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Federal Court Asked to Compel Decision in Marijuana Scheduling Action
Date:5/24/2011

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A coalition of advocacy groups and patients yesterday filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to compel the Obama Administration to formally respond to a 9-year-old petition to have marijuana rescheduled under the provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Relief sought from the Court of Appeals would enable states with medical marijuana laws to expedite efforts to change marijuana's status under federal law and narrow the widening gap between state and federal law.  For example, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has expressed interest in having all the states that allow medical marijuana to ask the federal government to reclassify the drug.  If the Court of Appeals grants the relief requested by the CRC, Washington and other medical marijuana states would have the opportunity to seek rescheduling now in expedited proceedings, rather than wait years for a new rescheduling action to ripen.

The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC) argues that marijuana no longer satisfies the requirements of a Schedule I prohibited substance and that federal law requires that it be reclassified.  President Obama's Administration has had ample time to review the Coalition's administrative petition but has refused to take final action, violating the requirements of the Administrative Procedures Act which requires action within a reasonable period of time.

One of the requirements for maintaining a drug in Schedule I of the CSA is that it must not have accepted medical use in the United States.  Marijuana's medical use is now accepted by 16 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington) as well as the District of Columbia.

According to Jon Gettman, coordinator of the CRC, "Marijuana has accepted medical use in the Un
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SOURCE DrugScience.org
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