A federal judge hearing the case of nine men accused of illegally growing marijuana in California said last week she was taking very seriously arguments by their attorneys that the federal government has improperly classified the drug as among the most dangerous, and should throw the charges out, Reuters reports. Judge Kimberly Mueller said she would rule within 30 days on the request, which comes amid looser enforcement of U.S. marijuana laws, including moves to legalize its recreational use in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.
The men were charged with growing marijuana on private and federal land in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in Northern California. Defense lawyers have argued that U.S. law classifying pot as a Schedule One drug, which means it has no medical use and is among the most dangerous, is unconstitutional, given that 23 states have legalized the drug for medical use. Zenia Gilg, who represented defense attorneys for all of the men during closing arguments, pointed to Congress’ recent decision to ban the Department of Justice from interfering in states’ implementation of their medical marijuana laws as evidence of her contention that the drug’s classification as Schedule One should be overturned.