U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller disappointed a lot of cannabis advocates, yesterday after initially giving them hope of change. Mueller initially instigated a fact-finding hearing as to the constitutionality of the 1970 Controlled Substance Act after a pretrial defense motion of a case based in Sacramento, CA back in January.
After a five-day hearing and a lengthy amount of time before her decision, Mueller decided it is up to the U.S. Congress to decide the proper classification of marijuana. Despite the decision, the movement to remove marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug still garners more and more support with each passing day.
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The fact the judge required a fact-finding hearing in the first place is a huge step in the right direction in the attempt to declassify marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. Meuller’s awareness of the fact that nearly 75% of Americans see no problem with legalizing the drug in one capacity or another indicates a shift in thinking as to the true place of marijuana in American culture.
The fact-finding hearing was the first of its kind in decades, and included expert testimony on the consequences and advantages of changing the status of cannabis in the FED’s eyes.
Still, cannabis advocates feel like Mueller fell short of a possibly massive change in American law. Had Mueller ruled in favor of the defense, the decision likely would have been overturned in a court of appeals, and would only be applicable to the Sacramento case, specifically. Even so, the motion to declassify from Mueller would have opened the door to future court hearings on the same issue.
Additionally, had Mueller ruled in favor of the defense in the fact-finding hearing AND the case hearing, it would have effectively altered the classification of cannabis not only for California, but for the entire West region of the United States.
From there it would have only been a matter of time before other U.S District judges would be presented with similar cases, forcing a ruling on marijuana classification as a whole nation, not just one region or another.
None- the-lesser, most see the act of even questioning the Controlled Substance Act in the first place a step forward. It’s these small steps that eventually lead one to the promise land: marijuana no longer classified as a Schedule 1 drug.