Inside the Hearings to Reclassify Marijuana

Inside the Hearings to Reclassify Marijuana
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In a case that could change the relationship between states and the federal government regarding marijuana, a US district judge in Sacramento, California held a three-day hearing recently that challenged the federal status of cannabis.  At issue is classification of marijuana by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as a “Schedule I” drug, a ranking system established in the early 1970s, and Schedule I is the same classification given to LSD, Ecstasy, and heroin. The classification was reaffirmed in 2011 and upheld in a federal appeals court in 2013.

The hearing in Sacramento arises from a criminal case in which several men were charged with growing marijuana in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, and 2 of the people charged face 10-15 year jail terms if convicted, but defense attorneys argued that “marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance” and was wrongly used to target their clients.  And so Judge Kimberly Mueller granted an unprecedented evidentiary hearing on marijuana’s classification after attorneys filed a motion last November to dismiss the charges on grounds that the indictment is unconstitutional.  And should Judge Muller find the DEA’s current classification of marijuana a faulty basis for prosecution and sentencing, a similar defense strategy will no doubt be employed across the nation …

Heather Burke is an attorney on the defense team and stopped by the studios of KVMR radio in Nevada City, California recently to chat with Patricia Smith and Brian Bahouth, co-hosts of the Cannabis Crusade …