On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals in DC rejected a bid by Americans for Safe Access and others to compel the DEA to reclassify marijuana. Currently marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning that it “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.” Try telling that to chemo patients or others who rely on marijuana and are forced to buy it on the street.
In the case decided Tuesday, Americans for Safe Access v. DEA, the Court was compelled to apply the “arbitrary and capricious” test for review of a federal agency decision. “Arbitrary and capricious” is a tough, tough standard to meet. The Court ruled that the lack of adequate and well-controlled studies was a reasonable basis for the DEA’s refusal to reschedule cannabis.
ASA’s lawyer, Joe Elford, from Oakland, California, has litigated this case with great diligence and skill since 1995. The bottom line is that further movement can only come through the political process. Unlike other rights issues, where the courts have stepped out, efforts to reclassify marijuana through court action has not worked.