This paper examined The American’s for Safe Access’s petition before a federal court to have the Drug Enforcement Administration reduce its current classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. As this case goes before the court, there could be three possible outcomes: a judgment in favor of the plaintiff, the defendant, or a decision for the DEA to reexamine marijuana’s current classification. Of these three outcomes, I believed there would be sufficient evidence in my findings to support a decision by the justices to reexamine marijuana’s classification. One key component to this decision will be whether or not enough evidence exists to support marijuana’s medical use, as a drug that is used for medical treatment is typically not classified as Schedule I. Evidence for arguments from both sides was gathered from various sources, including medical publishings, the University of Washington’s School of Medicine archives, and online articles. After reviewing this information, the conclusion that enough evidence exists to reexamine marijuana’s current classification was reached.
As more and more states petition to and effectively pass legislation to legalize medical marijuana, its current classification as a highly banned substance by the Federal Drug Administration continues to serve as a harsh stance against the desires of the public for the option of marijuana as a medical treatment. The escalation of this debate in the political and federal arena appears to be overtaking the medical industries ability to determine marijuana’s harms and benefits. Perhaps the heart of this debate lies in marijuana’s current classification by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a Schedule 1 drug. Of all of the drugs on the current DEA Schedule I, list marijuana is the only one that has doctors supporting its medical uses. In light of this, does marijuana still deserve the same classification as heroin and LSD? As more states are passing this legislation and more states desire it, is it now time to reexamine marijuana’s current classification? Section 1: Case/Issue Summary
Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration rejected a petition by medical marijuana advocates to reduce its classification as a Schedule I drug, which kept marijuana in the same category as drugs such as heroin. The DEA concluded that there wasn't a consensus opinion among experts on using marijuana for medical purposes (Press, 2012). However, medical marijuana advocates have not given up in their pursuit to reduce the Justice Department and Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana. In my chosen case, the plaintiff is Americans for Safe Access and the defendant is the Justice Department. Once again, the key issue at hand is the Drug Enforcement Administration's continued classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug. In order to be classified as a Schedule I drug, the drug must be officially determined to have no medical use and a high potential for abuse (McClathy, 2012). Justice Department attorneys site an absence of available evidence of acceptable and controlled studies, and a lack of agreement among experts as to marijuana's effectiveness as a medicine, as their basis for its current Schedule I classification. Those standing against the Justice Department claim that regulators are disregarding hundreds of peer-reviewed studies on the effectiveness of medical marijuana and the subsequent medical marijuana laws passed by 16 other states.
The concerns for both the plaintiff and the defendant lie in the same key issue – is there enough acceptable medical evidence that marijuana does in fact have medicinal benefits? Studies and opinions as to which side has the most support to back its claim are widely varied, but both sides claim they have sufficient evidence to support their assertions. Take, for example, to very different statements, one from the medical book “Marijuana as Medicine?: The...
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