Prohibitionists to Defend Schedule I Classification of Marijuana in Court Today

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Last Friday, a Federal Court in Sacramento, California began a historic hearing; U.S. District Judge Kimberlly Mueller is hearing evidence regarding the Schedule I classification of marijuana by the Federal Government of the United States of America. The hearing has already extended past the original estimate of three days.

Defense attorneys for a group accused of illegally growing marijuana requested the hearing, saying that marijuana should not be a Schedule I substance. When prosecutors failed to convince Mueller before its commencement that the hearing should not have been granted, US Attorney Gregory Broderick asked Mueller four times to vacate the hearing, but she would not.

According to reports from CANORML, Dr. Gregory Carter was cross-examined on the first day of the hearing, October 24th, 2014. He reportedly acquitted himself well despite Broderick’s obvious attempts to undermine his credibility.

On Monday, October 28th, 2014, Dr. Carl Hart and Dr. Phillip Denney spoke as witnesses for the defense regarding the medical uses of cannabis. During Dr. Hart’s examination, The Leaf Online reports, Broderick asked about the current edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V). He was shocked to be told that “tolerance and withdrawal from cannabis are ‘normal symptoms to be expected of legitimate medical cannabis use’ in states where it is legal.

Hart had similar issues when questioning Dr. Phillip Denney, who cited a survey by the New England Journal of Medicine that had found 76% would prescribe cannabis to patients with metastatic breast cancer. Broderick attempted to imply the likely terminal nature of the disease could have influenced that decision, and Denney rebuffed the attempt by stating that the survey still shows that 76% of the doctors surveyed felt marijuana has medicinal value.

Dr. Bertha Madras will be speaking in court today (as she did yesterday) in an attempt to justify the federal government’s Schedule I classification of cannabis. Defense attorney Zenia Gilg from the NORML Legal Committee has been cross-examining Dr. Madras since yesterday, and that cross-examination will continue today.

The Schedule I classification of cannabis means, among other things, that the federal government does not recognize any medical benefits from marijuana and that the substance poses great risk of abuse.

So far, the experts speaking on behalf of the defense have reportedly done an amazing job of presenting the case for the removal of cannabis from its Schedule I classification. Now Gilg will have the opportunity to dismantle the expert case for continued prohibition. Best of luck to her today in court!

For previous articles by Ladybud Magazine about federal marijuana prohibition and the battle to end it, click here.

Photo Credit: United States Fish and Wildlife Service under public domain via Wikimedia Commons