Cannabis activists implored the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Washington v. Barr, challenging the federal prohibition of cannabis.
According to a recent press release made available via Twitter on Aug. 16, Attorneys Michael Hiller and Joseph Bondy declared that cannabis prohibition is “unconstitutionally irrational.” The lawsuit argues that it is illegal to allow cannabis to remain a Schedule I substance, claiming that it violates patients’ rights to equal protection under the law, as well as access to health and wellness.
“Notwithstanding the Second Circuit’s ruling, the DEA and D.C. Circuit Court have consistently ruled since 1977 that filing a de-scheduling petition of the sort directed by the Second Circuit and the District Court would be futile, since cannabis cannot be de-scheduled administratively or even be reclassified lower any than Schedule II under the CSA. In other words, the plaintiffs were directed to proceed with an administrative review process doomed to failure. Accordingly, they filed their petition with SCOTUS,” stated Attorneys Hiller and Bondy in a press statement.
Plaintiffs in the case include an Iraq war veteran Jose Belen, 14-year-old Alexis Bortell and nine-year-old Jagger Cotte, all of whom would testify how medical cannabis provides them with a better quality of life.
The case was originally filed in 2017 and since then, has received a number of rejected rulings in lower courts. Both the U.S. District Court and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit suggested that the plaintiffs must petition the Drug Enforcement Administration in order to make their case against reclassifying cannabis.
Attorneys Bondy and Hiller, who are both handling the case pro bono, hope that activists and congressional leaders who support cannabis will file amicus briefs to strengthen the case. They also hope to bring up arguments such as “mass uncertainty” in cannabis legislation and conflicting decisions regarding current cannabis legality, among other important points.
Similar lawsuits to this one have built the foundation for a case regarding why cannabis prohibition in the U.S. should finally end. It is unlikely that a decision will be made until 2021.