(NaturalNews) The gap between many individual state laws regulating marijuana and the overarching federal intolerance of the plant is widening, and a coalition of marijuana advocacy groups has filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to push the Obama administration to respond to a nine-year-old petition to have marijuana rescheduled under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). According to the Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis (CRC), the federal government has violated the Administrative Procedures Act by failing to respond to the petition within a reasonable amount of time.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia (DC) now accept that marijuana has a legitimate medical use, and many others are beginning to adopt this position as well. But the federal government continues to unfairly recognize marijuana as a Schedule I substance, which falsely deems it a medically-useless, highly-abused drug in the same vein as heroin and ecstasy.
"Marijuana has accepted medical use in the United States, it has a lower abuse potential than drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, and it is safe for use under medical supervision," said Jon Gettman, CDC coordinator. "All of these characteristics are well-documented scientifically and legally. Federal law requires the Obama administration to reclassify marijuana."
Gettman also emphasized that the administration's failure to address the issue is an unlawful denial of due process. One way or another, the federal government is required by law to acknowledge the petition and formulate a proper response; it cannot simply ignore it and continue to intimidate states where marijuana has been legalized with threats of regulatory crackdowns.
The coalition is also questioning the federal government's double standard for marijuana, since it has given Marinol, a synthetic, pharmaceutical version of the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) found in marijuana, medical approval and classification as a Schedule III drug, while continuing to discriminate against natural marijuana. Such an arrangement, of course, clearly illustrates the federal government's obvious bias in favor of patented drugs that have gone through the million-dollar FDA approval process.