Court Turns Down Effort to Reclassify Marijuana As Less-Dangerous Drug


The federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., upheld the dismissal of a challenge over the government’s classification of marijuana as a top-tier dangerous drug, reports the National Law Journal. The advocacy group Americans for Safe Access and several individuals, including a disabled veteran, were contesting the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s refusal to initiate proceedings to reclassify marijuana on the lower schedule.

Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, DEA classifies marijuana as a “Schedule 1” drug, the most restrictive designation. Federal law, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit noted, largely prohibits the production, sale and use of marijuana. In rejecting a petition to reclassify marijuana to a lower level, the DEA said there’s “no currently accepted medical use for marijuana in the United States” and that the “limited existing clinical evidence is not adequate to warrant rescheduling” marijuana under federal law. To reclassify a drug to a lower standard, DEA needs “adequate and well-controlled” studies showing marijuana’s medical efficacy. The appeals court sided with the DEA’s contention that studies are lacking on this front.

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