By David Holland, Esq
The Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis/Americans for Safe Access (ASA)/Patients Out of Time (POT) and individual medical patients appealed to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals after denial of their motion by the federal District Court seeking to reschedule cannabis out of Schedule I to allow for greater scientific and medical research.
The D.C. Court of Appeals denied the appeal, finding that the government's reasons for continuing to maintain marijuana in Schedule I are not 'arbitrary and capricious' because there is a lack of medical and scientific studies and literature to prove the efficacy, utility, validity, and safety of marijuana warranting less severe scheduling under the federal Controlled Substances Act. There was no basis to disturb the government's classification scheme. Therefore, the Court found that the government's position was justifiable under the applicable administrative law and marijuana could not be rescheduled without a change in the beliefs of the DEA/FDA and Attorney General.
The Court's reasoning is circular in nature. It finds that there is a lack of valid scientific testing to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of marijuana and yet it endorses the government's Schedule I classification, which prevents serious medical and scientific testing under anything but the most stringent of conditions. As such, the government has strategically snuffed out scientific research to study the safety and efficacy of marijuana and is using the lack of such research to justify the continued Schedule I status.