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ASA Files Appeal To Compel The Federal Government To Reclassify Marijuana

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medical marijuanaThis is great news! It could force the DEA to explain in court why marijuana is still a schedule one controlled substance. Anyone who has even casually examined the issue knows it clearly shouldn’t be. Here’s the press release:

Lawsuit in the D.C. Circuit challenges DEA denial to reschedule marijuana for medical use

The country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), filed an appeal brief today in the D.C. Circuit to compel the federal government to reclassify marijuana for medical use. In July 2011, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied a petition filed in 2002 by the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), which was denied only after the coalition sued the government for unreasonable delay. The ASA brief filed today is an appeal of the CRC rescheduling denial.

“By ignoring the wealth of scientific evidence that clearly shows the therapeutic value of marijuana, the Obama Administration is playing politics at the expense of sick and dying Americans,” said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who filed the appeal today. “For the first time in more than 15 years we will be able to present evidence in court to challenge the government’s flawed position on medical marijuana.” Although two other rescheduling petitions have been filed since the establishment of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, the merits of medical efficacy was reviewed only once by the courts in 1994.

The ASA appeal brief asserts that the federal government acted arbitrarily and capriciously in its efforts to deny marijuana to millions of patients throughout the United States. ASA argues in the brief 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.” ASA is urging the court to “require the DEA to analyze the scientific data evenhandedly,” and order “a hearing and findings based on the scientific record.”

Patient advocates argue that by failing to reclassify marijuana, the federal government has stifled meaningful research into a wide array of therapeutic uses, such as pain relief, appetite stimulation, nausea suppression, and spasticity control among many other benefits. In 1988, the government ignored the ruling of its own Administrative Law Judge Francis Young who said that, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”

Since the CRC petition was filed in 2002, an even greater number of studies have been published that show the medical benefits of marijuana for illnesses such as neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s. Recent studies even show that marijuana may inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Last year, the National Cancer Institute, a division of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, added cannabis to its list of Complementary Alternative Medicines, pointing out that it’s been therapeutically used for millennia. The ASA appeal asserts that scientific evidence that was studied or discovered after 2002 is still relevant and must be considered.

Attorneys David Holland and Michael Kennedy filed the original petition in 2002 on behalf the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, which included several individual patients and groups, such as ASA and Patients Out of Time.

Further information:
ASA appeal brief filed today: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Appeal.pdf
DEA answer to CRC petition: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/CRC_Petition_DEA_Answer.pdf
CRC rescheduling petition: http://www.drugscience.org/PDF/Petition_Final_2002.pdf

Press release from Americans For Safe Access. Visit their website to join or donate to Americans for Safe Access. Clearly they are doing good things!

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4 Comments

  1. Sorry to be a realist, but these judges are part of the federal government and they will not rule against themselves.

    To change evil slave laws, it took a civil war.
    To change the jim crow laws, it took a civil up rising. Also part of the civil rights movement, was the right to marry someone of a different race, and the right to serve in the military regardless of race or religion. Our justice system serves their corporate masters. I hold these truths to be self-evident.

    Thank God our short simple constitution is still a beacon of hope against the evils of our corporate masters.

  2. “Sorry to be a realist, but these judges are part of the federal government and they will not rule against themselves.”

    Not necessarily. If you read the article, you know that the DEA’s own judge has already ruled that marijuana should be rescheduled over 20 years ago. So it’s not a biased judge that will make this whole exercise pointless. It’s that the DEA is not bound by any judge’s decision. They ignored their own judge before, so why would anyone think they would abide by a ruling they don’t like this time around.

  3. slow down ASA , youre reaching into the pockets of all the agencys who make billions by keeping the weed “illegal” think of all the people they will lay off , think of the saved revenue :drug courts , probation officers ,prison guards , asset forfetures
    etc,
    I whole heartedly support ASA and this bill to end reefer madness in the US especially CA and CO , well NJ too but I dont think 1 bud changed hands “legallY”

    Go getum ASA and get rid of that freak M leontart while youre at it

    They claim they need more testing newsflash : were testing it now its safe as it was a zillion yeARS AGO GOOGLE PHOENIX TEARS

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