A U.S. District Judge in Sacramento, Calif., is making history with her careful look at marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug — and activists, politicians and media are keeping a close eye on federal judge Kimberly J. Mueller’s hearing.
While her ruling is expected later this year, the LA Times editorial board is offering its opinion in a strongly worded editorial this week. The editorial — Is marijuana really as dangerous as heroin and LSD? Finally, a welcome legal review — encourages the conversation surrounding the hearing.
This discussion is a welcome one. Whether the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification is constitutional or not, it shouldn’t take a judge to point out that lumping marijuana in with heroin and deeming it to have no medicinal value at all is unreasonable and unnecessary.
The LA Times editorial calls back to July 2014, when the New York Times’ editorial board wrote definitively, “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.”
The LA Times editorial continues by pointing out some significant double standards:
Frankly, government policy on marijuana is a mess. Federal law says marijuana has no accepted medicinal value, yet 23 states have legalized it for medical use. It has been put on the list of drugs that carry the most severe penalties for drug crimes, but Congress and the Obama administration have also passed legislation that blocks funding for the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that allow medical marijuana. That law, passed in December, in effect ended the prohibition of medical marijuana in nearly half the states. Meanwhile, Colorado and Washington have been unofficially allowed by the federal government to legalize recreational pot.
The editorial finishes strong — with a demand that the federal government reclassify cannabis:
But the country’s drug laws should not be decided in the courts. It’s long past time for Washington to revisit the war on drugs, and officials can begin by reclassifying medical marijuana so it can be regulated more as a prescription drug.
Read the full editorial.