A federal judge will hear arguments from several high-profiled doctors in California next week on why the government should consider dropping their failed war on cannabis.
Their main point: scientific evidence shows that marijuana is not the harmful drug the feds say it is and cannabis has no place on the list of Schedule I substances like heroin and LSD.
“It is my considered opinion that including marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act is counter to all the scientific evidence in a society that uses and values empirical evidence,” Dr. Carl Hart, Associate Professor of Psychology at Columbia University said in a prepared statement, according to the SFGate.com blogs. “After two decades of intense scientific inquiry in this area, it has become apparent the current scheduling of cannabis has no footing in the realities of science and neurobiology.”
Other doctors expected to speak are retired physician Phillip Denny and the director of the St. Lukes Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington. The evidentiary hearing will take three days.
According to Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, even allowing the hearing is a huge step forward.
“This is the first time in recent memory that a federal judge has granted an evidentiary hearing on a motion challenging the statute which classifies cannabis to be one of the most dangerous illicit substances in the nation,” he told SFGate.com.
Of course, the government isn’t just going to let pro-pot people have their day without someone speaking against cannabis. That person is none other than Bertha Madras, former Drug Czar deputy director under George W. Bush. She is expected to show support for medical cannabis in limted form, but will otherwise toe the company line.
“Although more than 30% of current therapeutic drugs are plant-derived, no one currently eats or smokes foxglove plants to treat a heart condition, chews cinchona bark to alleviate malaria symptoms, or eats opium poppies to relieve post-surgical pain,” Madras said in a statement.