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Court Asks for Supplemental Briefing in Marijuana Appeal

By Robyn Hagan Cain on October 19, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments regarding whether marijuana should be removed from the Schedule I drug list.

Perhaps arguments didn’t give the judges quite enough to think about. Hours after arguments concluded, the appellate court ordered supplemental briefing on whether plaintiff Michael Krawitz has individual standing to challenge the classification.

A Schedule I drug is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. Heroin, crack, and marijuana are currently lumped together on the Schedule I list.

Marijuana policy reformers initially petitioned the DEA to reschedule marijuana in 2002. The DEA denied the petition almost 10 years later, saying there wasn't substantial evidence the drug should be removed from Schedule I. Americans for Safe Access sued for judicial review of that decision.

Americans for Safe Access claims that the Drug Enforcement Administration's most recent classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance was arbitrary and capricious because a number of studies support the use of medical marijuana. Krawitz, a Air Force veteran, claims that he was individually harmed by the Schedule I designation.

Krawitz was denied medical services and treatment from Veterans Administration physicians because of his status as a medical marijuana patient, according to Weedist.

Now, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals wants to Krawitz to more fully explain precisely the nature of the injury that gives him standing, "including but not limited to what he means by his 'prescription pain treatment by the VA,' what pain treatments and counseling he is denied by the VA, what pain treatment he receives from 'an outside M.D.,' and what he means when he says he receives pain treatment from an outside M.D. 'under the VA's fee basis program.'"

Supplemental briefing from both sides must be submitted before the end of October.

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