[This article was updated on March 25, 2015] Lately, there have been headlines that state that marijuana will be legal soon — but it appears that no definite date or official announcement has been given. However, there is an ongoing court case, previously reported by the Inquisitr, that is finally going to be ruled on. In summary, it looks like marijuana will most likely begin to be officially legalized nationwide on March 25, 2015 — but maybe not.
How did all of this come about? In October 2014, an important hearing was held that questioned whether marijuana should be in the same classification as substance like cocaine and heroin called Schedule I Drugs. On Monday October 27, a federal judge in California heard testimony for and against rescheduling marijuana as a softer drug like alcohol.
That federal hearing on marijuana was not ruled on in October. Following the court case timeline closely is the Eastern District of California Blog. Their detailed coverage of the marijuana legalization case is important to journalists because many of the updates on court dates for this case are not announced online — and are only sent by text messages.
For this reason, the Eastern District of California Blog was the first to announce that the marijuana legalization hearing due for March 11 was officially rescheduled for March 25. Is this the final piece of legal legwork that needs to be done so that marijuana can be legal nationwide? It looks like it!… Maybe.
On February 11, the Eastern District of California Blog posted about an update on the case from Judge Kimberley J. Mueller, who is residing over the USA v. Schweder case to reschedule marijuana. While the judge stated that the decision would be made on March 11, the blog said, “The judge gave no indication which way she will decide.”
The final decision set for March 11 was canceled on March 9 but then rescheduled and announced via text message for March 25, according to the insider access that the Eastern District of California Blog has.
What will a decision that gives a green light to rescheduling marijuana mean? The Eastern District of California Blog says, “For those who have been asking me, it’s too early to tell how Section 538 will impact current, past, and future federal medical marijuana cases. But this Schweder briefing is an early example of how defense attorneys can use it to challenge federal medical marijuana prosecutions.”
If reading through legal files about marijuana legalization in this particular case is a bit overwhelming, CBS 13 Sacramento covers the case and says, “Federal legalization of marijuana can come down to one person, Judge Kimberley J Mueller… the case came about after a marijuana grower said the federal government judges marijuana grower cases unevenly.”
CBS 13 Sacramento also gives the spoiler that marijuana may not be legalized fully on March 25 — but it would certainly be an important battle in getting marijuana legalized across America. The newscaster said, in summary, that what the current marijuana case needs to prove is that the current laws infringes on people’s rights. The case ruling would only pertain in particular to the USA v. Schweder case BUT (and here’s the important bit) the case could ultimately go to the Supreme Court where it could inevitably be voted on to make medical marijuana legal under federal law.
An L.A. Times editorial on the USA v. Schweder case adds to the “what happens next” timeline with federal marijuana legalization by stating the following.
“Legalization advocates hope Mueller will rule that federal marijuana policy is unconstitutional. Although her decision would apply only to the defendants in this case and could be appealed, a ruling against the existing policy could prompt other defendants to file similar motions.”
Conclusion? While marijuana may not “officially” be legalized on March 25, the outcome of that case will be one of the most important in marijuana history because it could lead to a Supreme Court decision where marijuana is legalized in America once and for all.
[Update: The Eastern District of California blog published a statement that the case has been postponed from March 25 to April 15.]
[Image from Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]