It was announced today that the Supreme Court Justices denied the Supreme Court cannabis case Washington v. Barr a full trial.
Had it been successful, the Supreme Court cannabis case would have removed cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act, where it is a Schedule I drug, said to be worse than drugs that actually kill you.
Significant Cannabis Case
The Supreme Court first started hearing the case last Friday. The Justices always decide which cases they will hear. Usually, they pick a small percent of the cases that seek to be heard. Thus, it was a difficult route for cannabis advocates in the first place.
“RBG passing really did us in,” said Leo Bridgewater. As a member of the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA), he was a key figure in the case. The CCA was a lead organization bringing the case to the Supreme Court.
Bridgewater said the Supreme Court did not release their vote on the issue nor the reason behind it. Thus, it is open to rampant speculation.
Some will argue the denial of the supreme Court cannabis case results from the conservative of many of the Justices. If Trump’s replacement for the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg is confirmed, it will be even worse.
Worker and Patient Issues
Bridgewater brought up that patients have no protection when testing positive on drug tests forced on them by employers. As a veteran suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), he needs his medical marijuana daily.
“Why am I not surprised?” Bridgewater said.
Nonetheless, advocates live to fight another day.
“This doesn’t stop just because they said no. I’m a veteran. I’m hard-headed,” he said. Bridgewater believes federal legalization is more a question of “when” it will be legalized than “if” it will be legalized.
Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, which means it is supposed to have no accepted medical use and a high risk of addiction. Bridgewater noted cannabis is said by the government to be more dangerous than heroin, LSD, ecstasy and magic mushrooms, and cocaine, according to Uncle Sam.
“I’m Black in America. I’m accustomed to disappointment,” he added.
Despite being declared an essential business with a medical program operating in 33 states, it is still terrible in the eyes of the federal government.
“It continues to make no sense,” Bridgewater said. In the face of mounting evidence that cannabis heals people, the federal government has remained indifferent.
Bridgewater noted the large coalition of groups that supported the lawsuit with amicus briefs. Despite that, the Supreme Court still denied it.
Supreme Court Issues
Among the plaintiffs were retired NFL player Marvin Washington, cannabis patient Alexis Bortell, Jose Belen, a veteran, and the Cannabis Cultural Association. They are represented by attorneys Michael Hiller and Joseph A. Bondy.
Many groups allied with them have filed amicus briefs, including some with New Jersey ties. NORML on whose board Bondy sits, filed a brief by David Holland of Empire State NORML and the NYC Cannabis Industry Association (CIA).
Gary Weinstein filed one on behalf of the Last Prisoner Project, led by longtime cannabis leader and entrepreneur Steve D’Angelo. He is licensed to practice law in New York.
Joshua Bauchner, who represents plaintiffs in the lawsuit holding up the CRC’s implementation, filed a brief for a group of former professional athletes.
In addition, progressive Members of Congress and cannabis champion Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed a brief arguing the Supreme Court should hear the case.
The loss is indeed a blow to the legalization movement. Gay marriage and abortion were both largely legalized nationally via Supreme Court decisions. Thus, looking to the Court for descheduling was worth a shot.
It likely means Congress must address the issue. While difficult, it has grown progressively more feasible as legalization has increased on the state level.
Most cannabis advocates are moderate to progressive, while the Supreme Court justices are conservative. While many libertarians also like cannabis reform, the Supreme Court Justices are not very libertarian. Given their ages, they are also likely to be especially conservative.