Marijuana Classification To Be Reviewed by Federal Government

By Brent McCluskey 01/26/15

Finally, a district court judge will hold a hearing on the constitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.

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For the first time in several decades, the federal government has agreed to reconsider the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug.

Late last year, U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller agreed to hold a fact-finding hearing on the constitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, which classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. The evidentiary hearing will be held sometime this year, and while Mueller’s decision to objectively look at the facts is as impressive as it is rare, similar efforts have repeatedly failed in the past.

Even still, the upcoming hearing may succeed where others have failed. Zenia K. Gilg, a lawyer for the growers, said public perception on marijuana has slowly shifted towards one of acceptance, noting that an increasing number of states are voting to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

“It just shows that this country has recognized that marijuana is less harmful than, I would say, alcohol, and the new law prohibiting it is absurd, particularly as it related to being up there with heroin and LSD,” said Gilg.

Prosecutors say marijuana was legally classified as a Schedule I drug since it has no medicinal qualities, but the defense attorneys argue cannabis has many medical benefits.

“The evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable, cannabis has remarkable medicinal qualities, which have been known and applied throughout history,” said Gilg.

It will be a tough case to prove in court, but Alex Kreit, a Thomas Jefferson School of Law professor who specializes in drug issues, says the fact that a hearing is being held is a good sign.

“But the fact that there was a hearing tells me there is some chance of this succeeding,” Kreit said. “It is just exceedingly unlikely that a federal judge would set aside several days for a hearing on a question they thought was open and shut.”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.