Substance Abuse

Court Rejects Petition to Reclassify Marijuana Status

Even though marijuana is now legal in the state of Washington, it seems that medical marijuana proponents have to take a few more attempts to convince the federal government that the drug has some medical value.

On Tuesday, a federal court appeals rejected anew a petition seeking for the reclassification of marijuana from its current federal status, the Associated Press reports. The ruling upholds the  Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2011 decision that says marijuana has “no accepted medical use.”

Judge Harry T. Edwards wrote that the question wasn’t whether marijuana could have some medical benefits, but rather whether the Drug Enforcement Administration’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.” The third judge on the panel, Karen LeCraft Henderson, wrote that  none of the petitioners was in a legal position to challenge the government’s stance and that the case should have been dismissed.

“Because the agency’s factual findings in this case are supported by substantial evidence and because those factual findings reasonably support the agency’s final decision not to reschedule marijuana, we must uphold the agency action,” the court ruled.

But for the Americans for Safe Access, one of the petitioners, their fight doesn’t end with that ruling. The organization’s chief counsel, Joe Elford, said they will likely file a petition for rehearing and even possibly an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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