Sometimes when I’m with close friends, I ask them if they want to ‘smoke some Schedule I.’ They are always caught off guard by that question. Am I asking them to consume something that has a high chance of addiction, and contains zero medical value? After they realize I’m talking about marijuana, they always give a chuckle, and ask why I call it that. I call it that to highlight how stupid marijuana’s federal classification is, in a snarky way.
Like I always say, the fact that marijuana is a Schedule I substance is a slap in the face to logic and science (among other things). A federal judge in California has heard arguments recently for and against rescheduling marijuana. Jeremy Daw (The Leaf Online) recently wrote an article for Alternet, in which he makes some very interesting observations in the case that may suggest Judge Kimberly Mueller is leaning towards ruling in rescheduling’s favor. The main argument against the pro-rescheduling side is that there is no legal standing, which means the case would be lost on a technicality. With that in mind, below is an excerpt of Mr. Daw’s article:
Based on Mueller’s comments from the bench, combined with the pattern of delays in constructing her legal theory of the case, it appears unlikely that this judge will dispose of this question on purely procedural grounds. On the final day of oral argument in the case, for example, Judge Mueller posed a hypothetical to the attorneys in the case. “Suppose I reach a decision on the merits,” she said, “using either the rational basis standard or what one judge has called ‘rational basis with bite.'” It’s one of the only clues of her intent from an otherwise poker-faced judge.
The repeated delays in the written argument phase — three now — also favor a decision on the merits. While written opinions on standing can be as arcane as any other topic of law (if not more so), the area of law applying standing to drug law cases is relatively well-developed compared to the novel — indeed, historic — question posed by the merits: is keeping cannabis in Schedule I so out of step with reality as to be unconstitutional?
Finally, judicial economy must be considered. The dockets of federal judges are famously crowded; it makes little sense to devote five days of extremely valuable court time to establishing evidence relevant to the merits of the case if one didn’t intend to decide the case on the merits.
All of the points that Jeremy Daw makes are valid. Will Justice Mueller rule in favor of the status quo due to a technicality, even after she dedicated so much time towards hearing the case? You never know how the case is going to be decided until the final ruling has been handed down, but this is all very encouraging. Either way the case is decided, it’s almost a guarantee that the losing side is going to file an appeal. If you aren’t following this court case, you should be, as it’s extremely important.