The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in Sacramento will hear on March 25 a case involving nine persons accused of growing marijuana in the state’s Shasta-Trinity National Forest in northern California. Their attorneys argue that current federal law governing marijuana is wrong because the federal government places weed the same as heroin and other hard drugs under a Drug Enforcement Administration classification that states those drugs “(has) no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
The lawyers argue that can’t possibly apply to marijuana because medical marijuana is now legal in 23 states and Washington, D.C. There is no rational basis, legal experts tell Vice News, for that classification to be continued for marijuana, and therefore, no federal justification for enforcing the law under the current category which has been in place since 1970.
"The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area,” according to researchers at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research. “Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking."
US District Judge Kimberly Mueller is expected to issue a ruling within 30 days after the March 25 hearing. Should Mueller rule in favor of the plaintiffs, she can strike down the current classification but cannot establish a new one – only the DEA can. Even if the federal government recognized medical marijuana as legitimate, the US Food and Drug Administration would have to approve anyone prescribing, marketing or selling, and it is the FDA which would recommend to the DEA how to classify marijuana.