On April 15, 2015, Judge Kimberly Mueller of the US Court in Sacramento upheld the constitutionality of marijuana’s Schedule I designation. Schedule I drugs are not deemed medically applicable and must have a high potential for abuse.
At the same time the judge decided not to dismiss the case against a dozen defendants of marijuana cultivation charges in a national forest. It was an unprecedented situation to use criminal charges to try and pull off constitutional changes. The status on that case is expected to be updated on May 6.
Judge Mueller’s ruling should not have been a surprise. It was a long shot to believe that a judge would single-handedly reverse the separation of powers built into the federal government, overruling the legislative branch while usurping power from the executive branch. The marijuana proponents had many testimonies on their behalf, while the federal government needed a single expert witness, Dr. Bertha Madras of Harvard University.
The last time the marijuana activists asked for a rescheduling was in 2012. On January 22, 2013, a three-panel federal appeals court ruled against rescheduling marijuana. Judge Merrick Garland, now chief judge of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, admitted that it was the court’s responsibility to defer to the scientific expertise of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The DEA had reached its conclusions with the input of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
While that earlier case questioned questioned whether the intentions of the DEA were arbitrary and capricious, the recent case questioned the intentions of Congress while setting down the 5-tier classification system back in 1970.
Schedule I drugs must have a high potential for abuse, and are not deemed safe for medical application even under medical supervision. The huge difficulty for confirming efficacy and proper dosing in “medical” marijuana substantiates this lack of safety.
Those asking for a rescheduling of marijuana claim that researchers don’t have the ability to study it. However, there are currently 396 studies listed for clinical trials on derivatives of the marijuana plant, 273 for cannabidiol and 123 for THC.