Lawyers representing a group of scientists and military veterans filed a comprehensive brief in federal court this week, outlining their case challenging decisions about the classification of marijuana made by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
The plaintiffs initially filed their lawsuit against the federal agency in May, contending that DEA’s justification for maintaining a Schedule I status for cannabis is unconstitutional. DEA attempted to quash the case by filing a motion to dismiss, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected that request in August.
On Tuesday, the attorneys filed the petitioners’ brief to officially set the case in motion. The 117-page document goes over background information on marijuana’s scheduling and past requests to reclassify the plant. It also makes the legal argument that DEA’s justification for maintaining its strict prohibition on cannabis is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit—brought by plaintiffs including Sue Sisley of the Scottsdale Research Institute, the Battlefield Foundation and military veterans Lorenzo Sullivan and Gary Hess— focuses primarily on DEA’s denial of a petition to reschedule marijuana earlier this year. In that case, the petitioner argued that the agency’s claim that cannabis has no currently accepted medical value is invalid given that a majority of states have legalized the plant for therapeutic purposes.