An attempt to remove cannabis from its Schedule I status has been shot down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Three years ago, a group of cannabis advocates comprised of athletes, veterans, and medical patients, launched a lawsuit against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in attempts to remove cannabis from the Schedule I status under the Controlled Substances Act.
As we’ve discussed previously here at The Green Fund, the Schedule I status of cannabis and marijuana products comes with its own host of issues and contradictions;
Schedule I status was designed to include all of the “hardest” drugs that had no medicinal benefit while having a high potential for abuse. Other drugs alongside cannabis in the Schedule I status are LSD, MDMA, heroin, magic mushrooms, and several others.
The issue, however, with being placed in this “no-go zone” of drugs, is that it makes researching Schedule I drugs much more difficult.
According to a study entitled ‘The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research,’ the federal illegality of cannabis remains a huge barrier to researchers looking to determine the potential medical benefits of the plant:
“Investigators seeking to conduct research on cannabis or cannabinoids must navigate a series of review processes that may involve the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), institutional review boards, offices or departments in state government, state boards of medical examiners, the researcher’s home institution, and potential funders.”
The catch-22 that comes with being a schedule I substance is that it’s particularly difficult to determine whether there are legitimate medicinal benefits with a drug, due to the restrictions to research placed upon schedule I substances. Moreover, many have pointed to the growing list of medical benefits that cannabis can provide, especially in the instances of epilepsy and chronic pain as a way to highlight the false categorization of cannabis in the United States.
However, despite this litany of issues and hypocrisy that come along with marijuana’s Schedule I status, the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to hear the lawsuit against the DEA.
This wasn’t the first time the case was dismissed either, as it happened previously in 2018 prior to being resuscitated to the Second Circuit last year.
“For every Brown v. Board of Education, there are dozens of earlier, lesser-known legal battles which set the stage for eventual changes in the law to right the wrongs of the past and the problems of the present,” Michael Hiller, attorney for the plaintiffs, stated to Law360.com.
“Regrettably, (the Supreme Court) decision falls into the latter category, not the former.”