The United States Court of Appeals delivered pot smokers some bad news today, ruling that marijuana is a dangerous and highly addictive drug with no medical value.
In a 2-1 decision on the medical marijuana reclassification case, Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Court sided with the DEA's assertion that "adequate and well-controlled studies" on the medical efficacy of marijuana do not exist.
"To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise," said Joe Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access, the country's leading medical marijuana advocacy organization, which appealed the denial of the rescheduling petition in January of last year.
ASA has no plans to sit on this decision; the group says it will appeal the anti-medical marijuana ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court with the intention to argue that the Obama Administration has acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" with its use of always-changing standards for "medical efficacy" as a way to ensure marijuana maintained as a Schedule I substance -- a dangerous drug with no medical value.
The government claims that Stage II and III clinical trials are necessary to show marijuana is an effective medicine. Meanwhile, ASA has argued that the 200-plus peer-reviewed studies cited in the legal briefs already do that.
In 2002, the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis filed a petition asking the government to reclassify marijuana for medical use. That petition was denied in July 2011, after ASA sued the Obama Administration for delaying its answer. The appeal to the D.C. Circuit was the first time in 20 years that the federal court has taken up the issue, reviewing whether there's enough scientific evidence to reclassify marijuana.
According to Elford:
The Obama Administration's legal efforts will keep marijuana out of reach for millions of qualified patients who would benefit from its use. It's time for President Obama to change his harmful policy with regard to medical marijuana and treat this as a public health issue, something entirely within the capability and authority of the executive office.
Patient advocates say politics have overshadowed medical science on this particular issue, which is why ASA will continue to pressure the Obama administration while lobbying Congress to give patients some relief and reclassify marijuana for medical use.
Read the ruling below: