benefits and further to exaggerate the perceived dangers. The group argued that it was time for both officials and the court to re-examine the evidence – which overwhelmingly falls in favor of the medicine.

It alleviates pain for those who suffer debilitating conditions. It’s been known to reduce seizures and behavioral outbursts in ailing children. It stimulates the appetite of people battling cancer.

However, the appellate panel of three justices instead were swayed by federal government health witnesses, who testified that they would need to see more evidence before they would consider reclassifying the drug. They said that establishment of a drug for acceptable medical use would require that its effectiveness be tested in numerous studies involving large numbers of patients in environments that were well-designed, well-conducted, well-controlled and well-documented. The Drug Enforcement Administration asserted such research was not available (which is flat-out false), but this was the basis upon which the court chose to found its opinion.

The ruling was split 2-1.

Interestingly, the justices conceded that they did not dispute the fact that marijuana could indeed have some medical benefits. However, they hadn’t seen enough of those large-scale to convince them to overrule the DEA. (Nevermind the fact that a Schedule I classification means there is NO acceptable medical use.)

The judges appear to discount the fact that the ASA presented evidence of more than 200 peer-reviewed studies that meet the standards the justices mentioned.

Plus, more than 1 million people in this country are prescribed the drug by medical doctors for the purpose of alleviating a wide range of ailments. In all, 20 states and the District of Columbia have approved the drug for medical purposes.

But that’s apparently not enough evidence? Why would people – doctors, lawyers, public officials, teachers, police officers and other professionals – be willing to fight so vigorously and passionately if this drug had no real substantive medicinal value?

ASA has said it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, and said it also intends to request hearings in Congress.

You may recall that last month, President Barack Obama as well as some Democratic senators, indicated they would be prepared to reconsider federal laws that impose criminal sanctions on individuals possessing a small amount of the drug. Both Washington and Colorado have allowed that up to an ounce of the drug for personal use may be kept at a person’s home.

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

Additional Resources:
Marijuana still a drug with no accepted medical use, court says, Jan. 22, 2013, By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
More Blog Entries:
Obama Administration Responds to Marijuana Petition, Jan. 14, 2013, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyer Blog