Legal Marijuana In All 50 States Denied: ‘Now Is Not The Time’ — What About Later?

Sad news has emerged for legal marijuana advocates. On April 15, a judge in Northern California decided to rule against a court case that would inevitably lead to a chance for the Supreme Court to make nationwide legal marijuana in all 50 states a possibility.

The news comes as a shock to those watching this crucial legal marijuana battle, but advocates say its not over yet. Keeping up with the heartbeat of this possible legal marijuana history-changer, the Eastern District of California blog had plenty to say about this devastating April 15 announcement — as well as insight about what will happen next.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Eastern District of California blog has been a crucial link in getting information about the Schweder vs. U.S.A. case. The details are not made public online by the courts, and the blog has dutifully published any updates by the courts that are dispensed in text-only statements.

To recap, the case was important to the legal marijuana movement because it gives advocates the opportunity to take the case to the Supreme Court. If the Supreme Court agreed that keeping marijuana as a Schedule I drug (on par with cocaine and heroin) infringed on people’s rights — this admission on behalf of the Schweder case could lead to the Supreme Court having the tools to make marijuana legal nationwide.

KQED News reports from Sacramento that, “U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued the ruling in response to a motion by defense attorneys to dismiss charges in a 2011 case involving a Humboldt County marijuana grow. The ruling, in the case U.S. v. Schweder et al., is unusual in that Mueller agreed to consider marijuana’s designation as a Schedule 1 drug. Marijuana’s classification as a Schedule 1 drug has brought states that have legalized medical marijuana into conflict with federal authorities, leading to raids on growers and dispensaries that appear to be operating legally under state law.”

Unfortunately, this change did not come about and the legal marijuana movement was told “now is not the time” for marijuana to be rescheduled as a drug that is not Schedule I. The judge in charge of this crucial legal marijuana case was recapped by the Eastern District of California blog and they stated, “She [Judge Mueller] emphasized that the court ‘treads lightly’ because the defendants have challenged an action of Congress and that her ruling is based only on the evidence and record in front of the court. And on that record, the district court was ‘not the court’ and it was ‘not the time’ to grant the motion to dismiss.”

However, the Eastern District of California blog points out that legal marijuana nationwide can still come about in other legal ways. For example, The CARERS Act of 2015 as explained by Leafly is one possibility.

Other legal marijuana advocates say not to give up hope. Yahoo quotes Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, with the following.

“A ruling against marijuana’s classification ‘would have been significant because you would have had a federal judge acknowledging what a majority of the public has already concluded: That marijuana does not meet the three criteria of a Schedule 1 drug.'”

Yahoo also quotes Alex Kreit, a drug law expert at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law, who says a dismissal or acceptance in this legal marijuana case is great for improving legal marijuana policy either way because the hearing is a “sign that at least some judges are increasingly skeptical of marijuana’s status under federal law.”

There are also other possibilities coming up for legal marijuana on May 6. This is when the defense in the Schweder case will “file a motion for reconsideration after reviewing the judge’s final decision [sic]” — and get one final approval or denial on the case by Judge Mueller.

[Feature image via Blend Images/John Lund/Sam Diephuis.]