Federal Appeals Court Rules DEA, Federal Govt. Must ‘Promptly’ Reassess Marijuana’s Illegality

Federal Appeals Court Rules DEA, Federal Govt. Must 'Promptly' Reassess Marijuana's Illegality

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A federal appeals court has re-instated a case against the federal government over the Schedule I status of cannabis.

The challengers, Super Bowl champion Marvin Washington; Dean Bortell (parent of underage medical cannabis patient Alexis Bortell); U.S. Army veteran José Belén; Sebastien Cotte (parent of underage medical cannabis patient Jagger Cotte); and the Cannabis Cultural Association, originally sued the U.S. federal government, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and its administrator, and then Attorney General Jeff Sessions, back in 2017. They argued that cannabis’ Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) represented a risk to patients’ health and perpetuated economic iniquities in the U.S.

According to the DEA’s CSA, the Schedule I category is reserved for drugs with “no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse,” including heroin and LSD. Under this regime, drugs like Fentanyl and Oxycodone, often considered the main drivers of America’s opioid crisis, are basically considered to be less dangerous than cannabis.

Initially dismissed by the court under the argument that plaintiffs had not exhausted all administrative channels available – meaning they should have tried to push for re-scheduling in Congress and administrative agencies before recurring to the judicial system, the case now has to be re-opened, as mandated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Judges still believe other channels are viable, but have decided to re-instate the case citing health concerns related to the two minors involved.

“[A]mong the Plaintiffs are individuals who plausibly allege that the current scheduling of marijuana poses a serious, life‐or‐death threat to their health,” the new ruling reads.

A Victory For All Americans

As Michael Hiller, Esquire, who represents the plaintiffs, explained in a series of tweets, the court has directed the DEA and federal government to act on the plaintiffs’ de-scheduling petition “with all deliberate speed.”

Read more from the source: Forbes.com

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