Medical Marijuana Activists Appeal to US Supreme Court

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Medical cannabis advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will ask the US Supreme Court to review the United States' classification of marijuana as more dangerous than cocaine, meth, or Oxycodone. Oakland-based ASA said Monday that they had filed a petition with the US Supreme Court to appeal a January Circuit Court decision which maintains cannabis' prohibition as one of the world's most dangerous drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies pot as a "schedule 1" narcotic with a high potential for abuse and no medical use. ASA took the DEA to court arguing the classification is wrong. Marijuana is one of the least addictive drugs on the planet and it is impossible to overdose on it. Conversely, about 30,000 Americans die every year from unintentional overdoses of Vicodin, Oxycodone, and other FDA-approved prescription drugs that are schedule 2 or lower.

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In January, the circuit court found that there is not enough research on medical uses of pot and denied ASA's petition.

ASA argues in its SCOTUS appeal that the District of Columbia Circuit Court used an unreasonable and unprecedented standard in denying ASA's petition for a re-schedule. More than two hundred peer-reviewed studies attest to cannabis' medical efficacy, ASA states. Three out of four doctors polled by the New England Journal of Medicine in May also recommended cannabis for a hypothetical breast cancer patient.

But no major drug company has tried to bring cannabis to market, the circuit court argued. ASA contends that this opinion conflicts with another circuit court ruling made in 1987.

In that ruling, the court said that FDA marketing approval of a drug does not make it a medicine. ASA also notes that federal law all but bans research on medical uses of cannabis, creating a ludicrous, unscientific Catch-22.

"The court has unreasonably raised the bar for what qualifies as an 'adequate and well-controlled' study thereby continuing the government's game of 'Gotcha'," stated Kris Hermes for ASA.

ASA has been working on the reclassification case since 2002.

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