Rigid fear mongering politics is not exactly a new strategy when our government wants its people to be against a cause. However their dishonesty and misleading tactics do not usually face a federal trial. Thankfully, after decades of lies and ten years after Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) filed their initial petition, medical cannabis will finally have its moment in courts, where political bullying and shouting loudly will be of no use to propaganda professionals.
Several days ago it was announced that the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will be hearing oral arguments in the Americans for Safe Access v. Drug Enforcement Administration case. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) are known across the country for their efforts to bring compassion and relief but this will likely bring even greater focus and awareness to patient issues. ASA filed the lawsuit in January in response to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denying the CRC petition in July of 2011, almost a decade after it was filed.
The case is sure to excite advocates of cannabis reform as they will now get their chance to use evidence from many studies to combat the DEA’s assertion that marijuana has no medicinal value at all. Several weeks ago Dr. Igor Grant released study results in The Open Neurology Journal that challenged the federal government’s handling of marijuana policy. Dr. Grant stated the United States government is “not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking.” The study and public comments by Dr. Grant seemed to have pushed the argument forward, in a way that activists have previously been unable to do.
ASA will now have their largest audience to make their case. Even if major news outlets intentionally omit the story, millions will be paying close attention. For years many analysts cannot understand why it seems the federal government has utilized a different set of criteria when determining marijuana’s medical value. ASA will make that the focal point of their argument. In their legal brief ASA said “license to apply different criteria to marijuana than to other drugs, ignore critical scientific data, misrepresent social science research, or rely upon unsubstantiated assumptions, as the DEA has done in this case. The ASA is also trying to “require the DEA to analyze the scientific data evenhandedly,” and would seek “a hearing and findings based on the scientific record.”
It is unclear what impact the case will have on marijuana policy. Are federal courts ready to approach marijuana in a sensible way? Regardless, Americans for Safe Access must be applauded for their efforts and the case should become a national story, where the facts will not be able to hide.