Federal Court Reconsiders Cannabis’ Classification as a Schedule 1 Drug

Back in 2017, a group of medical cannabis patients and advocates filed a lawsuit against the United States DEA challenging the classification of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug. With current knowledge of cannabis’s benefits becoming more and more widespread, the collection of plaintiffs argued on the basis that cannabis’s health and economic benefits warrant reconsideration of the plant’s current classification.

Although the federal district court originally dismissed the case, things are looking up for users and advocates alike as the appeals court has refused to dismiss the case following the plaintiffs’ appeal of the original ruling.

As of May 30, new opinions are pressuring the DEA into conducting an administrative review as plaintiffs continue to insist on the health threats that the current scheduling of cannabis brings.

Alexis Bortell and Jagger Cotte, both of whom suffer from severe medical problems, argued that cannabis has, in fact, saved their lives. A mid-sesh statement that many of us have made now and again is all the more real for these two. Having exhausted every traditional treatment option, cannabis has been the only glimmer of light, offering comfort and relief in their constant health battles.  However, the current Schedule 1 classification has prevented the plaintiffs from traveling with their medication, and if this classification is not modified, their health will continue to be at risk. Noting cannabis’s medicinal value to many plaintiffs, the court is pushing for a speedy review. “Plaintiffs should not be required to live indefinitely with uncertainty about their access to allegedly life-saving medication,” the judges wrote.

While the Second Circuit could have simply re-dismissed the case, the court has noted the significant evidence backing cannabis’s medical value. Further, while the court noted that it would not order the DEA to reconsider cannabis’s current status, it will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary action if the DEA fails to act promptly.

While it’s still unclear whether or not the DEA will act, this consideration provides a giant stepping stone for medical cannabis business and research.

Emerald contributor since June 2019

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