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Federal Evidentiary Hearing Regarding Marijuana Scheduling Concludes


Gavel marijuana miami prosecutorBy Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

United States District Judge Kimberly Mueller heard testimony over the course of the past five days in regard to the constitutionality of the federal statute designating marijuana as a Schedule I Controlled Substance. At issue in this evidentiary hearing is whether the scientific literature provides a rational basis for the federal classification of the plant as a substance with “a high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use,” and a “lack of accepted safety” for use under medical supervision.

The federal government’s position was articulated in testimony provided by Dr. Bertha Madras, 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.

Expert witnesses for the defense who testified at the hearing were Dr. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at Columbia University in New York City, retired physician Phillip Denny, Dr. Greg Carter, Medical Director of St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington, and marijuana cultivation expert and archivist Chris Conrad.

Defense counsel for the litigants were NORML Legal Committee members Zenia Gilg of San Francisco and Heather Burke of Nevada City, CA. I assisted attorneys Gilg and Burke as a consultant in the case prior to the hearing and as their principle investigator during the hearing — a point that the federal government’s attorneys insisted on making public on Wednesday by insisting the judge recognize that: “Defense counsels’ investigator is the Deputy Director of NORML; he’s not some ordinary investigator.”

Representatives from California NORML as well as writer Jeremy Daw of TheLeafOnline were in attendance during the hearing and provide day-by-day coverage of events on their respective websites and at the links below. Dr. Madras was cross-examined both Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.







A ruling by Judge Mueller is not anticipated until after the first of the year.

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Johnny Green


  1. News flash, protestants aren’t running the government, they’re in the religious minority on capitol hill.
    It’s the current administration that’s dragging their feet on a promise they made six years ago.

  2. The Great Lie about marijuana is about to die …. Free Market Hemp was the foundation this nation, Weed did it before and Weed can do it again ….

  3. So all of federal prohibition relies on the fact that people get euphoria from THC. Everything else about the plant is common and humdrum.

    There is otherwise no pharmacological property of the plant that is a “threat” to anything. Ironically, Alcohol is still more “addictive,” and I bet they will still insist on keeping THC as a tightly controlled substance like Tramadol. They need to get over this protestant puritanism they want everyone to be subjugated to.

  4. Paranoid Android on


    Some background. Given marijuana’s EXTREMELY high potential for abuse (because it’s fun, let’s not argue this point people, we all know it’s fun) and risk for psychological dependence with minimal to no risk of physical dependence I’m guessing it would feel right at home in schedule 3. Might work in 4, but realistically I don’t see that happening.

  5. Paranoid Android on

    No, you can still be arrested for it, though the penalties MIGHT be less harsh (I don’t know the laws). Given the criteria for the different schedules it will likely be 2 (this is because it fits best in 3, IMO, but what with gov’t and all…), so ask yourself:

    Can you be attested for possession of adderall without a script? How about any opioid/opiate?
    And can you be arrested or possession of cocaine? Because that’s schedule 2.

  6. Let’s only hope that this Judge has common sense and questions the gov’ts stance on Marijuana as a Schedule I drug, yet they THEMSELVES have a Patent on THC & CBD’s for killing Cancer. On top of that they THEMSELVES also run their very own “Federal Medical Marijuana program”. What started out w/ approx. 20 patients is now down to 4. They supply their patients with the equivalent of about 320 joints a month! If THAT’S NOT hypocrisy, I dunno what is.

    Oh! P.S. The U.S. gov’t JUST recently also gave GW Pharmaceuticals a Patent using CBD’s as a treatment for cancer. It’s not Sativex, but Medivex or something like that to turn into an oral spray for Cancer victims.

    But by God if YOU grow it in your backyard, it’s a “mortal sin”. But when THEY do it, somehow it’s turned into a “religious ceremony”, IYKWIM?

  7. This is real big. It’s better than better that this is happening right now. Thing I am unsure about is, if it is rescheduled, than can you really never get arrested for it? Kind of like tobacco. I think people who think tobacco is okay but marijuana isn’t are mentally retarded. Anyhow, Go Oregon, Go Alaska, and Go US for rescheduling.

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