MANHATAN, NY – U.S. Department of Justice moved to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to set aside the long standing policy of United States regarding marijuana prohibition. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, Manhattan, weighs rebuttals against the federal prohibition of marijuana.
Arguments of the marijuana advocate plaintiffs stemmed in challenging the constitutionality of the federal ban on marijuana. The congress classified marijuana as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, a classification made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. Heroin, LSD, and ecstasy are classified as the same as marijuana under the CSA. This means that the drug in question has no medical efficacy and considered to have a high potential for abuse.
According to Michael Hiller, lead counsel of the plaintiffs, the classification of marijuana is absurd. Cannabis does not meet the qualifications to be classified as Schedule I. He argues that if the federal really considers marijuana as dangerous as classified in Schedule I suggests, then it makes no sense for them to give cannabis to patients as a part of an Investigational New Drug Program.
The group of plaintiffs include Alexis Bortell, 12 years old with epilepsy, Jagger Cotte, 7 years old with a neurotically condition called Leigh’s Disease, and the Cannabis Cultural Association, a non-profitable corporation, which seeks to help people of colour get into cannabis industry.
They claim that the federal ban infringes their constitutional right to use life-saving medicine for the preservation of health and life, among others.
Hiller said in an interview.that this is not simply a case of cannabis, but a case about human rights and dignity. He added that people should have the right to use medication they know will help preserve their health without the government interfering. According to him, if medication is available to save Alexis Bortell’s life, the federal government should be going out of its way to make that drug available.
Assistant Attorney Samuel Dolinger, who represented the government, refuted the claim of the plaintiffs that the federal law did not give them the permission to challenge the constitutionality of federal ban in court. Hence, the issue in the case in not whether the ban should be lifted to legalize marijuana as an effective medicine, but whether or not the court has jurisdiction to hear such case.
Dolinger ascertains that the agency process is very comprehensive. According to him, instead of arguing through the courts, they must bring the petition through the Drug Enforcement Agency to legally challenge federal cannabis policy.
On the other hand, Hiller countered that the process was “futile.” He also added that the process is too lengthy and that the plaintiffs like Bortell and Cotte may not be able to live enough to see it through the process.
Hellerstein, who admits that marijuana has medical efficacy, ascertained that he has no authority to rule on how the DEA schedules drugs. He dismissed the claim of the plaintiff that the argument is shadowed by political concerns and racial discrepancies when passed.
He also added that the law is the law, and that he’s sworn to enforce it.
Still, the judge has not arrived to a final decision yet involving the federal marijuana prohibition.