Legislation was introduced Friday in the US House of Representatives to permit states to establish their own marijuana regulatory policies free from federal interference. House Resolution 1013, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, removes cannabis from the United States Controlled Substances Act. It also removes enforcement power from the US Drug Enforcement Administration in matters concerning marijuana possession, production, and sales — thus permitting state governments to regulate these activities as they see fit.
Yesterday in Sacramento a federal judge heard closing arguments in a motion challenging the constitutionality of cannabis’ Schedule I classification. At issue is whether a rational basis exists for the government’s contention that cannabis is properly designated as a schedule I substance — defined as possessing a “high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” and “a lack of accepted safety … under medical supervision.”
Newly appointed US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes that cannabis possesses therapeutic utility — an acknowledgment that contradicts the plant’s present placement as a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law. Speaking to CBS News, Murthy said: “We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful.” He added, “I think we have to use that data to drive policy making and I’m very interested to see where that data takes us.”
An updated policy statement issued today by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) calls for the rescheduling of the cannabis plant under federal law to better facilitate clinical trial research and to promote the plant’s eventual pharmaceutical development.
Testimony regarding the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance will be taken on Monday, October 27 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the case of United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM. This is the first time in recent memory that a federal judge has granted an evidentiary hearing on a motion challenging the statute which classifies cannabis to be one of the most dangerous illicit substances in the nation.
Earlier today, 18 members of Congress signed onto a letter that was delivered to President Barack Obama calling for him to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “We request that you take action to help alleviate the harms to society caused by the federal Schedule I classification of marijuana. Lives and resources are wasted on enforcing harsh, unrealistic, and unfair marijuana laws,” the letter reads, “Nearly two-thirds of a million people every year are arrested for marijuana possession. We spend billions every year enforcing marijuana laws, […]
Friday, September 6, 2013 marks the 25-year anniversary of an administrative ruling which determined that cannabis possesses accepted medical utility and ought to be reclassified accordingly under federal law. The ruling, issued in 1988 by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling,” determined: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.”
The criminalization and prohibition of cannabis has been an abject failure and should be ended as a federal public policy, according to the findings of a new report issued this week by the National Lawyers Guild. The authors of the report recommend rescheduling cannabis from its present Schedule I illicit classification, revisiting the United State’s involvement in international drug control treaties, and ending the practice of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement agencies.