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Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance?

  1. Beenthere2Hippie
    CALIFORNIA - Testimony regarding the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance will be taken on Monday, October 27 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the case of United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM.

    Members of Congress initially categorized cannabis as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive classification available, in 1970. Under this categorization, the plant is defined as possessing “a high potential for abuse, … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, … [and lacking] accepted safety for … use … under medical supervision.”

    Expert witnesses for the defense – including Drs. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, retired physician Phillip Denny, and Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington – will testify that the accepted science is inconsistent with the notion that cannabis meets these Schedule I criteria.

    t is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence,” Dr. Hart declared. “After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology.”

    The government intends to call Bertha Madras, Ph.D., Professor of Psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and the former Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George W. Bush.

    Additional evidence has been presented by way of declarations by Marine Sgt. Ryan Begin, a veteran of the Iraq War; Jennie Stormes, the mother of a child suffering from Dravet Syndrome – a pediatric form of epilepsy that has been shown in preliminary trials to respond to specific compounds in the cannabis plant; James Nolan, Ph.D. an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University and a former crime analyst for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Christopher Conrad, noted cannabis author, archivist, and cultivation expert.

    This is the first time in recent memory that a federal judge has granted an evidentiary hearing on a motion challenging the statute which classifies cannabis to be one of the most dangerous illicit substances in the nation. Attorneys Zenia Gilg and Heather Burke, both members of the NORML Legal Committee, contend that the federal government’s present policies facilitating the regulated distribution of cannabis in states such as Colorado and Washington can not be reconciled with the insistence that the plant is deserving of its Schedule I status under federal law.

    They write: “In effect, the action taken by the Department of Justice is either irrational, or more likely proves the assertions made in Part I (B) of this Brief: marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance.”

    Speaking recently in a taped interview with journalist Katie Couric, United States Attorney General Eric Holder expressed the need to revisit cannabis’ Schedule I placement under federal law. Holder said, “[T]he question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that I think we need to ask ourselves, and use science as the basis for making that determination.”

    The testimonial part of the evidentiary hearing in United States v. Pickard, et. al., is expected to last three days.




    by Paul Armentano - NORML Blog/Oct. 20, 2014
    http://blog.norml.org/2014/10/20/fe...s-as-one-of-the-nations-most-dangerous-drugs/
    Photo: medicaldispensarylaw.com
    Newshawk Crew

    About Author

    Beenthere2Hippie
    BT2H is a retired news editor and writer from the NYC area who, for health reasons, retired to a southern US state early, and where BT2H continues to write and to post drug-related news to DF.

Comments

  1. TheBigBadWolf
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    oh wow.
    A federal judge asking questions like that one. That's good news.

    Definitely cannabis does not match the criteria for Sched. I. Now the question is what does that mean for all the peope who, because of this misscheduling, are and were suffering in jail for possession of a Sched I substance, which never was justified.
    Will they ever be rehabilitated?

    BBW
  2. Diverboone
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    I do not nor would if legal smoke marijuana. Personally it's scheduling bears no effect upon me, not withstanding the portion of my taxes applied to enforce prohibition.

    With that said, do we or have we as society gained from marijuana prohibition? Can someone name a positive gain to be reaped from this? Who in their right mind thinks marijuana is a sch 1? If those that are elected are this foolish we must be too for electing them. Is it not absurd that tobacco is a legal unscheduled substance but marijuana is a sch 1?

    I follow one of the researches named as an expert witness for the defense. He has published some controversial research and articles. His research results does not have a predetermined outcome, as a result of Government/moral pressure. For this reason many dismiss him as a lunatic. I would be curious as to whether the Judge will be impressed or will he dismiss as other have, Dr Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City.
  3. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    Personally, I see this as great news, as it represent the "little guy" that is in the right standing up to the Federal Government's status quo--kind of David facing Goliath--and I am betting that David will win. And if that takes place, the Federal Government will have to start to bend at the knees and rewrite laws accordingly.

    We will find out next week, Oct. 27th, how this all evolves.
  4. Diverboone
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    That's a good analogy. Dr Hart is one of the few with his accreditation to "buck the system" so to speak. I tend to agree with most all his conclusion. But since his conclusions are not inline with what the Government want to project, it has been difficult for him to fund his research. I hope the more well known he becomes, the funding will come to.
  5. 5-HT2A
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    It would blow my mind if the judge somehow ruled that it has to be Schedule III or something and ordered the DEA to comply. Not likely though!
  6. Beenthere2Hippie
    Will a Federal District Court Judge's Decision Kick Off Rescheduling of US Weed?

    [IMGR=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41303&stc=1&d=1414335836[/IMGR]CALIFORNIA - Testimony regarding the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance will be taken on Monday, October 27 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the case of United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM. Members of Congress initially categorized cannabis as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive classification available, in 1970. Under this categorization, the plant is defined as possessing “a high potential for abuse, … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, … [and lacking] accepted safety for … use … under medical supervision.”

    Expert witnesses for the defense – including Drs. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, retired physician Phillip Denny, and Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington – will testify that the accepted science is inconsistent with the notion that cannabis meets these Schedule I criteria.

    t is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence,” Dr. Hart declared. “After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology.”

    The government intends to call Bertha Madras, Ph.D., Professor of Psychobiology at Harvard Medical School and the former Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under President George W. Bush.

    Additional evidence has been presented by way of declarations by Marine Sgt. Ryan Begin, a veteran of the Iraq War; Jennie Stormes, the mother of a child suffering from Dravet Syndrome – a pediatric form of epilepsy that has been shown in preliminary trials to respond to specific compounds in the cannabis plant; James Nolan, Ph.D. an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at West Virginia University and a former crime analyst for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Christopher Conrad, noted cannabis author, archivist, and cultivation expert.

    This is the first time in recent memory that a federal judge has granted an evidentiary hearing on a motion challenging the statute which classifies cannabis to be one of the most dangerous illicit substances in the nation. Attorneys Zenia Gilg and Heather Burke, both members of the NORML Legal Committee, contend that the federal government’s present policies facilitating the regulated distribution of cannabis in states such as Colorado and Washington can not be reconciled with the insistence that the plant is deserving of its Schedule I status under federal law.

    They write: “In effect, the action taken by the Department of Justice is either irrational, or more likely proves the assertions made in Part I (B) of this Brief: marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance.”

    Speaking recently in a taped interview with journalist Katie Couric, United States Attorney General Eric Holder expressed the need to revisit cannabis’ Schedule I placement under federal law. Holder said, “[T]he question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that I think we need to ask ourselves, and use science as the basis for making that determination.”

    The testimonial part of the evidentiary hearing in United States v. Pickard, et. al., is expected to last three days.

    Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and the co-author of Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink.



    Alternet.com/Oct, 26, 2014
    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/feder...l-law-classify-pot-one-nations-most-dangerous
    Photo:
    Newshawk Crew
  7. Alfa
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    How does this fit in the Pickard case?
    See: Pickard LSD Case
  8. Beenthere2Hippie
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    According to the writer NORML's Paul Armentano's first paragraph:

    "Testimony regarding the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance will be taken on Monday, October 27 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California in the case of United States v. Pickard, et. al., No. 2:11-CR-0449-KJM. Members of Congress initially categorized cannabis as a Schedule I substance, the most restrictive classification available, in 1970. Under this categorization, the plant is defined as possessing “a high potential for abuse, … no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, … [and lacking] accepted safety for … use … under medical supervision.”

    I'm assuming, which is all I can do from reading this, that there is a tie to the Pickard case since court document mentions Schedule I v. Pickard, et. al in the first section of the above paragraph.

    Am I wrong in that? (link: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/feder...l-law-classify-pot-one-nations-most-dangerous)
  9. hookedonhelping
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    Other than the way the U.S government sentences people convicted with federal drug charges, it has nothing to do with Pickard case.

    The U.S government equates all drugs to cannabis. When I was arrested and convicted they equated my crime of manufacturing MDMA to possession and distribution to the amount of over a ton of marijuana, even though only a kilogram of marijuana was found in my possession at the time of my arrest. It makes absolutely no sense, but I suppose if the question you are asking is in regards to the formulary chart, then it applies to EVERYONE convicted of a federal drug charge, myself included, not just Pickard.
  10. Beenthere2Hippie
    Three-Day Federal Hearing on Marijuana's Schedule I Classification Begins

    [IMGR=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41342&stc=1&d=1414456180[/IMGR]LOS ANGELES — In a case that some say could change the relationship between the states and the federal government regarding marijuana, a US district judge in Sacramento, Calif., has granted a three-day hearing starting Monday that challenges the federal ban on the substance.

    At issue is the classification of marijuana by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I drug, established in the early 1970s. That is the same classification given to heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. The status was reaffirmed in 2011 and upheld in a federal appeals court last year.

    The hearing stems from a criminal case involving several men who were charged with growing marijuana on national forest land. The current evidentiary hearing was granted by Judge Kimberly Mueller after two San Francisco attorneys filed a motion last November to dismiss the charges on grounds that the indictment is unconstitutional. The defense attorneys are arguing that "marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance" and shouldn't have been used to target their client.

    “It’s earth-shattering to even have this hearing,” says Adam Levine, adjunct professor at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla. “The fact that the judge is willing to hear this case means she is willing to question if the DEA’s original classification is constitutional.” He puts the chances of such a finding at “better than even.”

    According to Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana-related group Americans for Safe Access, the case could affect pending ones in Vermont, Colorado, and Washington – where states filed petitions to reschedule marijuana for medical use in 2011. And it could have bearing on the raids conducted last week at two medical marijuana dispensaries in West Hollywood and Westwood, Calif.: It could remove the legal premise underpinning the raids.

    “So far, the DEA has given no explanation for these raids,” says Mr. Hermes, adding that both facilities operate in accordance with local and state laws. But he is encouraged that Judge Mueller is going to look at evidence, which he says courts have refused to do for decades in cases that his organization has been involved with.

    Others are more skeptical about the current hearing changing anything, saying the standard that has to be met in court is very high. “This constitutional challenge to the federal government’s regulation of marijuana is unlikely to succeed,” says Michael Moreland, vice dean of the Villanova University School of Law near Philadelphia, in an e-mail. To win, he says, the defendants have to show that the current classification of marijuana is unreasonable.

    “That’s a very high legal standard to meet. Advocates of legalized marijuana have a better chance convincing Congress or the DEA to change the classification of marijuana. There is a process already in place to reclassify a drug, and I think federal courts will be reluctant to interfere with that,” he writes.

    Others note that any ruling in this case would relate solely to the specific defendants in the case and could become broader only if appealed to higher courts.

    Stanford law professor Robert MacCoun agrees that the case isn’t as strong as some may hope. “If we were starting from scratch, I very much doubt we'd put marijuana in Schedule I. But now that it's there, it isn't easy to move it out,” he writes in an e-mail.

    All say that more would be known about the possible medical benefits of marijuana if the federal government had made it easier to study the drug scientifically. Now, they say, the question will be less the real or perceived benefits of marijuana and more its potential for danger.

    Professor Levine and others see marijuana as less dangerous than other drugs on the Schedule I list, noting the fatal consequences often attached to heroin, for example. There are arguably greater dangers connected with some non-Schedule I drugs, too, including alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription drugs.

    For a change in classification to happen, Professor MacCoun thinks more public acceptance is required, reflected in new lawmakers and laws. “Perhaps court cases can resolve this,” he says. “But I think it is more likely to happen if and when state legalization spreads far enough to force us to confront the contradictions.”





    By Daniel Wood - The Christian Science Monitor/Oct. 26, 2014
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justic...-reclassify-marijuana-US-judge-holds-hearing?
    Photo: tokeofthetown.com
    Newshawk Crew
  11. TheBigBadWolf
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    If reason alone is not enough for a rescheduling what is this whole motion worth?

    Thats the main flaw in demogracy, the primacy of the (uneducated) people's majority.

    Reason should not be voted away by any how uneducated ever population. This is what has happened for racial reasons since the 1920s in US and with US' corporate power imposed on all the world since the 70s.

    This is not at all about marijuana.
    It is a case of how 'majorities' impose their views on minorities - a case of civil rights in general more than 'just' a discussion about the re-scheduling of a substance.

    BBW
  12. radiometer
    Re: Federal District Court Judge Asks: Should Marijuana Remain a Schedule I Substance

    Wrong Pickard, Alfa. Brian Pickard.
  13. Beenthere2Hippie
    The Word "Medicine" on Trial As Marijuana Federal Hearing Continues

    [IMGL=white]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=41397&stc=1&d=1414704976[/IMGL]UNITED STATES - Competing definitions of the word ‘medicine’ clashed in the fourth day of hearings over the federal scheduling of cannabis, a day which witnessed fiery exchanges between a NORML lawyer and a government expert.

    Dr. Bertha Madras, the only government expert witness to take the stand in the evidentiary hearings scheduled by Judge Kimberly Mueller in the Eastern District of California for October 24-30, boldly asserted that while other substances may have demonstrable therapeutic benefits, only drugs which met extremely strict standards promulgated by the Food and Drug Administration could properly be called ‘medicine.’ The question is central to cannabis’ continued classification as Schedule I under the federal Controlled Substances Act, because it is the only one of the five schedules reserved exclusively for drugs lacking any medical value.

    NORML attorney Zenia Gilg wasted little time attacking Dr. Madras’ expertise, pointing out within the first five minutes of her cross-examination that Madras, who has a PhD in biochemistry and served as an addiction adviser to the George W. Bush presidency, had never actually treated any patients or directly observed the effects of cannabis on humans. Instead Madras, who also teaches at Harvard Medical School, testified that she based her cannabis expertise entirely on the fact that she had “read the literature” on the subject. This experience directly contrasts with that of Dr. Carl Hart and Dr. Philip Denney, both expert witnesses for the defense who based their testimony in opposition to continued Schedule I classification on a combination of literature review and actual clinical experience (Dr. Hart directly studies the effects of cannabis on human subjects in his laboratory, and Dr. Denney attended to over 12,000 patients in his career as a physician). At times, her lack of firsthand knowledge became painfully obvious, especially when she claimed that the THC potency of cannabis found in dispensaries could be “between 1 and 30 percent.”

    Despite knowing any first-hand knowledge of the human effects of her opinions, Dr. Madras confidently testified that plant-based cannabis was simply not medicine – although her definition of the term bordered at times on the tautological. For example, when Gilg questioned Madras about a study co-authored by Dr. Hart which showed that plant cannabis and Marinol (synthetic THC in pill form) were found to be equally effective in treating the symptoms of AIDS wasting syndrome, she quibbled about the study design, complaining that she’d “like to see how they did the side effect profile.” Even so, just a few minutes later, when attempting to explain the supposed superiority of single-ingredient medications over plant-based medications, she referred again to the Hart study, claiming with a winning smile that it “shows that single-chemical extracts can be just as effective. That’s a good take-home lesson.” Curiously, she made no mention of any supposed limitations of the Hart study the second time she discussed it.

    Madras held steadfastly to her assertion that single-ingredient medications were categorically superior to plant-derived therapies, applying the logic even to the individual compounds found in cannabis resin. In particular, she called the promise of the therapeutic benefit of cannabidiol (CBD) “tantalizing,” even while calling plant cannabis “completely different” on the basis that “the interaction of cannabinoids is different than the action of individual cannabinoids,” an apparent reference to the entourage effect, the process by which the various components of cannabis resin apparently work together synergistically in a way that’s more effective than the sum of their individual parts. Indeed, she went so far as to admit that the entourage effect is “helpful,” yet continued to insist that only single-ingredient drugs could be medicine. At this point, Gilg appeared to catch Madras in a contradiction, eliciting testimony in which the professor said that she “wanted to see more studies of the individual cannabinoids” on the basis that some of them seemed to have “promise” as single-ingredient isolates. Yet when Gilg addressed Madras’ attention to about a dozen studies researching the very individual cannabinoids the witness had said she wanted to see, Madras was forced to admit that although she was aware that the studies in question existed, she had never actually read them.

    Gilg attempted to rebut Madras’ claim that no adequate studies showing the medical benefits of cannabis existed by showing her the results of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials – which Madras herself called the “gold standard” of medical research – which revealed significant improvement for cannabis patients in various ways. Nevertheless, Madras dismissed nearly all of them, complaining that only experienced cannabis smokers had been recruited for the majority of the trials and insisting that because those studies hadn’t also included “naive users” in the drug population, their results were invalidated for everyone. “Does that mean,” retorted Gilg, “that the FDA only approves a drug if it believes it is useful for a majority of people?” Madras stumbled and stammered noticeably before explaining that she only meant to say that she would have preferred a more stringent study design.

    At the end of a contentious afternoon session Madras’ cross-examination remained incomplete, and the parties adjourned to resume Thursday morning for the hearing’s final day. Dr. Madras stepped down from the witness stand and, as she approached the prosecutor’s table, Assistant US Attorney Richard Bender could be overheard asking the professor, “Is your brain in the mood to be buzzed?” – an apparent invitation to share alcoholic drinks.

    Madras, true to form to the very end, declined.



    The Gazelle/Oct. 30., 2014
    http://pixelusmaximus.com/gazelle/category/reddit/
    Photo: http://www.c-span.org
    Newshawk Crew
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