The crux of the federal government's problem with medical marijuana in places where it's legal, like California, is that pot is not legit for anything under U.S. law: It's a schedule I drug, the highest-level of outlaw substance.
And so, this allows the DEA, for example, to warn that every pot shop in Los Angeles must close down.
But what about that growing scientific research that cannabis might actually be medicine?
Doesn't that mean that schedule I — for drugs that have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” — doesn't apply.
If doctors are in fact recommending marijuana, and researchers are in fact saying it has legitimate medicinal uses, isn't schedule I the wrong place for pot?
That, of course, would throw the feds' crackdown out the window.
The matter before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia today.
The court will hear oral arguments by medical proponents who want marijuana's outlaw status downgraded so that some medical uses would be allowed.
It's a historic day for Americans for Safe Access, the Coalition to Reschedule Cannabis, Patients out of Time and groups that brought the suit to court.
Jasmine Tyler, acting director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, says in a statement sent to the Weekly and other outlets:
There is a plethora of scientific evidence establishing marijuana's medical safety and efficacy. However, when it comes to marijuana and the federal government, politics routinely trumps science.
We'll be watching.