Former NFL player Marvin Washington is one of five plaintiffs that have filed suit against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ and the DEA. The lawsuit alleges that classifying cannabis as a schedule 1 controlled substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA) is so absurd as to be unconstitutional.
The plaintiffs have a point. Currently, cannabis is listed alongside heroin, ecstasy, and LSD as Schedule I drugs, which are defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” When it comes to cannabis, no part of this definition is supported by the evidence. Currently, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized some form of medical cannabis use, and recent studies suggest cannabis actually helps get people off dangerous drugs, like cocaine, meth, and opioids (which are listed as less dangerous than cannabis).
Jeff Sessions and his drug zealot friends may honestly believe it when they say things like “[heroin is] only slightly less awful [than cannabis]” but believing in a fantasy doesn’t make it true. In any event, though it will be interesting to watch this lawsuit proceed, it seems unlikely it will be the vehicle that finally ends federal prohibition. Cannabis will eventually be legalized nationwide (we see that happening within five years), but it is a lot more likely to occur in voting booths than in a court.