Marijuana Still a Drug With No Accepted Medical Use, Court Says

Marijuana will continue to be considered a highly dangerous drug under federal law with no accepted medical uses, after a U.S. appeals court Tuesday refused to order a change in the government’s 40-year-old drug classification schedule.

The decision keeps in place an odd legal split over marijuana, a drug deemed to be as dangerous as heroin and worse than methamphetamine by federal authorities, but one that has been legalized for medical use by voters or legislators in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

A marijuana advocacy group went to court, arguing that federal officials had a duty to reexamine the medical evidence and reclassify marijuana as a drug that has clear benefits for those who are suffering and in pain. Joe Elford, counsel for Americans for Safe Access, said federal drug officials had a bias against marijuana that caused them to ignore its benefits and to exaggerate its dangers.

But three judges said they had a duty to defer to the judgment of federal health experts who had concluded they needed more evidence before reclassifying marijuana.

“To establish accepted medical use, the effectiveness of a drug must be established in well-controlled, well-designed, well-conducted and well-documented scientific studies [with]a large number of patients. To date, such studies have not been performed,” the Drug Enforcement Administration said in defense of its decision. The passage was quoted in Tuesday’s opinion.

Judge Harry Edwards, writing for the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said the judges did not dispute that “marijuana could have some medical benefits.” Instead, he said, they were not willing to overrule the DEA because they had not seen large “well-controlled studies” that proved the medical value of marijuana.

“We’re disappointed, but not surprised,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. She said more than 1 million patients used marijuana as medicine across the nation.

– Read the entire article at Los Angeles Times.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. gutrod on

    They can study it until the cows come home. I’m sure they already have. To suddenly change their stance would be to admit to the injustice perpetrated on their own people by creating the biggest lie in modern world history. There are 10’s of millions who weren’t fooled though, including me.

  2. gutrod on

    Doctors both in Canada and the USA have not been doing their homework. Any federal studies to date are biased and tainted.
    Just the same old run around. Freedom of choice should mean something in so called democratic free society’s. I hope that some Canadian provinces follow Washington and Colorado states down a greener pasture. They listen to their taxpayers who foot the bill for the very unpopular era of Cannabis Prohibition. Time for all doctors to look at alternatives to pharmaceutical poisons that they push on their patients. They are no better than street level drug pushers.

  3. Anonymous on

    That’s so that it’ll make u sick and support the healthcare system

  4. Richard Davis on

    Why aren’t tabacco cigarettes illegal, as they obviously have no medical benefits?

  5. Krymsun on

    Reauthorization Act of 1998 – Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225

    SEC. 704. APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES OF DIRECTOR AND DEPUTY DIRECTORS.

    Responsibilities. — The Director… shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that — (A) is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and (B) has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration…
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/reauthorization-act

  6. Anonymous UK on

    If the patient is happier and says they feel better that is good enough – end of story! That is what my doctor has done with regular prescription drugs. She just says “try these” to see if a particular medication helps with my back problems (and I have tried them all – most have unbearable side effects as well). We don’t really need science just ask people – placebo effect, psychosomatic – it does not matter.
    By the way White Rhino cannabis in a vaporiser works like a switch for the pain but also gets me stoned so I only use it after the day’s work is done – but it is still a lifeline to me. If things were legal I am sure there would be some cannabis alternative for day time use.

  7. anon on

    of course no studies have been done, as the DEA has blocked any and all requests by universities and hosiptals, etc that want to do real comprehensive studies on the effectiveness of cannabis on certain diseases and conditions.

    the REAL question is: so why is tobacco legal? what medical use does tobacco have?

  8. Tony Aroma on

    That headline is very misleading. That’s NOT what the court ruled. They simply decided that the DEA followed the rules in denying the rescheduling petition. You know, the rules the DEA made up and the rules that the DEA keeps changing.

  9. Tony Aroma on

    That headline is very misleading. That’s NOT what the court ruled. They simply decided that the DEA followed the rules in denying the rescheduling petition. You know, the rules the DEA made up and the rules that the DEA keeps changing.