Medical Marijuana Lawsuit Headed to Federal Court to Challenge Schedule I Status
|Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012 | ProCon.org | MORE HEADLINES|
"Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court," said ASA chief counsel Joe Elford. "This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana's medical efficacy. What's at stake in this case is nothing less than our country's scientific integrity and the imminent needs of millions of patients."
Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, the United States federal government has the authority to regulate the manufacture, importation, possession, use, and distribution of drugs through a scheduling, or classification system. Marijuana (along with LSD, heroin, and other substances) is listed under the most restrictive Schedule I, which is reserved for drugs that "have a high potential for abuse, have no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision."
Cocaine is listed in Schedule II, and Marinol (a synthetic form of the active ingredient THC in marijuana) has been classified in Schedule III.
The ASA appeal brief states that the federal government "has acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its efforts to deny marijuana to millions of patients throughout the United States." The brief further asserts that the DEA has "no license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case."
Oral arguments reviewing the scientific evidence regarding the therapeutic value of marijuana are scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 16, at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in downtown Washington, DC.
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to legalize medical marijuana, and six states have pending legislation. The possession and sale of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
Aleksandra Buha, "Marijuana," toxipedia.com, Aug. 3, 2011