Court to Decide Pot's Danger

thomas vance Published:

In 1970 when the Federal Government decided on a plan to rate drugs as to their usefulness or danger they came up with a plan called Scheduling. A drug could be rated Schedule I, the drug has a high potential for abuse, there is no medical use, and there is a lack of safety of use such as heroin, which is made from opium and listed in this category along with LSD and marijuana. Or the drug could be rated Schedule V, the drug has a low potential for abuse, has a accepted medical use, and abuse of the drug may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence. Codeine cough medicines fall into this category.

Marijuana was, without any scientific or medical imput, listed as Schedule I despite the fact that in the 4000 year history of man using marijuana as medicine there is not one recorded death from overdose. Aspirin on the other hand results in over 1000 overdose deaths per year, is not scheduled and is sold over the counter.

The lack of any scientific consideration in the scheduling of marijuana has allowed the supporters of prohibition, particularly the Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, to stymie any attempt to reschedule marijuana in line with scientific reality. Any petition to reschedule must be signed off on by the DEA. This is the genius of the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, CSA, that the scheduling of any drug could not be challenged and if it was the DEA could shut it down before it went anywhere. Indeed an eight year old petition to reschedule marijuana was recently again denied by the DEA, prompting the petitioners to sue in Federal court. The last time a judge considered marijuana’s dangers the Administrative Law Judge for the DEA declared marijuana to be ‘the safest therapeutic substance known to man’, but even that ruling was not enough in 1988 to allow the rescheduling petition to go forward. The DEA got an appeals court to nullify the ruling. This time the case is a full blown lawsuit and will rely on scientific evidence and testimony and can’t be quashed by the DEA.

A member of the coalition to reschedule and patient plaintiff in the case opined that the case for rescheduling marijuana has been going on since the seventies and the DEA is certainly expected to appeal. The case is being heard in the Federal Appeals Court for the DC district. Other than an appeal to the Supreme Court it is not certain what the DEA’s next move will be. The gold standard double blind studies of Dr. Igor Grant are being used as evidence and the Government’s position that marijuana is dangerous and has no medical value is on very shaky ground. A recent study to determine whether the Government’s case would stand up in court found the Government’s case untenable.

How a ruling against the Government will turn out is anybody’s guess but the court could recommend marijuana be rescheduled to Schedule IV or V which is more in line with the science. Any ruling allowing for less than schedule I would certainly blow the lid off the medical marijuana question. The court will start taking testimony in October and it’s unlikely, but we could have a ruling before the year is out. Heaven knows, anything goes!

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.

  • Believe what u want but I have been writing for a while askin for a medical mmj bill. When Gatewood Galbraith died they held a moment of silence in his honor in the assembly. When I saw that I immediately wrote all of them and said they should be ashamed and that to really honor Gatewood they would propose and pass a medical mmj bill named after him. Two days after Sen. Perry Clark filed the Gatewood Galbraith Medical arijuana bill i got a call from the Senator. It went like this, Sen Clark, " Seargent, You got your bill!" I answered , What?" He said, "The Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, You got your bill!" That's what happened. So maybe our letters do work on occaision!

  • Of course he said he read them. Doesn't mean it's true--you have to admit that politicians are not known for truthfulness. Do you think he's going to admit that he has someone else do it for him?---------- "I had a politician tell me that every letter means at least 10 voters agree with the letter writer." See, the public means nothing to them except as a vote to keep them in power.----------But if it makes you feel better to believe your letters made a difference, more power to you.

  • bjos--- I will admit that you rarely get a response, i've gotten more responses from those who are not my sen or rep, but they do respond. Sen Thayer when asked by Bill Goodman on Bills show if he gets my letters responded that he reads them all the time. So they do at least speed read them. I had a politician tell me that every letter means at least 10 voters agree with the letter writer. So even if it seems like your letters have no impact --THEY DO- so keep them cards and letters comin in !!

  • Overloading their inboxes would do no good. They don't monitor them, they have a flunky do that for them. So they would do as they've always done, just ignore you.----------Like I said, marijuana will not be legalized because it's the right thing to do. It will not be legalized because an overwhelming majority of people want it legalized. It will not be legalized because of scientific evidence. Politicians don't care about any of that.------------It will be legalized ONLY if and when politicians decide it is in their best interests to do so. THEIR best interests, not the public's best interests. They don't care about the public.

  • Kentucky does not allow for ballot referendums. All the more reason to write the members of the Assembly to press for passage of SB129 the Medical marijuana bill. Write them all, not just your own! Go to -- this page lists all the Assembly member's e-mail addresses and if an emali address is not listed there is a block saying 'click here' that takes u to a web form you can click on and leave a message. It's really quite simple and you can write them all in one day easily. We should overload their in boxes everyday from a week after Thanksgiving up to the end of the Assembly in 2013, or until the bill passes!

  • Not necessary ema, as this is very confusing. thanks tho.

  • You are correct. And I stand corrected and my apologies to you.

  • Kentucky does not have a statewide initiative process. To bring the initiative process to Kentucky would require a constitutional amendment, and in 2004 the legislature proposed and amendment to the state constitution and we voted on such an amendment. It was not brought forth and put on the ballot directly by the people and it required the Governor's signature to become law. Neither would be true for the statewide initiative process.

  • So are you saying I'm incorrect in my comment regarding the 2004 election in which I voted? It was on the ballot. You might want to google "Kentucky votes to ban same sex marriages". It will show you that it was November 2004 election. An amendment was added to the Ky Constitution as a result of this election. What are you not getting???? I don't know what your argument is..

  • This state does not allow for referendums.

  • Kentucky does allow its citizens to vote directly on issues. The citizens of Kentucky voted in 2004 to not allow same sex marriages.

  • anonymous_1713 um er ah...maybe not in my life time but when pot is legal, it will be left up to voters on where it can be sold. er ah just like alcohol.

  • Naw bjos, that is just plain skeered stupid.

  • and in our infinite wisdom, we keep re-electing these jerks.

  • Er ah, we can't put it to a vote...KY doesn't allow it citizens to directly make or change laws via referendum. We have representatives to do that for us, and in their infinite wisdom, they have chosen this insane road that we find ourselves on.

  • Let's not lose focus here. There are folks suffering because KY laws are outdated and our law enforcement officials think they're freaking experts on the merits of pot being legal. I don't know any policemen that are also doctors. No lawyers and no court decision. Let the people of our Commonwealth decide. Put ot to a vote! Right now as I am writing this post, there are cancer patients in Kentucky suffer needlessly because our state marijuana laws are antiquated.

  • Ema...I knew I liked you ....I too am an old hippie and a liberal and there ain't nothing wrong with that at all. And you are right they are watching us.

  • Legalize it and regulate it the same as we do alcohol. The people that smoke it now would be the same people who smoke it if it was legal. People don't abstain because it's illegal and won't start if it becomes legal. Drug dealers wouldn't be making the money and creating the violence that surrounds dealing drugs. Politicians could get out of the way also. Law enforcement agencies get lots of grants so they can fly around in helicopters and waste tax payers money. Private prisons just love the laws related to marijuana. It's a growing business. He@l yes, I'm a liberal. And an old hippie. I'm sure the drones are already watchin me.

  • Nobody is disagreeing with you, anonymous_1713. I'm just saying that it won't make any difference. Politicians will make sure marijuana is not legalized until/unless they see a clear advantage for themselves in legalizing it. They don't care about scientific evidence. They care only about what's good for them and their careers.

  • Funny, but the scientific consensus has already decided that marijuana is not dangerous, and in fact, it may hold the key to treating one of our most dreaded diseases...cancer. You can read about it here, just click on the book tor read some of its contents:

  • bjo- Isn't that the da*n truth!

  • Don't get your hopes up. Scientific evidence does not stand a chance against politics.