Cannabis / Marijuana, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Cannabis: The Coming Legal Storm Against Prohibition
By Staff News & Analysis - November 05, 2014

Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law… A judge in California is examining the legality of America's marijuana laws; she may be on the verge of throwing the entire system into chaos … Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation's drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution. After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot's classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. – The Daily Beast

Dominant Social Theme: Laws in a free country are entered into logically and die hard.

Free-Market Analysis: We've been predicting this for a while. Once cannabis decriminalization and legalization became a trend, the entire underpinnings of this questionable enterprise would begin to unravel.

It should be evident to anyone who seriously studies the subject, that a plant that has been freely used for literally thousands of years and is well known for its positive medical effects should never have been demonized by the US government on behalf in the first place.

Of course, there are differing interpretations of how and why the elite establishment determined that cannabis should be criminalized. But some of the "secret" history may include the determination to ensure that cannabis did not compete with established industrial interests.

Today, people are rediscovering a variety of uses for cannabis. Perhaps most important is that cannabis and extracted cannabis oil, as has been known for millennia, have valuable medicinal and therapeutic properties. It is not surprising to many that cannabis is being studied to potentially combat cancer and is already being used to combat the effects of cancer and chemotherapy.

As cannabis's utility is increasingly examined by the mainstream media it is more and more difficult to argue that cannabis ought to be compared to heroin or other such drugs. And that growing realization is driving this legal reevaluation as well.

Here's more from the article:

In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration's classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth.

Over the next few weeks, Mueller will comb through hundreds of pages of witness testimony, scientific research, and public health policy to determine whether the Schedule I Substance classification of marijuana is unconstitutional.

Her ruling will only apply in the specific case she is hearing, but some argue that a first judicial ruling against the legality of the DEA's current drug classifications would invite a flood of similar legal challenges all over the country.

… Her decision [to rule] was based on a tiny footnote written by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Stevens in 2005. In the medical marijuana case of Gonzalez v. Raich, he wrote: "We acknowledge that evidence proffered by respondents in this case regarding the effective medical uses for marijuana, if found credible after trial, would cast serious doubt on the accuracy of the findings that require marijuana to be listed in Schedule I," it reads. "Respondents' submission, if accepted, would place all homegrown medical substances beyond the reach of Congress' regulatory jurisdiction."

Mueller said that was enough to justify a hearing. "[T]here is new scientific and medical information raising contested issues of fact regarding whether the continued inclusion of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance … passes constitutional muster," she said, at the time of the decision.

Now the hearing has been completed and it is up to Mueller to rule. While the defense called numerous witnesses, the prosecution apparently called just one. This was Dr. Bertha Madras, a "drug czar" under George W. Bush.

The article explains that Madras underwent two days of grueling testimony and cross-examination, "based her testimony on the claim that marijuana has no accepted medical value."

You would think that this would be seen, increasingly, as a puzzling argument given what the public has now discovered about cannabis – and the general sentiment that it ought to be decriminalized.

But Madras apparently didn't try to defend the cannabis criminalization based on original science. Instead, she claimed that cannabis hadn't achieved the "high standards of proof necessary to obtain FDA approval—which she says highlights both the lack of clear evidence about its efficacy as well as an accepted method of delivery for the treatment."

What she is arguing, therefore, is that the FDA – a most controversial and bureaucratic organization – has decided that cannabis ought to be conflated with heroin. But surely if one were to examine the rationale for this it would become clear that the FDA's ruling may contain numerous controversial conclusions.

The opposition commented on Madras's testimony as follows:

Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML served as the principal investigator for Pickard's defense team and was present for all five days of testimony. "In 2014, most reasonable people would likely argue that any society where 23 states presently acknowledge by statute the therapeutic use of marijuana in certain circumstances, that that alone would qualify as accepted medical use," he tells me. Given this fact, Armentano believes the feds were left with an "unenviable task" at this hearing: "To convince the court that the earth is flat when the rest of society appropriately has concluded that the earth is round."

Justice Mueller has requested extensive briefs from both sides and will be reviewing the evidence. Her eventual decision, though narrow in terms of its immediate application, could have a considerable effect on the legal status of cannabis generally.

"It's earth-shattering to even have this hearing," Stetson University College of Law Professor Adam Levine told The Christian Science Monitor. "The fact that the judge is willing to hear this case means she is willing to question if the DEA's original classification is constitutional."

We certainly agree with this perception. As we have written before, there are powerful forces behind the ongoing legalization of cannabis, as well as its decriminalization.

After Thoughts

In this age of the Internet Reformation where public policy is increasingly being questioned at a basic level throughout the West, the possible – probable – coming of cannabis legalization could fuel public skepticism not just about drug policy but about certain dynamics of state justice at a variety of levels.

Posted in Cannabis / Marijuana, STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
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