President Trump was back at the White House October 6, on a steroid-induced high after receiving his experimental, government-paid healthcare treatment for Covid-19, AKA Trump Flu – which he caught due to his own neglect.
At the same time, people across the nation suffer and die for lack of affordable health care and, sometimes, due to the federal ban on medical marijuana. Voters in five states will consider changes to their marijuana laws this November, whether to reduce penalties or legalize medical or adult-use cannabis. Eleven states have already legalized adult use.
The US Supreme Court is poised to hear a case a week after the election that may strike down the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and deny Americans any medical care, let alone the level that legislators enjoy. Meanwhile, this Friday, October 9, the court will decide whether to hear a case to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act list and allow greater access to medical marijuana nationally.
Federal hypocrisy on display
The DEA controls drug schedules, profits from
seizing assets of people charged with violations.
President Trump was given a “cocktail” of drugs and steroids that are generally unavailable for other US citizen to receive and use. He was airlifted to a military hospital and boasted of having a team of “incredible” physicians attend him around the clock.
Meanwhile, most American taxpayers – who paid for Trump’s outsized medical treatments – are saddled with inadequate healthcare.
Many are growing a few cannabis plants or scrounging the underground market for a few grams of medical marijuana to help them get by. Cannabis patients have inadequate access, untreated symptoms, needless suffering and a diminished quality of life, stigmatized by and hostage to a hostile federal agency, the DEA.
In September, Last Prisoner Project attorneys filed an amicus brief in Washington v. Barr at the High Court. It calls on the Court to hear their petition and declare the current scheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act unconstitutional. In July, Washington and his fellow petitioners asked the Court to take up the case contending that the federal law unconstitutionally blocks their access to lifesaving medication. The Court has set a hearing October 9 to decide whether to hear the case.
Corruption of federal forfeiture laws
Currently, the DEA lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug, which the agency bans. Repeated court cases have agreed that the ban is unfounded but that the DEA has a power to delay action, even when the action is mandated by law. Specifically, although there is significant evidence that medical marijuana is safe, effective and medically accepted across the nation, the federal bureaucracy gets to decide when to “accept” the evidence. The law sets criteria for descheduling a substance, but not a timeline.
The DEA, which significantly benefits from money and property seized during investigation of marijuana offenses, prefers not to make the change. The agency has since 1970 rejected 10 petitions for rescheduling cannabis, waiting nine years on average to address each one, while seizing billions of dollars in asset forfeiture. Those challenge time lines overlap.
The last time the Supreme Court ruled on the issue was Ashcroft v Raich, in 2005, when it held that the DEA was empowered to block access by Congress and so it is up to Congress to change the law. Raich had argued that California’s legalization of medical marijuana rendered the CSA ban unconstitutional, however the Court held that state and federal laws are separate jurisdictions, so there is no inherent conflict.
Washington, et al., v Barr
“As counsel of record for The Last Prisoner Project,” said lead author Gary Weinstein, “I am proud to announce that we filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court of the US in a landmark marijuana federal legality case with national implications. Last Prisoner Project is supporting a petition for a writ of certiorari in the Washington v. Barr matter to challenge the administrative bias faced by medical marijuana patients who seek to declare the federal criminalization of marijuana unconstitutional.”
The “Washington” in this matter is not the state, but a cannabis patient named Marvin. The full name of the case is Marvin Washington, et al., Petitioners v. William P. Barr, Attorney General, et al.
Counsel for the patients, Michael S. Hiller of Hiller PC, recently noted that the federal government itself has implicitly recognized that cannabis is safe and medically effective. He pointed to the fact that the government owns and profits from medical cannabis patents, has approved at least one medical cannabis drug, and has acquiesced to legalization programs in 38 US states and territories.
“Criminalizing [cannabis] under the pretext that it is too dangerous to be administered even under strict medical supervision is, not just absurd, but is unconstitutionally irrational,” Hiller stated.
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