Court dismisses challenge to federal cannabis classification

Posted on February 27th, 2018 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

A judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York on Feb. 26 dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Schedule I classification for cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. Judge Alvin Hellerstein granted the government's motion to dismiss because the plaintiffs failed to exhaust all administrative remedies prior to initiating the suit. The "exhaustion rule" requires "that parties exhaust prescribed administrative remedies before seeking relief from federal courts."

The plaintiffs presented the case as a constitutional issue, arguing that marijuana's Schedule I classification lacks rational basis and therefore violates due process. The court, however, rejected their argument as a means to bypass the DEA's authority to first review the complaint. The court reasoned that, though the plaintiffs presented the claim as a constitutional issue, they "seek the same relief as would be available in an administrative forum—a change in marijuana's scheduling classification—based on the same factors that guide the DEA's reclassification determination." (Jurist, Feb. 27)

Note that while these particular plaintiffs—including the Cannabis Cutlural Association—may not have petitioned the Drug Enforcement Administration, others certainly have, only to be met with intransigence. Advocates are meanwhile also pursuing legislative remedies in Congress.

Photo by the Mad Pothead 


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