Appeals Court to Consider Benefits of Medical Marijuana
Determined to maintain marijuana in the most restrictive of schedules, Schedule I, respondents federal agencies, the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”), have denied the latest effort to reschedule marijuana based on erroneous criteria. Even while recognizing that the components of marijuana have medical uses, the DEA contends that the whole plant does not. The DEA’s denial of the instant rescheduling petition after nearly ten years does not measure up to these congressional standards and should be reversed.
Americans for Safe Access is hoping the challenge will change the government’s classification of marijuana from a dangerous drug with no medical benefits, the Guardian reported. Other groups, such as the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the Federation of American Scientists and the American Academy of Family Physicians support either medical access to marijuana or its reclassification to one that has a medical benefit.
“Medical marijuana patients are finally getting their day in court,” Joe Elford, chief counsel for ASA, told the Guardian. “This is a rare opportunity for patients to confront politically motivated decision-making with scientific evidence of marijuana’s medical efficacy.”
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Agency rejected the ASA’s petition to reschedule marijuana, saying there wasn’t substantial evidence the drug should be removed from schedule 1. The DEA cited a five-year-old assessment from the Department of Health and Human Services that said there was no consensus in the medical community on the medical applications of marijuana.
In its reply brief, the ASA says the criteria used by the DEA and HHS to determine scheduling are flawed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear arguments in the case on Oct. 16.