Marijuana is known as a Schedule I substance in the United States. That means that it is completely worthless, harnesses ‘no medicinal value,’ and is evidently on the same level of heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. But marijuana can actually help treat numerous ailments, which is why the U.S. government has been juggling with its reclassification for decades.
Now, a legal dispute in California is shedding even more light on the issue in Washington, D.C., and could expedite its the plant’s impending reclassification.
Nine men were recently accused of growing marijuana illegally on private and federal land. The men are arguing that the charges of a $10 million fine and life in prison should be dropped because marijuana is inaccurately classified by the U.S. government.
Thankfully, judge Kimberly K. Muller is somewhat in alignment with millions of Americans’ views, stating that she is taking the defenses’ arguments very seriously and promising to deliver a ruling within 30 days. Could this be the case that finally reclassifies what is quickly becoming well known as a healing substance?
“If I were persuaded by the defense’s argument, if I bought their argument, what would you lose here?” she asked prosecutors during closing arguments on the motion to dismiss the cases against the men.
Lawyer Zenia Gilg, who represented defense attorneys for the men, pointed to Congress’ recent decision to ban the Department of Justice from interfering in states’ implementation of their medical marijuana laws as evidence of her contention that the drug’s classification as Schedule One should be overturned.
Even the Obama Administration has unofficially made it part of their policy to neither indict nor raid medical marijuana dispensaries and growers.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” the president said in response to a question from YouTube host Hank Green. “The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue. My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Broderick said that it was up to Congress to change the law, not the court.
The defendants, he said, were illegally growing marijuana on federal land.
“They had weapons,” Broderick said. “These guys were not producing medicine.”
“We’re not saying that this is the most dangerous drug in the world,” Broderick said. “All we’re saying is that the evidence is such that reasonable people could disagree.”
There may be more to this case than meets the eye, but it doesn’t change the fact that marijuana does in fact possess what some might argue as exceptional medicinal value – as a plethora of research has showcased. That, coupled with our constitutional right to handle the drug, is argument enough to reclassify and legalize the drug. After all, at least 23 states feel this way – and that number is growing.