Is marijuana close to being legalized?
Category: Legalization | Posted on Mon, October, 15th 2012 by THCFinder
Once again, medical-marijuana advocates are taking to the courts to eliminate the biggest barrier to legal use—the federal law that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug with no valid medical use.
On Oct. 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the federal appeals court that usually handles cases involving government regulations, will hear oral arguments onAmericans for Safe Access v. DEA. It will be the first time in almost 20 years that federal courts have considered the science of medical marijuana, says ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes.
Specifically, ASA, a California-based patient-advocacy group, is trying to get the Drug Enforcement Administration to move marijuana out of Schedule I, the Controlled Substances Act of 1970s category for drugs with “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” and no “accepted level of safety for use under medical supervision.” Heroin, LSD, and PCP are also in Schedule I. Cocaine, methamphetamine and OxyContin are in Schedule II, legal for medical use but strongly restricted.
Two previous attempts to get the DEA to reschedule marijuana failed, but advocates believe there is enough new evidence to convince the courts. “There’s simply more science now,” says ASA chief counsel Joseph D. Elford. Since 2000, says Igor Grant of the University of California at San Diego’s Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, the center has done six studies that showed “efficacy for marijuana over a placebo” in relieving pain caused by peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage).
This current attempt began in 2002, when a coalition of medical-marijuana and legalization advocates filed a petition with the DEA. It contended that cannabis “has an accepted medical use in the United States, is safe for use under medical supervision, has an abuse potential lower than Schedule I or II drugs, and has a dependence liability that is also lower than Schedule I or II drugs.” It requested that marijuana be moved to Schedule III (Vicodin, acetaminophen with codeine), Schedule IV (Valium, Xanax), or Schedule V (codeine cough syrup).
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