Court strikes down DEA cannabis rescheduling lawsuit, but hints reform is coming

182 0

An attempt to force the DEA to change its cannabis stance fails, but it may not be necessary

A petition had been filed some time ago to have the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reevaluate the scheduling of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). However, it appears to have been unsuccessful in an appeals court, as it was dismissed. However, even if this were the case, a judge indicated that the agency may soon be required to consider a policy change anyway, as the medical value of cannabis has been misunderstood all along.

The US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the military veterans and scientists seeking the scheduling review had not yet exhausted their administrative remedies, and thus the case was dismissed without even discussing the merits. The lawsuit that was filed last year takes special priority over the DEA’s 2020 denial of a marijuana rescheduling petition filed by a separate individual. In response, the agency argued that there is currently no accepted value for medical use in marijuana.

The group’s attorneys disagreed with this and proceeded to appeal that decision. They asked the court to order the DEA to initiate a formal rulemaking process. They say the agency’s actions have not only been unconstitutional but also create an obstacle to research on the medical potential of marijuana.

But in the new ruling, the three-judge panel held that “petitioners failed to exhaust their administrative remedies with the DEA.” And, while “the CSA does not, in terms, require exhaustion of administrative remedies, the panel agreed with [an earlier court ruling] that the text and structure of the CSA show that Congress sought to favor administrative decision-making that required exhaustion under the CSA,” the opinion says.