The NJ Division of Consumer Affairs won their case that allows them to examine the classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug.
Thus it would not further pursue its appeal from a decision of the Appellate Division of the Superior Court on cannabis being a Schedule I drug. The court ruled that the Division can reevaluate how marijuana is classified under state law. Originally, the case would be appealed to the Supreme Court. But the Court determined the state can make a new determination.
The Division of Consumer Affairs will initiate a process reviewing marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance in New Jersey. The Division intends to consider evidence of marijuana’s potential for abuse and accepted medical uses, among other things.
Legal Case Around NJ Examining Cannabis
In a decision by Judge Michael A. Guadagno, the court found that the Division Director has the authority to reclassify marijuana without any change in federal law.
The medical benefits of marijuana weren’t recognized in 1971. That’s when New Jersey first adopted the federal government’s classification of the drug, the court stated. But more recent scientific research suggests that marijuana has “potential therapeutic value”. It is good for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation, among other medicinal benefits.
Schedule I Narcotic Status of Cannabis Issues
As part of its evidence-based decision-making process, the Division intends to solicit input from members of the public. Additional information about the process should be announced in the coming weeks.
This action comes on the heels of another decision challenging the status of cannabis as a Schedule I drug by a group of individuals, including 12-year old Alexis Bortell. The judge dismissed the case stating the plaintiffs needed to exhaust their administrative approaches. Hence, this decision by NJ to make a move to seek testimony to change the classification themselves.
The move by the Division also comes immediately following Governor Murphy announcing the state ‘would proceed apace’ towards adult-use of cannabis legalization in New Jersey.