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Supremes not the place to find reform

Disappointing, though probably not surprising… US Supreme Court Rejects Marijuana Reclassification Appeal

The US Supreme Court Monday declined to hear an appeal from medical marijuana advocacy groups who had challenged the DEA’s decision to maintain marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the category reserved for the most dangerous substances.

The court denied in summary order a petition for a writ of certiorari from the groups, led by Americans for Safe Access, which had sought Supreme Court review of a DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the DEA’s ruling that a change in marijuana’s classification required the Food and Drug Administration’s recognition of acceptable medical uses for the drugs.

Advocates of rescheduling marijuana have been trying to do so for more than four decades, but have been thwarted by DEA delays and intransigence. This was the third formal rescheduling effort to be blocked by DEA decision making.

It’s clear that the Court is going to defer to the government whenever possible in this area, and as long as the DEA has some kind of internal appeal process (no matter how dishonestly self-serving and delay inducing), the Supremes won’t interfere.

I gave up expecting any kind of judicial integrity from the court following the opinion in Raich. And, after all, this is a court that has as a prominent member someone who still believes in the literal devil.

With the executive branch having too many reasons (politically and financially) to keep demonizing marijuana, and Congress still being too spineless to do anything, it seems clear that continuing the push for reform through the states and through the grass roots is still the best approach to achieving reform.

Note: Kevin and I had a little discussion about the marijuana schedule issue last night.

Kevin: US Supreme Court rejects the reclassification of marijuana – read why reclassification is a lame issue anyway: http://t.co/qtQnyOLQrR

Me: @KevinSabet Tell that to Peter McWilliams… oh, you can’t— he’s dead.

Kevin: @DrugWarRant I didn’t say marijuana has no medical properties. It’s a matter of how we deliver them, but then again you’d rather misconstrue

Me: @KevinSabet McWilliams died, in part, because he wasn’t allowed to say the words “medical marijuana” in fed court, hence Schedule matters.

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28 comments to Supremes not the place to find reform

  • Rick Steeb

    The black-robed clowns defer to the DEA’s “judgment” on the subject, as if the DEA’s #1 raison d’etre / meal-ticket weren’t the eradication of Earth’s most beneficial plant species.

    The utter absurdity that a non-toxic, medically useful herb has to pass pharmaceutical muster to achieve the same degree of legality as the carcinogenic and violently addictive herb tobacco is mind boggling. “Schedule I Cannabis” is a Damned lie on its face.

    The way forward is legalization, state by state. Hit this HARD:

    http://www.cchi2014.org/donate.html

  • claygooding

    “” I didn’t say marijuana has no medical properties.””

    Since marijuana does have medical properties it should be rescheduled because schedule 1 requires it to have no accepted medical uses. 20 states,thousands of people and hundreds of doctors is an accepted medical use.

  • primus

    Once again demonstrating that the US has taken the best Real Estate in the world and the best system of government yet devised and turning it into dreck. Meanwhile, we Canucks have some of the worst Real Estate, worst weather, largest mosquitos and arguably the worst system of democracy (designed for a small, densely populated country, England)and turned it into one of the best places in the world to live (according to the UN). No system can remain unperverted if the people don’t pay attention.

  • Cannabis

    Kevin Sabet wants to be ONDCP Director so bad he can taste it. Unfortunately for him, and fortunately for us, Kevin has made a lot of public statements that can easily be dredged up and used against him.

  • divadab

    Good article, Pete. I think you;re too gentle on the Supremes – IMHO Raich, Citizens United, and now this decision expose the corruption of the judicial branch (along with the others, where all “representatives” have their jobs purchased for them by rich bribers). DO they not realize that their blatant corruption diminishes respect for the entire government?

    Terrible. SHameful. Makes me want to quit funding the whole mess.

    • A Critic

      “Terrible. SHameful. Makes me want to quit funding the whole mess.”

      What makes you think Sabet + company is going to let you quit funding them?

  • allan

    there’s a bit of the crux of the biscuit here…

    “I didn’t say marijuana has no medical properties. It’s a matter of how we deliver them”

    What?

    The whole of the argument re mmj is basic – it’s medicinal, or not. Obviously Kevin ‘Puckerbutt’ Sabet wants the lie to rule. The CSA, the DEA… the lie and the liars. The bureaucracy of Prohibition, once engaged on their territory of administrative rule, fight from a singular surface (think mobius) and all roads lead to the same place – the lie rules.

    In all the years I’ve been at this, the one avenue the Prohibs don’t and won’t touch, the road they will never travel down, is discussion of the WOD casualties like Peter McWilliams.

    Those deaths hang directly over the heads of all those – like Kev-kev – who have maintained this pustulant, death bringing prohibition.

    It’s not hard to pick a few WOD victims, look at the details of their deaths and become utterly nauseated. And McWilliams’ particularly so. And look what kevin did with Pete’s mention… he never repeated McWilliams’ name and made a prompt turn away from it.

    Perhaps we need our own Dia de los Muertes, la Guerra Contra las Drogas versión, perhaps some street theater type stuff when we (as in the people) march on DC

    I just had a thought that Pete’s drug war victims list might need an entry named “Truth”…

    • War Vet

      “I didn’t say marijuana has no medical properties. It’s a matter of how we deliver them”

      Call me old school, but I’d personally like my cannabis delivered by a male –age 35-70 who wants to talk about Albert Camus, Arthur Rimbaud and Knut Hamsun . . . and I’d like my cannabis in either a jar or plastic bag that labels me as an Iraqi War Veteran. I’d also take a female as well (I will not discus Plath before getting stoned . . . I do not stomach suicides while having one’s children asleep in the bedroom), but anyone who can talk Hunter S. Thompson and Saul Bellow will work just as well.

      My wife on the other hand could only have it delivered by someone who loves Avon, Jimmy Buffett, cruise ships, Harry Potter and Hello Kitty (which is a must these days).

      I hope that can clarify it for Kevin on how medical marijuana needs to be delivered.

      Kevin’s too busy watching Honey Booboo reruns –how could he have ever heard of McWilliams.

  • Servetus

    Sabet: “Don’t the seriously ill deserve at least that much ?”

    Kevin Sabet has worked throughout his career to prevent cannabinoids from ever being used medically. His medical altruism is a façade.

    Sabet expects everyone to believe the federal government is infallible, and therefore worthy of its own despotism. According to Kevin, people who can obtain cannabinoids in no other way but from marijuana are supposed to submit to government intransigence even if it kills them.

    The medical marijuana business arose because the federal government, the FDA and Big Pharma failed in their duties to American citizens. Under international law and the Geneva Conventions, citizens are not required to violate their own moral standards, even if a fascist or theocratic government legally demands they do so. Under internationalism, people can, in effect, legitimately break the law if the law is deemed illegitimate and harmful. There are few laws more illegitimate and harmful than those designed to eliminate recreational drugs and oppress their consumers. It is therefore the duty of every American citizen to break the drug laws while demanding their repeal.

    • allan

      amen to that…

      • HR 499 End the Federal Prohibition of Marijuana Act of 2013 has 17 co-sponsors, needs many more. Get cannabis off the CSA and away from the DEAth department. Nabilone, a synthetic cannabinoid, was FDA approved in 1985 for Eli Lilly who maketed it only 1 year and then quit selling it until they eventually unloaded the rights to another co. who started marketing again in 2006. because Lilly couldnt sell as much of their side-effect ridden crap along with Nabilone (Cesamet) they chose profits over patients.

  • DdC

    This is neglect not a ruling on cannabis’ medicinal value. The court didn’t uphold the scheduling. They basically agreed with the lower court that the law was arbitrary and capricious but the DEA wasn’t when enforcing it. Its all a mound of rotten peanuts blaming each other for the stink. Falling back on previous loopholes and never dealing with the issues of scheduling or if cannabis has medicinal value.

    Sativex has approval in 11 countries with 11 more on the horizon. Its pretty clear what their motives are. Smokeless pharmaceutical cannabis will be the medicine. Possibly for recreational purposes under the Liquor Control Boards or even ATFE. Plus the patents on cannabinoids will keep it with Big Pharma. Without smoking. That is the kicker they have to avoid to keep it scheduled off the free market. So far they have.

    This latest ruling could give Obama/Bidon the weapons to keep raiding and pillaging dispensaries. But more than that, for the fossil fools, trees, meat and monsanto cotton it will keep Hemp from being grown here. It’s always been a racketeering project with no logical basis keeping it outlawed since Nixon rejected his own Commission’s re-evaluation of previous Commissions concluding it was not a schedule#1 category substance.

    The war wages on and Incremental retardation will continue with states bartering civil rights away. Raich has already established the Commerce Clause as the law of the land concerning selling cannabis. Less than 100 plants is the criteria for escaping mandatory minimums. The Feds are not going after individuals unless they sell it or grow enough to be considered intent to sell. So states have that jurisdiction. States are rushing to limit amounts and conditions to keep state enforcement busting individuals. Except where the state law permits it. CA. That’s the only state without restrictions. Try growing an ounce or less.

    When the people realize this is true Fascism with catch 22’s and diversions to keep the truth from the light. Maybe we can start to actually fight back in this war on innocents. As I see it the legalizers are lawyers working for the same BAR as the prosecutors/persecutors. Following their rules designed to perpetuate profits for Wall St and LEO’s prison industrial complex. Keep competition from Big Pharma and organics away from Big Ag profits. Has been all along, but sometimes American’s ego’s mixed with a healthy dose of dumbing down can’t see it.

    Keeps Americans from believing we can actually elect assholes. Always the other guy. This is just another example of bait and switch. Same with the zoning laws forbidding dispensaries, but states can’t outlaw dispensaries or bust them if zoned correctly. CA has tweaked prop 215 several times to add limits and the CA Supremes have rejected them and has rejected giving LEO power to enforce Federal laws. If the Supremes would have taken the case it would have ended the same since the CSA iS designed to be arbitrary and capricious. Why decide it again?

    The AG Holder can reschedule cannabis in all forms any time he choses, so can Obama. So could have all the AG’s since Nixon and all of the presidents. So I think it is clear if we want cannabis removed as a scheduled drug it is going to take more than lawyers. We as consumers can shrink the beast but trying to kill it within the present infrastructure has been negative, because it is the system that is rotten and trying to use it to remove the stench is impossible. Only when we circumvent the rotten system can we win. Not by force. They have the big guns and drones. But by locally buying products and bypassing the Walmartians. If they leave us alone to grow hemp we can put a bigger dent in their fascism growing and producing locally, without DC or Wall St. Not that I expect Americans to come together to do the right thing. So it will continue.

    I suspect if this Supremest’ decision is seen as a victory proving cannabis has no medicinal value, which it did not. Then Obama or the next idiot might take on states and raid Hemp fields. Otherwise maybe the states can prove its true value and without Congress or the courts, just get rid of a bad law. The right thing to do isn’t how the government has acted in my lifetime. Not without the people and most of them get their info from the TV. But then again I have always gotten my patients Ganja and I haven’t missed a toke since 1969. I really can’t tell the difference between joints that are quasi legal and those flat out banned as I’ve been smoking all these years. Don worry, be happy. When government starts acting civil and nice. That is when to worry.

    In summery. This Ganjawar is a serious of checks and balances designed for one purpose. To keep cannabis in all forms a schedule#1 narcotic. That means it can’t have or in their summation doesn’t have value medicinally or recreationally as it is considered a menace. Such a menace it makes people who smoke it unaware of the dangers. To the point they want it legally available. To protect the citizens from themselves, these chain of events must take place.

    The IOM report concluded cannabis has medicinal value in 1999. Re-evaluating the same as the Shafer commission, that is all they can conclude. That evidence would remove cannabis as a scheduled drug if it ever reached the FDA.

    So to avoid that, the HHS has to evaluate the IOM and if they find it true. Then they are obligated to have it start testing with the FDA. It is still sitting with the HHS since Shalalgans file 13nd it. Until the FDA agrees that it has medicinal value, it has none. With no medicinal value it can not be prescribed. So this latest farce only stalled it and wasted time and money trying to act as if it was just another law. This is not a law to protect the people. It is a bad law to protect profits and it spits on everything the Constitution stands for. That is what the American public and politicians have done for over 40 years. So it you want to remove it to sell then it has to be by the AG or President. With integrity, good luck with that.

    • allan

      PBS Frontline (2011): Football High

      football, a bigger danger to our kids than pot

      football players should be encouraged to consume ganja (contrary to what the asshat writing at Duncan’s link says)

      • allan

        PBS Frontline (Oct 2013): League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis

        Ricky Williams has always been right…

        and a phrase to remember, repetitive subconcussive blows

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          I’ve recently started using the organized football leagues in schools as a way to point out the utter hypocrisy of the prohibitionist crowd.

          People’s brains aren’t finished developing until a person is somewhere south of age 25. How the heck can the prohibitionists claim that they care about those brains and give football a free pass? Getting whacked upside the head is good for those brains?

        • allan

          I just watched both of the PBS shows… the point I took away from today’s program, League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis, and what stood out most to me is the effort put into the NFL’s denial of science, somehow it had a familiar ring to it.

          Denying science is big business, reallly big business…. if we don’t stop denying science, we’re fucked. That we have massive gummint bureaucracies dedicated to denying science is pretty damn distressing.

          And along Duncan’s line… after repetitive head whacks (which is repeated traumatic stress, or repetitive subconcussive blows) especially an entire career’s worth from teen to 30 something adult, people will also be suffering PTSD just as any combat soldier, rape or beating victim…

        • darkcycle

          Trauma from physical injury and emotional trauma are two different things. PTSD comes from affective trauma, not physical trauma, although affective trauma may be a result of physical trauma. It’s confusing that the term is used both ways. Highly complete emergency wards are called “trauma centers”, but they don’t deal with PTSD.

  • kaptinemo

    Imagine…what happens the moment that the Federal government admits its’ culpability in failing to use the only real standard – science – in determining the validity of maintaining cannabis prohibition. Which this suit would have laid bare for all to see.

    Imagine…after that admission, the resulting tsunami of litigation from every person whose life was destroyed by the cannabis prohibition laws.

    This is not idle speculation; you may be assured that such a scenario has been considered by those in power behind the scenes. They know that such an admission is what the forces of prohibition, and the FedGov itself, are terrified of. Millions upon millions of lawsuits, all justly claiming recompense for lives destroyed by government lies…told by government-sanctioned liars. Who KNEW they were lying. The treasury would be drained in a week…or the currency so debauched that the economic system, already teetering on the knife’s-edge, would come crashing down under the weight of hyper-inflated, worthless currency printed to pay out those lawsuits.

    Of course the Supremes wouldn’t touch it. To do so is to lead to a de facto AND de jure admission of that culpability. Hell awaits them if they do.

    It’s all too clear, now, just how corrupt the legal system of this country is, with banksters caught red-handed countless times for drug money laundering and not the slightest bit of punishment worthy of the name is applied to them…while the lies that serve as the underpinning for the legal existence of the system that makes that possible is (tacitly) protected by those who are supposed to be the epitome of legal neutrality.

    All that we’re left with now is State-by-State combat in the small-‘d’ democratic process’s trenches, fighting against those using our resources against us, and who clutch lies to their heart and hold truth to be poison, until we eventually win.

    And then…there MUST be a reckoning. For that corruption at the heart of this country’s legal system must be rooted out, once and for all, and those who’ve benefited from that corruption held to account for it. To fail to do so is to insure the triumph of those of our supposed public servants who seek to be our masters.

    • Tony Aroma

      I’ve always wondered what our federal government will say if/when cannabinoid-based medications start being used as a safe, effective, and inexpensive treatment for cancer in other countries. What will they say when/if it comes out that they knew about this as far back as the early 1970s? As a wise man once said, “You’ve got some splainin’ to do.”

  • Tony Aroma

    The next petition I’d like to see submitted to the DEA is for the addition of alcohol as a schedule 1 controlled substance. Seriously. I think it would be very enlightening to all sides of the mmj issue to see the DEA defend the safety and medicinal uses of alcohol. What exactly does it take to submit a rescheduling petition? Can anybody do it, or do you need standing?

    As far as SCOTUS’s decision not to hear this case, I think they’ve established as precedent the DEA’s medical expertise. Does that mean we can go to a DEA agent for all our medical problems now? Will DEA agents start carrying around stethoscopes and black bags? I mean, who better to make decisions about medical issues than a bunch of unelected law enforcement officers?

  • Duncan20903

    Well here’s a new one:

    Group against marijuana tax pressed to name its pot source
    Open government group seeks disclosure of the source of free joints provided at anti-tax rallies.
    Oct. 8, 2013

    /snip/
    Colorado Ethics Watch, a Democratically oriented organization that focuses on open government and political spending, filed a campaign finance complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Tuesday seeking to force No Over Taxation to reveal where it got the marijuana it has been giving away.
    /snip/

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