According to a new lawsuit against the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA], the agency is relying on scheduling standards that are arbitrary and misinterpret federal law to classify marijuana. The latest of many marijuana related lawsuits against the DEA, it has called into question the agency’s denial of prior cannabis rescheduling requests. The suit was filed in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by the Scottsdale Research Institute [SRI].
The institute requested a review of the DEA’s scheduling determinations in 2020, 2016 and 1992 when the agency denied the petitions citing statutory obligations to maintain the status of cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act. The petitioners also requested a review of the agency’s claims that marijuana must be strictly scheduled because according to the government, it currently has no acceptable medical value and has not been proven safe. Additionally, they argue that another statutory policy which the DEA says necessitates marijuana being strictly controlled is unconstitutional.
“The reason we’re filing this is because, ultimately, research has been impeded. We\re trying to get the administration to remove the roadblocks,” says Matt Zorn, an attorney representing the Scottsdale Research Institute.
The DEA states that there are five criteria a substance must meet in terms of therapeutic value, including the responsibility of the drug, the existence of controlled studies establishing safety and efficacy and whether the drug is not accepted by qualified experts. According to the attorneys representing SRI, the test has “no basis in the statute, is contrary to the statutory text, structure, history, and purpose, and departs from the original understanding of the statute and rests on flawed and outdated case law.”
They argue that the drug agency’s determination that there is a “lack of accepted safety for use of marijuana under medical supervision” is wrong because it “misconstrues the statute and is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law because the agency has improperly imported a clinical efficacy requirement.” On numerous occasions, the agency has asserted that marijuana can only be placed in either Schedule I or II, but the attorneys say the statute used to justify this assertion is “an unconstitutional delegation of legislative authority that violates separation of powers principles by granting the attorney general authority to schedule drugs on his or her discretion based on an interpretation of international treaty obligations.”
“The statute outsources regulatory power to create domestic and international organizations and subordinates domestic law to treaty obligations, conventions and protocols. Then, it entrusts the Attorney General, a member of the executive branch, to execute non-self-executing international treaty obligations, providing him no intelligible principle, instructions, standards, or criteria whatsoever against which to measure what ‘he deems most appropriate.’ This is unconstitutional.”
It is believed that the entire cannabis industry, including companies like Champignon Brands Inc. (CSE: SHRM) (OTCQB: SHRMF) (FWB: 496), will follow this case keenly since it has the potential to change the way marijuana is regulated in the U.S.
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