Judge in US de­clines to re­move mar­i­juana from list of danger­ous drugs

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY DON THOMP­SON

A fed­eral judge in Cal­i­for­nia de­clined Wed­nes­day to re­move mar­i­juana from the list of most danger­ous drugs.

U. S. Dis­trict Judge Kim­berly Mueller is­sued the rul­ing in re­sponse to a mo­tion by de­fense at­tor­neys to dis­miss charges in a case that au­thor­i­ties say in­volves a mar­i­juana grow­ing op­er­a­tion. It will likely be ap­pealed.

The case was un­usual in that Mueller de­cided to con­sider mar­i­juana’s des­ig­na­tion as a Sched­ule 1 drug. Sched­ule 1 drugs in­clude heroin and LSD and are de­fined as drugs with no ac­cepted med­i­cal use and a high po­ten­tial for abuse.

Mar­i­juana’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion as a Sched­ule 1 drug has brought states that have le­gal­ized med­i­cal mar­i­juana into con­flict with fed­eral au­thor­i­ties, lead­ing to raids on grow­ers and dis­pen­saries that ap­pear to be op­er­at­ing legally un­der state law.

Mueller s aid dur­ing a 15- minute court hear­ing that she was ini­tially pre­pared to grant the de­fense’s mo­tion but then de­cided from the facts of this par­tic­u­lar case that “this is not the court and this is not the time.”

She said a writ­ten rul­ing would be is­sued by the end of the week.

At­tor­neys for the de­fen­dants had ar­gued that mar­i­juana was far less harm­ful than legal drugs, and its clas­si­fi­ca­tion as a Sched­ule 1 drug was ar­bi­trary in vi­o­la­tion of the con­sti­tu­tion. They also said the gov­ern­ment en­forced mar­i­juana laws un­evenly, al­low­ing its dis­tri­bu­tion in states that have le­gal­ized it while crack­ing down else­where.

Pros­e­cu­tors said mar­i­juana met all the cri­te­ria for a Sched­ule 1 drug, say­ing it has no ac­cepted med­i­cal use and a high po­ten­tial for abuse. They also ar­gued that Mueller did not have ju­ris­dic­tion to con­sider how mar­i­juana was clas­si­fied.

Mueller held a fact- find­ing hear­ing about the drug’s clas­si­fi­ca­tion last year that in­cluded pros­e­cu­tion and de­fense ex­perts who tes­ti­fied about mar­i­juana.

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