Last January, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Washington D.C. Circuit did what everyone predicted it would do and upheld marijuana's longstanding inclusion on the federal government's list of Schedule One narcotics. The ruling came in the wake of a lawsuit filed by Americans For Safe Access (ASA), which presented numerous recent studies suggesting that marijuana has medical benefits and thus should be regulated instead of prohibited.
But ASA hasn't given up yet. Yesterday, the group filed a brief challenging the court's ruling that marijuana has no medicinal value–and this time, ASA's anti-prohibition argument goes straight to the hypocrisy at the center of the government's war on medical weed.
Although the Obama administration has wasted $300 million fighting medical marijuana in states like California in the past four years–and there are still thousands of people behind bars for marijuana-related crimes, the government is clearly losing the war. A majority of Americans support legalizing marijuana, and Colorado and Washington states have now legalized pot for recreational use, while similar measures are in the works in other states.
In its original Jan. 22 ruling, the federal appeals court disregarded the many medical studies that ASA cited in its lawsuits, for the stunning reason that none of them were Stage 2 or 3 clinical trials, which are the kinds of studies companies carry out shortly before bringing a medication to the market–something that's a little tricky to do when the product your testing is illegal under federal law.
As Yossarian once observed, “That's some Catch, that Catch 22.”
ASA's Joe Elford put it this way: “To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise . . . The Court has unreasonably raised the bar for what qualifies as an 'adequate and well-controlled' study, thereby continuing the government's game of 'Gotcha.'”