Medical marijuana users get a long-awaited day in court this week, when California-based activists argue for looser regulations, McClatchy Newspapers report. While voters in three states are preparing to vote on legalizing recreational pot use, the California activists hope to redefine how the federal government classifies the drug. The case, years in the making, could turn federal law enforcement on its head. “It's symbolic, and it's extremely important,” said Kris Hermes of Americans for Safe Access.
The dispute will be taken up Tuesday by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which is influential because it oversees many federal agency decisions. Americans for Safe Access is challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration's continued classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs, which also include the likes of heroin, are officially deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use. The DEA last year upheld the agency's strict marijuana classification following extended review, and the Justice Department argues the appellate court need not second-guess this decision.